Entering new year with gratitude and hope

Entering new year with gratitude and hope

As our Chamber enters into 2022, we do so with a sense of gratitude. We are grateful to the businesses and organizations who continue to adapt and improvise each day to move not only their own shops forward, but the entire community. We are grateful for each one of them who invests in the work of the Chamber. They understand that investing in the Chamber’s work is investing in our community.

We are grateful to our program participants. The Leadership Owensboro Class of 2022 is halfway through the program year. Each one of these individuals applied to become more involved in the community and to identify their pathways to be a part of the legacy of positive change that the 1,200 alumni of the program have created.

We are grateful to all of our sponsors of various events and programs who continue to believe in the importance of supporting networking opportunities.

We are grateful to our Ambassadors who show up ready to work at events such as Rooster Booster, our Golf Classic and Annual Celebration and always come with smiles on their faces. They have made our ribbon-cuttings throughout the past year some of the best attended in history.

We are grateful to our Chamber Young Professionals who are forever finding new ways to connect, are always up for helping newcomers feel welcomed and are consistently developing philanthropic opportunities to build our community.

We are grateful to members who attend events. Ask anyone around the state or country who has been to a Rooster Booster what their impression is. There is nothing like it. Why? Because of the crowd. And because of the crowd’s energy. At 7:30 a.m.

We are grateful to the Chamber Board for their leadership, for taking time away from their businesses and always saying yes when asked to step up.

We are grateful to the Chamber staff who work tirelessly for the membership, trying to find new ways to develop talent, to fill a community need, to connect our members with opportunities.

We all know we have something special here. And there are close to 1,000 reasons. Our membership is extraordinary.

Last Thursday we had our first Rooster Booster of 2022.

After our prayer and Pledge of Allegiance, we welcomed Chris Joslin from the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame and Museum and Jaclyn Graves, a native of Mayfield, to lead us in My Old Kentucky Home — reminding us of our fellow Kentuckians right down the road who lost everything, but who are determined to build their communities back in spite of the challenges that lie ahead.

It was hard not to feel optimism and hope. The crowd gathered to celebrate the accomplishments of 2021, which were abundant, and to look forward to the good things to come. Mayor Watson and Judge Mattingly’s messages reminded us of how well our community is doing in spite of challenges that we had over the past 24 months.

We were able to welcome many of our newly arrived Afghan refugees — people who helped the United States and our troops, putting their lives and the lives of their families in peril. They are entrepreneurs, information technology experts, pilots, economists, all with impressive professional backgrounds. People who escaped unimaginably treacherous possibilities to come to the United States — the country they have already served — to build new lives and to contribute to our community.

Entering 2022 with hope is easy when we stop to think of the vast number of people in Greater Owensboro who wake up every day committed to doing their part. Moving us forward.

And to be able to serve such a special group, such a special community. Well, that is why we are grateful.

By Clay Ford and Candance Castlen Brake Great Owensboro  Chamber of Commerce Messenger-Inquirer