By Scott Harper
Another successful Loris Chamber of Commerce Awards Banquet was held this past week at the Center for Health & Fitness.
Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Samantha Norris said the banquet -- emceed by Jack Murphy -- is an important event that has been taking place in Loris annually since 1970.
“It is a way for us to give back to the community and showcase the merchants and citizens,” she said.
The night began with a fantastic meal catered by Backstreet Café.
Nine awards were handed out during the banquet:
The Outstanding Youth Award went to Gage Conner and was presented by Kevin Gause. This award is given each year to a young person who contributes to the community in the form of leadership or volunteer work.
Gause said Conner is the type of person “to always speak to you, no matter who you are” and is a “natural leader.”
Charlie Todd of Todd’s Auto Parts won the Merchant of the Year Award. Todd Harrelson presented the award. This award goes to a merchant that contributes to the growth of the community.
“If you want to talk about a Christian man, a man full of integrity that is here to please the people in Loris -- somebody you can really trust -- you would be talking about Charlie Todd,” Harrelson said.
Community Service Award went to Phillip and Terry McLean, owners of Capture, Inc. This award goes to a person who contributes to the community in the form of leadership, volunteer work or financial support. It was presented by Joan Smith.
Smith said she began working with CAPTURE in recent months.
“It makes no difference what your bank account is, what house you live in, what car you drive, everybody is treated the same by the McLeans,” Smith said.
Public Safety Award went to William Caines. This award goes to a person who works in the public safety profession who contributes to the community in a positive and effective way. It was presented by Cameron Dozier.
Caines has been a lieutenant with the Loris Fire Department since 1988.
“I consider William one of my very best friends,” Dozier said.
Banana Jack Murphy received the Robert Brooks Entrepreneur Award. Jason Porter presented the award. This award goes to a business established between one and five years that has shown ability and steady growth.
Porter said Murphy, owner of WLSC Radio, “runs his business with genuine love for the Loris community” and “is constantly thinking of ways to make the city even more wonderful.”
Citizen of the Year Award was given to Brandon Harrelson and was presented by Samantha Norris. This award goes to an individual who provides outstanding service to the community. Harrelson is the city’s code enforcement officer.
Norris said Harrelson “may be new to the City of Loris but is not new to the people of Loris.” She said Harrelson “has made a great impact” since starting with the city.
Paul Prince received the Lifetime Achievement Award and was presented by Kevin Hardee. This award goes to a person who has made a significant impact on the Loris area.
Prince said he has stayed in Loris for so long “because I love it.”
A first time Diamond Chamber Award was given to Joyce Graham. John Harrelson and Tisha Helms presented the award.
Helms said Graham is known for giving back to the community and helping those in need.
She said Graham spearheaded an effort to raise money to purchase bullet-proof vests for police officers.
She also founded the Benevolence Club which helped elderly people in need.
Also a recognition award was given to the City of Loris for their heroic actions during Hurricane Florence. Jennifer Boyd Causey presented the award.