In a town like Clayton, it’s not hard to look around and find people deserving of end-of-year accolades. In fact, it’s probably more difficult to decide among the nominees than anything else.
The recent Chamber of Commerce awards night gives us a good perspective on just how many people and businesses want to see Clayton succeed at the things it does.
The late Michael Smith, named posthumously as Clayton’s citizen of the year, was an avid booster, not just for Clayton, but indeed for all of Johnston County and especially its children.
Even after his death, the company he left behind has maintained that philosophy and this region is better off for the kind of community-first attitude.
Tom Ricks, who was named Rotarian of the year at the awards event, focuses his efforts on a very different community.
But he has single-handedly convinced Clayton residents to help feed part of a community in Haiti, where the damage from a massive earthquake still impacts lives on a daily basis.
Ricks has managed to help tie two communities together in a way that no one else has, with the possible exception of another citizen of the year, Helen Little.
Spend any amount of time with Ricks and you’ll know he operates like a man on a mission and he has as much faith in the people of this community as anyone around.
In fact, all those recognized at the event have found a way to give of themselves in ways big and small in an effort to promote a sense of community and build Clayton’s reputation as a family-friendly community.
Michael Grannis, owner of Clayton Steakhouse, Martha Stovall, the chamber’s ambassador of the year, Don Craig, Clayton’s volunteer of the year, and Caroline Mitchell, who was named winner of the Civitan Award, have all looked for opportunities to make our town a better place and they’ve responded with the call came for help.
There’s a sense in the air, here, that things are good.
People like these are a big part of the reason why people think that way.