Officials from the Petal Area Chamber of Commerce are now seeking nominations for the organization’s two most prestigious, annual awards: The Bobby Runnels Leadership Award and the Spirit of Petal Business of the Year Award.
The deadline for nominations, which can be submitted by any individuals or businesses, is Dec. 13.
The Bobby Runnels Leadership Award, which was instituted in 1994, is given each year to someone who serves the community through church, family, school, civic clubs or the chamber, and the name of the recipient is kept a secret until each year’s banquet. The award is named for Bobby Runnels, who served on Petal’s first elected board of aldermen and as mayor pro tem while then-mayor Jack Gay served in Desert Storm.
“We’re looking for somebody that goes above and beyond what a normal individual needs to do for their community,” said Valerie Wilson, executive director of the Petal Area Chamber of Commerce. “This is the type of person that it’s not in his or her job description to do these things – they are doing these things outside of what they normally need to do during the course of their work day.
“These people are volunteering for other committees, civic groups, church groups, different business groups. They are giving their time, their effort, their expertise, to others; they are mentoring others. They are simply bringing people together in our community.”
Previous recipients of the Bobby Runnels Leadership Award include, but are not limited to, Drew Brickson, Brad Eubank, Tom King, Nadine Coleman, Leahne Lightsey, Ione Bond, Jack Gay, Dr. Chuck Harrell and Lynn Cartlidge.
To nominate an individual for the Bobby Runnels Leadership Award, visit https://bit.ly/3oh2SLi. There, participants will be asked to enter the name of their nomination, along with a brief description – 500 words or less – of why that person is being nominated.
“We’ve been doing this for quite a while, and it’s a very prestigious award,” Wilson said. “It’s an honor to be nominated, and it’s an even greater honor to actually be selected.
“We hope that the people who win this award realize that this is not a popularity contest; this is truly an opportunity to thank them for being selfless and giving to our community.”
The Spirit of Petal Business of the Year Award, which is in its second year, recognizes a business that contributes to the economic growth and quality of life in Petal. Nominees should display practices and professional conduct that contributes to a sense of cooperation within the entire business community.
Nominees must be members of the Petal Area Chamber of Commerce and have been in business in Petal for at least 12 months, as well as recognized as a small business by standards set by the Small Business Administration. Nominees may be from the for-profit, non-profit or not-for-profit sectors, and must be located within the 39465 ZIP code, with the exception of marketing.
Businesses should have shown stability and growth over the years, and should support community involvement and philanthropy as core values. The recipient must be present to accept the award at the Petal Area Chamber of Commerce annual banquet at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 27 at the Petal Civic Center on South Main Street.
A list of chamber members can be found on the organization’s website at www.petalchamber.com.
The inaugural Spirit of Petal Business of the Year Award went to Allen Flynt, owner of A&R Flynt Development on Old Richton Road in Petal.
To nominate a business for the Spirit of Petal, visit https://bit.ly/3DmZ3se.
As with the Bobby Runnels Leadership Award, participants will be asked to enter the name of their nomination, along with a brief description – 500 words or less – of why that person is being nominated.
“It’s similar to the Bobby Runnels award, but it’s different in that it’s given to a business,” Wilson said. “It represents the sense of cooperation that the business has for the entire community; it exemplifies their professional conduct and good business practices.
“They are philanthropic, and that’s what we want to recognize, is contributions to our whole community as a business.”
For more information, call the Petal Area Chamber of Commerce at (601) 583-3306.