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I know this is supposed to be a “Dear Letter to the Editor,” but for me, this is a “Dear Burke County.”

It has officially been a year since David and I moved to Burke County. After a year, I continued to be surprised on a daily basis of the wonders of Burke County. This is a beautiful area for our state and our country. Each day, we have visitors come to visit from all over the country to see all the richness our county has to offer. We also are host to many people from other countries who somehow have landed in our county. After a year of “coming to work” each day, I am still amazed at the beauty and all we have to offer. I put “coming to work” in quotes, because I have had very few days that I feel like I have the arduous task of work. I really love what I do.

I have spent a year driving around this county, learning about the businesses, meeting the people, and seeing the sites. Not only do I continue to be astonished at the beauty, but each day, I am thankful for the people. This community has welcomed us with open arms. As most of you know, finding houses is a challenge in this time for our community. I have found it so precious for the number of people who have called me to let me know of a house for sell. It is very warming to know that people just don’t say they care, but they really show they care.

Working at the Chamber of Commerce is a passion of mine. I have spent most of my adult career in Chamber work and I believe in it. It is my goal to work with the staff and volunteers to do all we can to help the businesses of Burke County to grow and succeed … all businesses. Of course, we are a membership organization, therefore we focus our efforts on our members, but we want our entire community to see success. We are an independent nonprofit, so we have our members and our special events to make budget each year, however, we are here to provide a benefit and value to the membership, but to the community as a whole. Our membership is made up of businesses, nonprofits, government agencies and more. We are here to serve the business community.

Working with the volunteers at the Chamber is one of my greatest gifts. We have some fabulous members of our community who serve on our board. I am grateful for these men and women, who a year ago chose me to serve as their president. I did not realize at the time, what a wonderful group of people I had to work with in this position. I want to publicly thank Kathy Bailey, who serves as our chair of the Board of Directors. She is one of the greatest women I have had the pleasure of working with throughout my professional years. I have learned a great deal from her, personally and professionally. I won’t name them all, but our Board members, as well as our great volunteers have made my first year so very special. We have lots of volunteers, but we have a special group of volunteers called Ambassadors. These folks are such a great group and I am so very grateful to each of them for helping our Chamber perform its mission. We could not do what we do, nor would we want to do what we do without all of our marvelous volunteers.

We have had a lot of people to join our Chamber in this year and I am so grateful to them, but I am equally grateful to our members who continue to support our organization. If there are ways that we can help the members, I encourage them to reach out to one of our staff members or myself and let us know how we can help. I hope you have noticed a greater social media presence. This is just one of the ways we are trying to help our members.

On my year anniversary for the Chamber, the team at the Chamber made me feel so very special. I have never worked with a group, who worked so hard to make me feel like a queen. I came in on my anniversary day to lots of balloons, cake, snacks, punch, invites for the board to visit and more. We are a team at the Chamber, but really more like a family. I am very thankful to have McKenzie Peeler, Hollie Phillips and Stacey Ripley to work with each day. He is not a part of the Chamber, but having Ed Phillips (Tourism Development Authority Executive Director) makes our family complete. We work really hard to help our community, but we have a great time working together and supporting each other’s efforts.

If I have not had a chance to meet you, I hope you will stop by and meet me. If you are a business owner, I would love to come out and see your business and learn more about what you do. To everyone in Burke County who has been very welcoming to David and me, I am truly grateful for your hospitality. I am so thankful to now call Burke County home!

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