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More than 100 people showed up at the Tommy Usher Pineland Center Tuesday night for the Greater Area Chiefland Chamber of Commerce's annual Industry Appreciation Banquet. This year's banquet honored the Chiefland branch of Capital City Bank as Business of the Year.
"We appreciate the Chamber selecting us for the Business of the Year," said Capital City Bank Group Inc. President Cliff Bradley a few days before the event.
"We realize that in order to be a vital bank, we need to contribute to the community ..."
In fact, it's been the banks contributions that garnered it status as Business of the Year, according to Chamber Executive Director Maureen Gentry.
"They were selected, basically, on their merit," Gentry said. "They employ a great number of people, which, in turn, then support the community."
Gentry said the bank contributes to the Levy County Schools Foundation, paying for a scholarship for one student from each of the county's four high schools. Capital City also sponsors all of the foundation's special events each year. The annual STARS Gala, the Beast Feast, the Evening for Excellence and Cycle for education are all made possible by the bank, which also has locations in four other municipalities in the county. Capital City also plays a big role within the Chamber, helping to pay for meals and assisting with events.
Gentry said initially there was some concern in the community that the bank was not "locally owned." But she said the important thing to remember is how much the bank contributes to the community.
Bradley, responding to the same concern, said that the bank, in a way, is locally owned because stocks are publicly traded, which means anyone in the community can have a piece of Capital City Bank.
Tuesday night's event kicked off with a speech by Chamber President Dr. Bennett Patterson, who made a point to recognize that the banquet was happening on the 11th anniversary of Sept. 11.
Honoring businesses on the date was more than appropriate, he said, because the perpetrators of of the Sept. 11 attacks aimed to hurt the American economy.
"That's what they hate about us: our way of life." But they failed, he said. Communities across the nation, which all depend on business and a strong community, rallied against the efforts of terrorists, he said.
"In honor of all our heroes, let's continue to make our communities strong ..."