Spotlighting county’s best

The Franklin County Partnership Awards banquet took place March 23 in the A.W. Todd Centre in downtown Russellville. Jointly presented by the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce and the Franklin County Development Authority, it’s an annual event Chamber executive director Cassie Medley said provides a wonderful chance to highlight Franklin County accomplishments.

“It’s an excellent opportunity to recognize the exceptional merit of the nominees and winners while also providing Chamber members, businesses and community leaders the opportunity to fellowship and network,” she said. “It was a great turnout, and I’d like to thank everyone who attended and all who helped make it possible.”

Franklin County Development Authority executive director Sherye Price said the FCDA is pleased to partner with the Chamber on this event.

“It is important to have a night to honor the county’s manufacturers and employers as well as the county’s educators who are training our future workforce,” Price said.
Nominees and winners received acknowledgment across 11 award categories.

2023 FRANKLIN COUNTY PARTNERSHIP AWARDS

Beautification Award

  • Beautification Award–Phil Campbell: Gigi’s Unique Finds, for Sherry Nix’s work transforming the inside and outside of the building, located on Broad Street, with major improvements, along with time and effort for an eye-catching experience for customers and those passing by.
  • Beautification Award–Red Bay: Blue Boys LLC, for their neat and clean business with friendly employees.
  • Beautification Award–Russellville: Russellville High School, for the new main building and front entrance, in support of the system’s motto, Pursuing Excellence.

Business of the Year: CB&S Bank, for making advancements across Franklin County in technology and customer incentives. In operation since March 3, 1906, the bank has sought to provide extraordinary service to people of the region, surviving “boom, bust, depression and war to emerge as an indispensable financial partner for the people of northwest Alabama.”

Franklin County’s Best Kept Secret: The Shelby Grissom Memorial Fashion Show, an annual Phil Campbell High School event honoring the memory of former PCHS student, Shelby Grissom.

Distinguished Service Awards

  • Phil Campbell: Wayne Welborn, a town employee, described as being known for going “above and beyond his job description,” as well as his willingness to be available, even on off days, to help with problems that arise with roads, the park and splash pad, along with a general willingness to help others.
  • Red Bay: Dr. Jacqueline Parsons, assistant principal for Red Bay High School, for being the kind of person who loves to give and is never too busy to help others. In June and July 2022, she volunteered her time restoring the Red Bay Elementary playground and improving the media center and the courtyard. Parsons was also acknowledged for being cheerful and exceptional, with many other positive characteristics.
  • Russellville: Betsy Green, creator of the Russellville Coalition for the Homeless and member of the Homeless Care Council of Northwest Alabama, her original plan being to provide a hot meal and to share God’s word. Green’s mission also involves working to provide what is needed to survive another night while making tools available to help homeless people in Franklin County and surrounding counties, thus inspiring many others to join her efforts.   
  • Franklin County At Large: Sue Raper, recently retired as Vina’s town clerk after 32 years, continuing to work to grow and promote Vina through the Food Barrel, a food giveaway project at the Vina Fire Department. She also serves through her church, Vina First Baptist, and is always willing to help with any project.

Volunteer of the Year Award: Natalie Bendall, Russellville City Schools Curriculum Coordinator, for her many years in education, including “ongoing and selfless efforts” to make sure all the schools in the Russellville City Schools system have representation in various community events.

Roger Bedford Unsung Hero Award: Northwest-Shoals Community College, for its alumni impact and economic boost to the community, including an operations spending impact of annual payroll, as well as other spending – “enough to buy 512 new cars.”

Hall of Fame Award: The Hall of Fame Award is for one Franklin County individual whose lifetime accomplishments are both outstanding and historically significant. This year’s winner is J.C. Weeks, owner and pharmacist at Redmont Pharmacy, for being in business and providing employment to Franklin County citizens for 40 years, going beyond customer expectations, even making “house calls.” Weeks was also acknowledged as “a devoted business owner that genuine cares for the people of Franklin County.”

A native of Red Bay, he is a long-time member of the Red Bay Lions Club, where he works hard to help provide food, clothing, eyeglasses and any other needs that may arise to people in the community. He is a long-time member and deacon of First Baptist Church of Red Bay.

The Franklin County Development Authority presented the following awards:

  • Excellence in Industrial Growth Award: Leisure Creations
  • Industrial Support Award: Russellville Municipal Airport
  • Industry of the Year Award: G&G Steel
  • Educator of the Year Award, Franklin County Schools: Trevor Allison
  • Educator of the Year Award, Russellville City Schools: Nikki Watts

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