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Preston Chamber of Commerce hosts award dinner

KINGWOOD — About 120 people gathered at Camp Dawson for the Preston County Chamber of Commerce’s 2021 Annual Dinner and Award Ceremony on Thursday evening.

“The purpose of this evening is to celebrate our business community and our organizations; their accomplishments for the year,” said Kristy Ash, the chamber’s executive director.

Ray Thompson started his State Farm insurance agency 32 years ago in March of 1989. At the dinner, he was awarded business of the year.

“It means the world when you have your, your own community vote you as a Business of the Year, to me, that’s just the world,” Thompson said. “That’s the people that you work with on a day to day basis. That’s your community that you serve. Showing the respect back to you and it’s been greatly appreciated.”

The advantage of visiting Thompson for your insurance rather than getting it online is the personal touch, he said.

“It’s building relationships. That’s what we do. We build relationships,” Thompson said. “We get to know our clients, we get to know their needs, and feel that we can do a better job of serving their needs, once we get to know them and know what they want and what they expect and give them customer service they deserve.”

New Business of the Year went to WarHead Offroad. Owner Chris Reynolds said it’s recognition for the hard work they’ve done through the pandemic and material shortages.

“We build roll cages and bumpers and nerf bars and tree kickers for side by sides,” Reynolds said. “Basically, we take the stock units and make them a lot more safe and make them look better in the meantime.”

Reynolds does the metalworking. Joanna, his wife, does “everything” he said. She said she keeps things flowing and does powder coating.

Overall, Ash said business in Preston County has done well despite the pandemic. The dinner was an exciting opportunity to gather and network again. 

“I’d like to say that we’re just extremely proud of our businesses and organizations that will be recognized tonight, especially in these challenging times with COVID,” Ash said. “It’s awesome to see these folks succeed and thrive during a difficult time in business overall, in Preston County, given the pandemic, considering what everyone has been through. I think most of them have fared well. You know, some are struggling. We’ve had a couple that I can think of that have had to shut their doors and I hate to see that but for the most part, I think everyone is doing well.”

The other winners are:

  • Legacy Award – Preston and Mountaineer Contractors
  • Ambassador of the Year – Jason Jenkins CPA
  • Arts and Culture Szilagyi Center – Szilagyi Center for the Visual and Performing Arts
  • Humanitarian Award – VJ Davis and the Preston County Health Department.

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