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Community: Chamber's 'Hall of Fame' celebrates changemakers

Community: Chamber's 'Hall of Fame' celebrates changemakers

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The Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce has created a Hall of Fame to recognize leaders who have influenced change in our community. Many factors determine a locality's quality of life, and strong communities are built upon those leaders who dared to make a difference.

This initiative was the brain-child of Jeff Mitchell, founder of Mitchell Law in 2019 and former chamber board member. The work was started on this initiative in February, and then the pandemic interrupted the process.

Mitchell had this to say: “These people are changemakers in our community. Some people may have watched and laughed as they continued toward their goals. Many of these leaders were disrupters who have changed the way we look at business here or have changed our beliefs. It is only fitting that we find a way to celebrate their contributions.”

The 2020 inductees to the community Hall of Fame are:

  • Joe Meredith, Ph.D. - Former CEO of the Corporate Research Center
  • Debbie Sherman-Lee - Chair of board of directors and an alumnus of Christiansburg Institute Inc.
  • Vinod Chachra, Ph.D. - Former chairman and CEO of VTLS Inc.
  • Norman Fitzwater - Franchise owner of A Cleaner World, retired and former Hokie Club president
  • Jeanne Stosser - President of SAS Builders and Campus Management Group
  • Frank Beamer - Retired Virginia Tech football coach
  • Raymond Smoot, Ph.D. - CEO emeritus of the Virginia Tech Foundation,  chairman emeritus of Atlantic Union Bank 
  • Janaka Casper - CEO of Community Housing Partners
  • Tommy McDearis, Dmin - Senior pastor at Blacksburg Baptist Church

An actual wall recognizing the honorees will be dedicated later in the fall using appropriate protocols.

Aaron Harris-Kirby, 2020 Chamber Board Chair, shared, “To our board, it was important for us to understand the human DNA that makes our community unique in Southwest Virginia. ... There are more to be recognized, but these leaders and their work make us who we are today."

The Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce serves Blacksburg, Christiansburg and businesses throughout Montgomery County. Learn more at www.montgomerycc.org.

Submitted by Leo Priddy

Submitted by Leo Priddy

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