McKinsey honored as Citizen of the Year
In his acceptance speech for 2018 Clinton Citizen of the Year Max McKinsey said, “It takes a village,” to strive for success in Clinton and a small segment of that “village” was recognized for their efforts Friday night at the annual Clinton Chamber of Commerce Awards Banquet.
In addition to McKinsey, the other honorees included Mayor David Berrong, Community Impact Award; Jeannie Campbell, Clinton Public School Foundation Award; Matthew Blakeburn, Rotary Businessperson of the Year; Valerie Miller, AMBUCS Woman of the Year; Kids in Care, Inc., AMBUCS Organization of the Year; and Marcia Wheeler, Volunteer of the Year.
McKinsey has long been present in the business sector as owner of McKinsey Motors and 2-D Trailers, but it was his efforts outside of his business endeavors that led to his distinction of Citizen of the Year.
His presenter was 2017 Citizen of the Year Aaron Hunter, who was recognized last year for his efforts to organize a state baseball tournament in Clinton. Hunter said events such as his owe a great debt to McKinsey.
“Max had the vision to reallocate the lodging tax to help bring in events to Clinton,” he said. “It went to a vote of the people and passed by 80 percent. Max was a big part of getting that passed.”
McKinsey referenced his “village” comments from earlier in the evening when he spoke in his official capacity as Chamber Chairman of the Board.
“It takes everyone,” he said. “You can sit on the sidelines complaining about everything or you can get in there and try to do something about it. You can get involved and try to be part of the solution.
“I think we’ve turned the corner here in Clinton. I really believe that.”
McKinsey was the recipient of the Community Impact Award last year and has served three stints as the chairman of the Chamber of Commerce.
Chamber President Julie Burden-Caldwell called the mayor Clinton’s ultimate “cheerleader” as she explained how he pours himself into extolling the virtues of the city and having the gumption to do whatever it takes to truly make the town the Hub City of Clinton.
She talked about his efforts to concentrate on the beautification of the city, searching for a future in economic development and more.
“Living in Clinton, each of you has an opportunity to help make this a quality of life oasis,” Berrong said. “Good things are happening and will continue to do so here in Clinton.”
CPSF representative Patch McComas informed the assemblage “Grandma” would be the recipient of the foundation’s award this year.
“Grandma” is what students at Southwest Elementary call Campbell as she volunteers reading to and reading with students there.
“They call me ‘Grandma’ and I love it,” she said.
She urged fellow grandparents to get involved with children at the schools due to the possible void of a grandparental influence in some of their lives.
Dr. Buff Burtis presented the Rotary Businessperson of the Year Award to Blakeburn and praised him for his efforts to come home and establish his photography studio here.
Blakeburn not only invested in his hometown, but he also revitalized the formerly vacant Shamburg’s Building to house his operations.
He was brief and humble in his acceptance speech and said he hopes to live up to the honor.
The Woman of the Year Award was present by Julie Strong. Miller was selected for the award based upon her drive to help Clinton High School home economics teacher Sherrie Johnson receive a $100,000 grant from Farmers Insurance to renovate her classroom at CHS.
“It was a group effort by the whole community,” Miller said. “Thank you so much because we couldn’t have done this without you all.”
Kids in Care, Inc.
Strong also presented the new Organization of the Year Award. The inaugural group to be honored was Kids in Care, Inc.
The trio of Erin Adams, September Garcia and Rachel Hensley were brought to the stage and recognized for their efforts in helping and seeing to the various needs of children who often have no other recourse of assistance available to them.
Presenter Burden-Caldwell was instructed by the newly-retired English teacher Wheeler three times during her educational years and many others in attendance had her as a teacher as well.
Wheeler was selected as Volunteer of the Year for her collective efforts volunteering over the years at the Eastside Academy, the library board and others in addition to helping revitalize the mini-golf course.
“Leave it to an English teacher to be speechless,” she said. “As a volunteer each one of you can and will make a difference.”
The theme for the evening was “Hub City Stars” and Burden-Caldwell announced 227 people had committed to attending the event.
In addition to the local talent on display while the awards were presented, attendees dined on Lebanese food provided by Nancy Dowdell.