The business group hosted its 53rd annual celebration at the Douglasville Conference Center.
Chamber members honored Joan Battle as the citizen of the year. Battle worked as a teacher and counselor for 41 years in Paulding County Schools.
“I would like to ask how many of her students are here tonight?” chamber chairman Don Barbour asked before many in the crowd stood and applauded.
Battle began her career as a teacher at her alma mater, Matthews Consolidated High School, in 1962 and later moved to Paulding County High School. She served as a guidance counselor at Paulding County Junior High, P.B. Ritch Middle, South Paulding Middle, and Paulding County High before retiring in 2003 as lead counselor at Hiram High.
Her civic involvement has included the Paulding Youth Development Center board, the Paulding County Zoning and Planning Commission, Paulding County Library Board, New Beginning Day Care Center, Georgia Counselors Association, Paulding County Association of Educators, WellStar Paulding board and the Rosenwald Preservation Committee.
Elrod Garden Center was honored as business of the year. The Dallas company opened in 1988 and has operated at its current location since 2005. Its community involvement includes helping the county extension service with the farmers market it operates in spring, summer and fall in Dallas. Owner Sam Elrod also is among the lead organizers of the annual Dallas Christmas parade and is a former president of the Paulding Rotary Club.
The chamber also honored Sandy Kaecher of AFLAC as its ambassador of the year. The award is given to the person “who has proven to be the best example among their peers of volunteering as the chamber’s premier membership-marketing representative.”
Kaecher has served as an ambassador for three years and also is active with Paulding Executive Women and is a graduate of Leadership Paulding.
The keynote speaker was former astronaut Scott Horowitz, who flew in space shuttle missions in 1996, 1997, 2000 and 2001.
New board members include Samantha Glass of All Print Marketing and Media Solutions, Devan Seabaugh of Metro Atlanta Ambulance and Craig Burnsed of Talley, Richardson and Cable.