Madison Briscoe Wednesday, May 4, 2022 at 9:51 am
The 2022 Springfield Washington County Chamber of Commerce Awards Dinner was Monday, April 25. The awards dinner recognized individuals and businesses who have contributed to the community. The awards for the night included Small Business Leader winner Anne Thomas Browell, owner of hair Boutique; Healthcare Leaders, awarded to the Sansbury Care Center nursing staff; Manufacturing Industry Leader, awarded to John Yates, owner of Innovative Tooling Solutions; Agricultural Leader winner Keith and Jillian Nash, owners of Nash Farms; Educator of the Year, Cassie Robinson; Above and Beyond Award winner, Taylora Schlosser with the Rae of Sunshine Foundation; and Citizen of the year, Alma Burton Edelen. All seven award winners, though very different from one another, strive to give back to the Springfield and Washington County community.
Browell, Small Business Leader of the year, took over The Hair Boutique from Tracy Wright who started and named the business. “This community has been incredibly supportive,” Browell said. “I never dreamed we would have a salon with five full-time cosmetologists that stays as busy as we do.”Citizen of the Year was presented by JT Burton, son of Alma Burton Edelen. “This award means so much to Mom and our family because it not only recognizes her 50 plus years of working in education with young kids, but serving this community,” Burton said. Edelen has worked in head-start since 1965 as well as served for several organizations including Progressive Homemakers, Democratic Women’s Committee, Business and Professional Women, and more.
Yates, owner of Innovative Tooling Solutions, started his welding business in his garage in 1999. Time has allowed Yates to grow and develop his business and his company now serves customers all over Kentucky, Tennessee, and southern Indiana. Yates said he now has 14 employees working with him. “I’m a leader by example,” he said, “all my employees have been with me since the beginning—I haven’t lost an employee in 23 years now”
Robinson, a teacher at St. Dominic School, began her teaching career in 1985. “If you know Cassie personally, then you know she does not have children of her own, however, the number of children that she has taught, tutored, mentored is too numerous to count,” said Rachel Fenwick, who presented Robinson with her award. Robinson stressed that her passion for working with students is what pushes her forward. “Do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life—your passion will drive you every day.”
Megan Finnie, administrator at Sansbury Care Center, presented the Healthcare Leaders of the Year award to the nursing staff at Sansbury. Finnie said Sansbury Care Center employs 105 individuals along with 25 contract employees.
“The caring employees of Sansbury have demonstrated patience, kindness, selflessness, mastery of their required skills, and commitment to excellence—especially during the challenging last two years,” Finnie said.
Nash Farms, Agricultural Leader of the Year, is a local family produce farm. The Nash family participates in farmers’ markets in Central Kentucky. Keith and Jillian both come from farm families and have worked in farms from a young age.
The Nash’s moved to Springfield and got a cattle farm, over time they decided to get into produce to provide quality farm fresh food to their customers.“We could not have done this without the continued support of the community,” Jillian said. “It’s helped me feel a part of the community again.”
Schlosser, the Above and Beyond Award winner, created the Rae of Sunshine Foundation to honor her daughter Taylor Rae Nolan who tragically passed away in 2019. The Rae of Sunshine Foundation works to bring awareness, eliminate the stigmas of mental health and create opportunities to spread positivity. Schlosser travels to high schools and colleges around the state to talk to students about suicide prevention with her presentation “A second chance to smile.”
The Rae of Sunshine Foundation awards scholarships to future mental health professionals. “In three years, we will have given $30,000— $2,000 each —to future mental health professionals.”