POINT PLEASANT — The 68th Annual Mason County Area Chamber of Commerce Dinner included a famous son returned to his hometown to speak and awards for the best business and economic development.
The keynote speaker at the annual dinner was Donnie Jones, head basketball coach at the University of Central Florida. A native of Point Pleasant, Jones is also a former head basketball coach at Marshall University. He is also a former assistant basketball coach at both the University of Florida and his alma mater, Pikeville College in Kentucky. While an assistant at Florida, Jones helped current head coach Billy Donovan coach the Gators to consecutive national championships in 2006 and 2007.
Jones spoke to those gathered at the dinner about impacting their community. He spoke about the “Seven C’s of Leadership.” These included character, consistency, communication, commitment, compassion, confidence and courage. On the subject of courage, he said sometimes one of the most powerful words you can say is “no.” He spoke about having a vision for the community and though everyone’s vision can be different, organizations like the chamber encourage people working together to implement change.
“Each day understand the impact you have,” Jones said.
He said he grew up in a community with a lot of people loving and caring for him. Jones spoke about his love of his hometown saying “the people make the place.”
In terms of the awards, the following were honored at the dinner: Best Development went to ATT Cellutions. Best Community Project went to the Backpack Blessings Program administered through Crosslight of Hope. Outstanding Downtown Revitalization went to McDonalds for its new Christmas light display at Riverfront Park. Best New Commercial Development went to both Magic Years Daycare and Thompson’s Home Center. Best Landscaping went to Roger and Winona McKinney. Most Attractive Sign went to Terry Pyles State Farm Insurance.
At the end of the night the Community Service Award was given to Mike Lieving of Farmers Bank who is well known in the banking community as well as the community in general. Lieving received a huge round of applause as he took the stage. Born in West Columbia, Lieving is a graduate of Wahama High School, Glenville State College and Stonier Banking School. Lieving has also served as a past president of the Chamber and is a member of the Pleasant Valley Hospital Board of Directors. In addition, he’s a member of the West Virginia Banker’s Association Board of Directors. He’s a member of St. Paul Lutheran Church in New Haven, has been married to his wife Holly for 40 years and has two children and four grandchildren.