ALBANY, Ga. -- Various community representatives were recently dressed to the nines to enjoy some good food and acknowledge their peers for the contributions they have made to their fellow man.
And one Albany man, Lamar Reese, was recognized for the contributions he has made to community over many years as the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce's first Lifetime Service Award winner.
The Albany chamber hosted its black tie awards reception and barbecue Thursday evening at the State Theatre on Pine Avenue. In addition to the new award, the organization recognized the Small Business of the Year, Ambassador of the Year and Non-Profit of the Year.
The lifetime achievement recognition went to Reese, who has served on numerous local boards, including the Albany-Dougherty Hospital Authority, the Dougherty County School Board and the Dougherty County Commission.
"I'm very honored and appreciative of what the chamber has done for me," Reese said. "I'm grateful for it."
While he is a recognizable figure, he said at the event that perhaps his greatest accomplishment was marrying his wife, with whom he raised three sons.
"The award really needs to go to me and my wife," he said.
The small business award went to Home Helpers of South Georgia.
"To say that I'm shocked is an understatement," said Home Helpers President Ami Mejia. "I look forward to continuing to serve the community."
The nonprofit award went to Chosen to Conquer.
"I can't tell you how excited I am," said Colette Jenkins, founder and executive director of the organization. "I never imagined there would be a day when I would be standing before my peers being recognized in this way."
The ambassador award went to the chamber volunteer -- easily recognizable in the community wearing the organization's trademark green jacket -- who had been to the most chamber events over the past year. The winner was Leonard Montgomery of WSWG-TV.
"I'm in sales, and most of the time I'm usually not at a loss for words," Montgomery, a two-year ambassador, said.
Local artists were also given the opportunity to put some of their work up for auction at the barbecue. Half of the proceeds went to the artists, while the other half went to the Chamber Foundation.
Catherine Glover, the chamber's CEO, was on hand to make some remarks.
"Your chamber recognizes the value of keeping businesses in the area," she said at the dinner. "We're an asset for your companies; we are here for you."
The event was sponsored by Phoebe Community Visions.