By Nathan Ham
The Banner Elk Chamber of Commerce held its annual meeting at Stonewalls on Wednesday, which included the person of the year award and a couple of other awards that brought some laughter to the crowd.
“Every year, the Banner Elk Chamber presents an award to the person or persons of the year. This year we have gone a step further, giving the award to Mary Sue Street and Will and Mark Adkins of the Eagles Nest group,” said Jo-Anne McMurray, the President of the Banner Elk Chamber of Commerce, during the award presentation.
McMurray got emotional when speaking of the late Chris Adkins, who passed away in 2018 and was also an integral part of the Lodges at Eagles Nest. Jo-Anne’s husband, Tom, shared some of the highlights of what the group has accomplished.
“Eagles Nest came in and took over a project that was not doing great and have turned it into one of the premier gated community developments in the High Country,” he said. “They have renovated the shopping center at the bottom of Beech Mountain Parkway, they have started a new development along Elk River, they have been great benefactors to the community at large.”
Jo-Anne said that the chamber is very happy to have all of the support that the folks at Eagles Nest provide to the area.
“I am very fond of Eagles Nest and they support the chamber in a big way. They are very important to us and the town in general. They help everybody and we’re very please with what they do behind the scenes,” she said.
She also wanted to thank Stonewalls for the great hospitality and food for the annual meeting and for the many members that showed up to bring a big crowd to support the award winners.
Mary Sue Street is very proud of what Eagles Nest has done to impact Banner Elk and Avery County.
“We are extremely happy to be part of the community. We have houses up there that are our own and we plan on staying around for a long time. It’s a beautiful community and there are beautiful people that live there and we’re grateful to be welcomed the way we have been and we look forward to many more years,” said Street. “We’re happy to work with the Banner Elk Chamber and the Avery County Chamber.”
Street says that Eagles Nest is planning on doing a builders showcase event in March that will accept donations to three charities in the Banner Elk community and will soon be opening their winery to the public.
During the annual meeting, two other awards were handed out to attendees. Kayla Davis was presented with a special nursing award for helping out her husband, Jeff, following a knee surgery. Jeff said she deserved it for all the “whining she had to endure.”
The final award highlighted one man’s passion for helping a less-fortunate Christmas decoration. Banner Elk Town Manager Rick Owen was presented with a photo of his favorite animal, an inflatable Christmas bear that just kept trying to find ways to escape his decoration assignment.
“The bear was constantly falling over and to see children running up to this bear laying face first in the mud was just heartbreaking,” joked Owen.
Photos by Ken Ketchie