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Honoring excellence

Chamber recognizes individuals, businesses



News Publisher

The Atmore Chamber of Commerce Gala is always a time of celebration for the Chamber, for the city, and for individuals and businesses.

This year’s gala was held Friday, January 28, with a full house in the Wind Creek ballroom.

The following awards were presented.

Citizen of the Year

In presenting this award, Dale Ash said, “A leader extraordinaire, this person constantly gives back to our small community with the single-minded mission to improve the quality of life in Atmore and make it a more vibrant and vital community. Some may think it’s this person’s job – but it’s more than a job for this elected official – it’s a passion.”

Citing a number of initiatives this individual headed or was involved in, Ash ended with these comments: “Through his contributions, a lasting legacy for Atmore has been developed as well as economic impacts. His vision of enhancing the quality of life for all residents is taking off.  With an excellent reputation as a dedicated, smart, and tenacious leader, the small town of Atmore has and continues to reap untold benefits from Greg Albritton. His positive disposition, instinctive management skills, and his eagerness to make a difference in the quality of life in Atmore – by giving completely of himself working diligently behind the scenes make it evident that Greg Albritton is a most deserving recipient as the Atmore Area Chamber of Commerce’s Citizen of the Year.”

Business of the Year

Chamber Past President Emilee Craft presented this award. Her comments included the following: “As a lifetime resident of the Atmore area, Debbie Rowell has an in-depth knowledge of Atmore and the surrounding communities. She brings 37 years experience, focus, determination, and enthusiasm to the real estate business … As a dedicated full-time professional, her care in meeting her clients needs have gained her many friends and enabled her to enjoy a fine reputation in the community. Debbie believes it is so very important to give something back to the community that has been so good to her. She is active in civic clubs such as Atmore Rotary Club and has served on the City of Atmore’s Community Enhancement Committee, the Beautification Committee, the Business Spotlight Award Committee and the local Escambia County Habitat for Humanity. She currently is a member of the Atmore City Planning Commission and the Escambia County Healthcare Authority. She is also an active member of the Alabama Association of Realtors, State-at-Large.”

The Business of the Year Award was presented to Debbie Rowell, Southern Real Estate.

Lifetime Achievement Award

Atmore City Councilwoman Eunice Johnson presented this award to her brother, James McNeil.

“James is an enthusiastic and helpful individual who displays unwavering integrity,” she said.  “His involvement in the community provides an excellent example of his commitment and dedication. James has been a pillar in the community for over 30 years, proving to be a prominent member and supporter of this community. He has simply been an inspiration to many and is a man of honor and respect. He adheres to what is right and holds himself to a high standard of conduct. James exhibits high moral worth and has numerous achievements.”

In addition to being a business owner, he is also founder of The Concerned Citizens of Atmore, established 1992, where he has held positions as treasurer of the committee and chairperson of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Parade. James was also the treasurer of a local NAACP chapter.

Currently, he is a member of The Small Group of America and The Beautification Committee of Atmore. James has contributed his time and efforts by making church signs for local churches that include Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church, Mt. Olive Baptist Church, New Pleasant Hill Baptist Church, and First Baptist Church of McCullough where he serves on the deacon board for more than 10 years now. He was also involved in church renovations at First Baptist Church of McCullough and Liberty Baptist. James also played a role in constructing the gazebo at the Houston Avery Park.

“James McNeil is deserving of this Lifetime Achievement Award simply because he truly loves his community and has been giving back to the City of Atmore constantly through hard work, treating all people fairly by being charitable and altruistic,” Councilwoman Johnson concluded.

Lifetime Business Award

Ellis Beachy presented this award.

“You will see this recipient’s fingerprints all over Atmore,” he said. “Many businesses come to mind when thinking of those who work behind the scenes to better the City of Atmore. But this year’s stand out is Maxwell Construction. We do not have time to list all the contributions this business has brought throughout its history however this year alone it contributed a significant amount of in kind donations to the Pride of Atmore and has completed major construction at the Watson Cabin at Heritage Park.

“Maxwell Construction has been there this past year and every year. Owner Richard Maxwell just completed serving seventeen years on the Industrial Board of Atmore. His tenure was instrumental in the foundation of Rivercane.

“Maxwell’s vision in regards to the economic impact years ago is limitless. Serving on Atmore Historical Commission, Richard Maxwell’s insight and experience has been invaluable this year. Richard Maxwell, Chapman Maxwell, Mallorie Maxwell, and Glen Wilson are always ready, willing and able to help every time a need arises. Richard, Chapman and their forefathers have served The Atmore Lion’s Club since inception in the 1920s. When the old Atmore High School underwent construction in the late 1980s Maxwell Construction donated all labor to the project. Maxwell is there always giving back. Now it is the Atmore Area Chamber of Commerce’s honor to give recognition by awarding Maxwell Construction with this year’s Lifetime Business Award.”

[None of the Maxwells were on hand to receive the award. Gregg Akins accepted for them.]