The #MeToo movement has a lot of folks asking questions about what is and isn’t sexual harassment. Some might be expressing concern about whether they’ll lose their job for making a sexual harassment complaint against a co-worker or boss. As awareness of sexual harassment issues continues to soar, "how does a Lake Norman business owner limit the risk of getting sued, and, more important, fight sexual harassment?” This important topic and those questions will be addressed at a Lunch n’ Learn facilitated by the Lake Norman Chamber.
On Thursday, February 15th, the Lake Norman Chamber Diversity Council will facilitate a Lunch n ‘ Learn hosted by Central Piedmont Community College at the Merancas Campus located at 11930 Verhoeff Drive in Huntersville. The seminar will be held in the Criminal Justice Building (CJ119). Our speakers are Jesse Jones, an attorney with the McIntosh Law Firm and Deborah Reynolds, a Senior Human Resources Business Partner with ADP TotalSource, the HR Division of ADP.
There is no cost to attend and attendees are encouraged to bring a lunch and beverage. CPCC Students will also be attending the luncheon.
About our Speakers:
Deborah Reynolds is a Senior Human Resources Business Partner with ADP TotalSource, the HR Division of ADP, based in the Piedmont Triad region of NC. Deborah supports over 50 small and medium size business through human resources consulting and support. She has over fifteen years of experience in recruiting, benefit administration, employment policies, employment relations, and EEOC compliance. Mrs. Reynolds also provides on-site leadership and employee training programs including sexual harassment prevention. Mrs. Reynolds holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration and has earned the most senior level professional certifications including SPHR and SHRM-SCP.
She is also a member of and served on the boards of both the Human Resources Management Association of Greensboro (HRMAG) and on the board of the Winston-Salem Society of Human Resource Management (WS-SHRM). Both HRMAG and WS-SHRM are the locally affiliated chapters of the National Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). She has co-chaired the HRMAG Governmental Affairs committee that updates members on legislative issues affecting Human Resources and has also served as the Director of the SHRM HR Certification instruction course that mentors and assists HR professionals preparing for their certification exam.
Jesse Jones has more than forty years’ experience forming new businesses, advising businesses, writing and negotiating business contracts, handling business transactions, guiding businesses through conflicts, and representing businesses in court.
He earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Tennessee, and his law degree at the University of Michigan. Jesse spent the first twenty years of his career doing complex commercial litigation in a medium-sized law firm in Miami, Florida. He took that experience and started his own practice, shifting his focus to transactional work, asset protection, and business succession planning. He moved to Huntersville in 2006 and began helping Lake Norman people solve and avoid problems in business and in wealth protection. Jesse joined The McIntosh Law Firm in 2015. His practice focuses on providing legal frameworks for businesses of all sizes to prosper, from large corporations to first-time entrepreneurs. This includes crafting contracts and other legal documents, negotiating and closing business transactions, counseling businesses in personnel matters, and avoiding and resolving business disputes.
Jesse Jones believes that the practice of law is more a profession, than a business. A client must trust that the lawyer's advice and services put the client's interests first.
For more information about the Lake Norman Chamber Diversity Council or this event, contact the Lake Norman Chamber at 704-892-1922 or visit LakeNormanChamber.org
To Local Real Estate Members and Developers in the Lake Norman Market
Regarding: Town of Cornelius Land Development Code
For the last four years, The Town of Cornelius staff have been working with a local citizen advisory committee to draft an update to the Town Land Development Code. Town Staff has periodically been meeting with local real estate companies, engineers, developers and neighborhood groups to review different portions of the proposed Code that may be of interest.
The Cornelius Town Board has scheduled a final public hearing and potential adoption for Monday, February 19th at the Town Board Meeting 7 pm. Wayne Herron, the Town Planner is reaching out to any business, particularly those who are impacted by Cornelius Town Codes, if they have any issues or concerns.
The Town has provided the Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce with the Power Point used at a recent Town Board Meeting that outlines changes that have already occurred and the final proposed changes.
See the Power Point here.
The new draft Code can be found at the following:
Should any local business or Lake Norman Chamber member have any questions, please contact:
Wayne Herron, AICP
Director of Planning
(o) 704-896-2460 ext 111
W.E. “Bill” Russell
President & CEO
Cornelius, NC (January 15, 2018) – The Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce presented the Duke Citizenship & Service Award to local Mooresville and Huntersville Automobile Dealer Randy Marion at a sold out Annual Meeting which took place Friday, January 12th at The Peninsula Club. Also recognized was Holly Davis, the founder of Holly’z Hope, and Sally J. Ashworth, Executive Director of Visit Lake Noman.
John Crutchfield, Director of Public Safety and Recreation Strategy Planning Services at Duke Energy Corporation, presented the award to Mr. Marion. Crutchfield said, “We are pleased this year to recognize an individual whose name is synonymous, not just with his business, but recognized as someone who truly cares. Whether back home in West Virginia with an organization his grandfathers were involved in – Mountain Mission, or providing the turkeys at Thanksgiving for all the Mooresville Police and Fire Dept. employees – Randy Marion has made a lasting impact.
A quick look around at any community event – typically has Randy Marion’s support: Cannon School, The Mooresville Soup Kitchen, Rescue Ranch, Heart Association, The Dove House, Davidson Community Players and the list goes on and on.”
Mr. Marion, in receiving the recognition, responded, “I am blessed beyond measure to be able to be in business in a great and supportive community and to be able to give back to a community that provides me and our 464 employees an opportunity to make a living. I really feel giving back is as important as receiving.”
In addition, Holly Davis with Holly’z Hope, was selected as the John R. Cherry Community Award recipient for 2017. When Holly Davis moved to Cornelius in 2015, she saw a lot of dogs tethered outside in the elements and it concerned her. She set out to improve the condition of these pets – working with our towns to provide alternatives to chaining the animals and reducing overpopulation thru spay and neuter programs. In 2 years, she and her group – Holly’z Hope – have freed 70 dogs and spayed and neutered close to 100 animals.
The Chamber also recognized Sally Ashworth, the Executive Director of Visit Lake Norman, with the Scott Hinkle Servant Leadership Award named for 1999 Chamber Board Chair Scott Hinkle who passed away in 2010 from health issues related to diabetes. The award is presented to an individual who has made a lasting impact on the Lake Norman region by “demonstrating leadership through selfless service.”
2017 Lake Norman Chamber Board Chair Jay Lesemann told the assembled business and community leaders, “For more than two decades Sally Ashworth has been mentoring young people – whether it be her own personal staff or those students at Hopewell High School in the Academy of Travel & Tourism. Sally, the Executive Director of Visit Lake Norman, has chaired and served on statewide Tourisms Boards, our Chamber Board, the EDC Board and has spent the better part of her career teaching others to serve – which is appropriate as she herself began her career as a teacher after graduating from Marshall University.”
Pic A: Randy, Marion receives the 2017 Duke Citizenship & Service Award from John Crutchfield of Duke Energy. Also on hand to present the award was Lake Norman Chamber Board Chair Jay Lesemann and Chamber President Bill Russell. Photo by Ocaid Photography.
Pic B: Holly Davis, founder of Holly’z Hope, was the recipient of the John R. Cherry Community Service Award for her work with pets. Cherry, the founder of the Lake Norman Chamber, presented the award along with Chamber Board Chair Jay Lesemann and Bill Russell, the Chamber President. Photo by Ocaid Photography.
Pic C Sally J. Ashworth, Executive Director of Visit Lake Norman, receives the Scott Hinkle Servant Leadership Award from Chamber Chair Jay Lesemann and President Bill Russell.
Photos by Ocaid Photography.
Cornelius, NC (January 15, 2018) – “A Winning Tradition” was the theme of the Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce 30th Annual Meeting this past Friday at The Peninsula Club in Cornelius. The banquet focused on the three decades of service of the regional business association as well as thanking many of the community’s volunteers who make the Lake Norman region a great place to live, work, and visit.
The sold out event was keynoted by Adam Alexander, NASCAR Race Hub Co-host and FOX Announcer, who spoke about the importance of building a winning team. Approximately 200 business and community leaders were inspired by Alexander’s sports anecdotes and his message of “Passion, be positive, know your parameters, be present, live in peace by staying humble.”
J A (Jay) Lesemann, Jr. CPA CGMA with Lesemann CPAs Huntersville, presided over the event as the 2017 Board Chair. Joshua Dobi, President of Dobi Financial Group, was installed as the 2018 Chairman of the Board.
A highlight of the evening was recognizing business leaders who had excelled in their profession and made a significant impact on their community. The prestigious Robert T. Cashion Business Person of the Year was awarded to Dr. William H. Cain, President and CEO of Financial Independence Group. On hand to help make the presentation was Robert’s wife Louise and sons Bobby and Gordon.
Dr Cain, who is celebrating his 41st year in the financial and insurance industry, employs 146 people and in 2015 and 2016 celebrated record setting years surpassing $2 billion in sales and revenue.
On receiving the recognition, Dr. Cain thanked his wife Ericka (Chief Administrative Officer), his family, the staff of Financial Independence Group and their team at Baily's Glen. Dr. Cain said, “We moved from Asheville to Cornelius 20 years ago (1998) after researching the area and found a very welcoming business community. So we moved our family, employees and business here with an appreciation for our warm reception. Today, we have a home where we can give back to a wonderful community.”
The McIntosh Law Firm’s Passion to Succeed Award for the 2017 Entrepreneur of the Year was presented to Rob Bennett, owner of My Aloha Paddle & Surf and Charlotte Cycle Boats. Bennett has been recognized as the USA 2017 Stand Up Paddle Board Retailer of the Year and has raised over $85,000 in the last six years for local charities.
Other business leaders recognized were Tenders Fresh Foods with the Volunteer of the Year; Jordan Bentz with Bentz and Associates with the Carbon Ambassador of the Year; Discovery Place Kids - Huntersville with the Distinguished Service Award; and Mike Murphy with ProctorFree, who was recognized with the Starrette Service Award as the Most Outstanding Chamber Board Member.
The Chamber recognized four outgoing Board Members whose terms concluded in December: Sharon Simpson with Currents Magazine, Davidson Commissioner Jim Fuller, Laura Temple with Champion Tire, and Huntersville Commissioner Danny Phillips.
Picture 1: Dr. Bill Cain received the Robert T. Cashion Business Person of the Year Award from the Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce. Pictured with Bill Cain is Robert Cashion’s wife Louise and sons Bobby and Gordon. Representing the Chamber were 2017 Board Chair Jay Lesemann and President Bill Russell. Photo by Ocaid Photography.
Pic 2: Rob Bennett, owner of My Aloha Paddle and Surf, was selected as the McIntosh Law Firm Passion to Succeed Entrepreneur of the Year for 2017. Presenting the award was McIntosh Law Firm Founder Bob McIntosh, 2017 Chamber Board Chair Jay Lesemann, and Chamber President Bill Russell. Photo by Ocaid Photography.
The Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce recognized Discovery Place Kids in Huntersville at the 30th Annual Meeting of the business association held Friday, January 12, 2018. On hand to accept the recognition was Executive Director Lauren Fike and Coordinator Emily Cunningham. 2017 Chamber Board Chair Jay Lesemann, a local Huntersville CPA, shared his personal thoughts with the 200 business and community leaders attending, “As a CPA, an area of interest for me personally, is Financial Literacy. As a Huntersville resident and business owner, I have long been impressed by an attraction here in town that does an outstanding job preparing our children and acclimating them to our community environment – Discovery Place Kids, Huntersville.
DPK, which opened in 2010, is one of the most unique and interactive museums in the region to take your kids to keep them engaged and inspired. Discovery Place Kids accommodates children as young as infants and as old as ten years. From the grocery store stocked with Publix food to the full-sized fire truck—not to mention arts and crafts areas, a water table, and puppet show areas—there’s seemingly no end to the ways to expand your child’s mind.
Emily Cunningham, Coordinator for Discovery Place Kids – Huntersville states that 86% of their attendance (Discovery Place as a whole) comes from North and South Carolina residents with 500,000+ visitors attending in 2017. Records indicate that over 50% of visitors return for at least another visit within the year. DPK – Huntersville accommodated 150,000+ (of the 500,000 total) visitors this past year.
The Chamber’s Adult and Junior Leadership Programs annually tour the facilities located at 105 Gilead Road in Downtown Huntersville.
Pictured with Lauren Fike and Emily Cunningham are Chamber Board Chair Jay Lesemann and Chamber President Bill Russell. Photo by John McHugh / Ocaid Photography.
For more information on Discover Place Kids - Huntersville, visit their website or call 704-(704) 372-6261
On Friday, January 12th, the Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce honored Tenders Fresh Foods with the Lake Norman Chamber Volunteer of the Year Award for 2017. Tenders located at 18341 Statesville Rd in Cornelius is owned by PDQ. 2017 Lake Norman Chamber Board Chair Jay Lesemann presented the recognition to Restaurant Manager Molly Trask.
Lesemann specifically cited their contributions to both the Chamber’s Junior Leadership Lake Norman program and the Hopewell High School Career Day which took place last spring. Assisting in the presentation was Chamber President and CEO Bill Russell.
Below are just a few of the groups that Tenders Fresh Foods worked with in 2017 and their missions along with the specific contribution by Tenders
Angels and Sparrows Soup Kitchen - (partnered with them for several years)
• Mission/Goal: To help fight hunger in Huntersville and adjacent towns of Cornelius and Davidson as well as in the North Mecklenburg County unincorporated areas.
• Donated food and free cards for Thanksgiving Race, helped raise money to feed children and families at Kids Christmas Party as well as money to put away for soup kitchen daily operations
• Partnered with them for Rotary Christmas Tree Sponsorship in Davidson
Angels of 97 (partnered with them for several years)
• Mission/Goal: The graduating class of 1997 from North Meck High School suffered the loss of several of its classmates. Between their 10th and 12th grades, this class lost 5 of their classmates to car accidents and illness. Family members as well as friends use a community involved spaghetti dinner, and a golf tournament to raise money to offer scholarships to North Mecklenburg, Hopewell and Hough High Seniors. Hope House
• Donated tenders for Spaghetti Dinner as well as gift cards, free tenders cards and lunches for golf tournaments
Serenity House Huntersville/Mooresville (partnered with them for several years)
• Mission/Goal: Serenity House is a loving home for terminally ill people – providing living space, practical care, and access to hospice services. We are devoted to the care of dying people and to the support of their loved ones. Serenity House aims to meet the need of people who wish to die at home, but lack the caregiver necessary to achieve that goal.
• Donated gift cards for raffle and free tender cards for place settings at each attendees seat at the Black and White Gala
• Mission/Goal: Realizing that there was no temporary housing support system for this vulnerable group within a 21-mile radius of Lake Norman (including Mecklenburg and the surrounding counties), Dr. Lindquist rallied the entire community to support the vision and mission of Hope House by building and operating a transitional home.
• Food donations to house and being a part of events to help raise money for the house
Davidson College Fraternity Fundraisers: (partnered with them for several years)
• PHI's for GI's- Mission: Support US Armed Forces Trot for Troops 5K, Fall Service Event Sponsorship, Weights for Warriors- Sponsored events with food for after 5k, gift cards, free tenders cards for attendees
• Carolina Drive to Cure Sanfilippo (partnered with them for several years)
• Mission/Goal: In February 2015, we learned that our daughter, Aislinn, has a rare genetic disorder called Sanfilippo Syndrome. With no available treatment or cure, Sanfilippo will steal her voice, her mobility, her ability to eat. Ultimately, it will steal her tomorrows. We created Aislinn’s Wish Foundation to help find a
Cure for Sanfilippo.
• Fed volunteers for golf tournament and free tenders cards to attendees
Charlotte Rolling Hornets
• Mission/Goal: The mission of the Rollin’ Hornets is to promote independence for both children and adults with physical disabilities and provide opportunities to pursue active, healthy lifestyles in adaptive sports.
• Provided food and cards for tournament as well as food for Christmas Party
The Sandbox (partnered with them for several years)
• Mission/Goal: Through our CARRE Program we work with families of children with cancer and life-altering illnesses and empower them throughout their healthcare journey. We provide evaluations, education, resources, connections and opportunities in order to meet the unique needs of each family.
• Donated food for families for "Try on Day"
Big Day at the Lake (partnered with them for several years)
• Mission/Goal: The support of people like you during the past 13 years has enabled us to meet our three goals: Provide a day of fun on the lake for at-risk children, recruit Bigs and raise money for a worthy organization
• Provided food for Bigs and Littles as well as free tenders cards
Cornelius PD/Lake PD (partnered with them for several years)
• Mission/Goal: Keep Cornelius Safe!
• Created "Let's SHAKE on Boat Safety" Program where when police officers pull over boats for boat safety checks, kids and boat drivers will receive a free Tenders Shake card that also states the important parts of boating safety... normally start the boating season out with a kick off at Tenders
• National Night Out- free tenders cards for participants that donate school supplies
Cornelius Parks and Rec.
• Mission/Goal: The Cornelius Parks, Arts, Recreation and Culture (PARC) Department works to enhance the lives of citizens and visitors by providing great parks, natural areas and recreational experiences, from sports leagues and fitness classes to summer camps and art classes.
• Set up for openings, ribbon cuttings etc for multiple events where we donate food/refreshments
Ada Jenkins Center:
• Mission/Goal: Crisis can easily deplete savings and push vulnerable families and individuals further into poverty. Whether someone is facing unemployment or homelessness, struggling in school, or has lost their health insurance, we are here to help. Our Center serves as a resource hub for Northern Mecklenburg county.
• Donated Catering basket for Gala
• Mission/Goal: We are a community service organization providing clothing and small household items free of charge to those in need. Our clients reside primarily in northern Mecklenburg and southern Iredell county.
• Collected coats at Tenders and donated them to Lydia’s during Christmas Time
Toys for Tots Foundation:
• Mission/Goal: The mission of the U. S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program is to collect new, unwrapped toys during October, November and December each year, and distribute those toys as Christmas gifts to less fortunate children in the community in which the campaign is conducted.
• Collected toys at Tenders and gave to Toys for Tots
Tenders has served these organizations as well as donated food and gift cards to several golf tournaments such as Keep Pounding For Parker, Gus Macker, Children's Schoolhouse, Ronald McDonald House of Charlotte Celebrity Golf Tournament, LKN Carolina Cobras 11U, etc.
5k's-sponsoring/donating food and cards to local 5ks such as Run for Green, JDRF Walk... etc.
In addition to these Organizations Tenders hosts family nights/vend events where they donate 10% back to organizations/schools.
Tenders helps organizations with fundraising by selling Charity Cards which schools, and sports teams which can sell to help raise money for their teams.
They also sponsor several sports teams throughout the year with food trade in order to help them from having to spend money on food for teams by hosting pre and post seasons parties here at Tenders as well as vending on site.
For more information, contact::
Catering and Marketing Coordinator 704-895-6017
Several community and business leaders were recognized at Friday night’s Thirtieth Annual Meeting of the Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce. The event, held at the prestigious Peninsula Club, was attended by approximately 200 business leaders.
Mike Murphy, Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer for Proctor Free, was recognized with the Starrette Service Award as the Chamber’s Outstanding Board Member of the Year. Mike has a passion for innovation, entrepreneurship, and mission-driven businesses. Prior to starting his own business, Mike worked as marketing director for Everblue Training Institute, a startup focused on marketing environmental sustainability and green building. Earlier in his career, Mike served in the Army and as a defense contractor where he completed three tours in Iraq. He is the Lake Norman Chamber Vice Chairman of Communication and Technology. This was his second Starrette Award.
Murphy has been very involved in 2017 with start-up businesses. Assisting the new Davidson HUB, LaunchLKN, as well as serving on a panel discussion for entrepreneurship recently for the Town of Davidson, Murphy has taken the lead for the Chamber Board assisting entrepreneurial businesses.
Jordan Bentz, an Associate with The Bentz and Associate Law Firm in Cornelius, received the Carbon Ambassador of the Year. The award, named for long time Chamber Ambassador Joe Carbon, is presented annually to the Ambassador of the Year. Jordan has served as an Ambassador for a couple of years, attending Business AfterHour events and mixers and working to improve guidelines and criteria for individuals serving in the role. In 2017, she developed a handbook which will be distributed to those serving as Ambassadors later this year.
In presenting the award, Board Chair Jay Lesemann said of Jordan, “She is always prepared, able to answer questions and provides information about current and upcoming events and programs. Jordan can be counted on every month, thanklessly volunteering and filling in where and whenever needed.”
The Chamber recognized four outgoing Board Members whose terms concluded in December: Sharon Simpson with Currents Magazine 2012- 2017, Davidson Commissioner Jim Fuller 2015 - 2017, Laura Temple with Champion Tire 2015-2017, and Huntersville Commissioner Danny Phillips 2012 - 2014 and 2016-2017.
Photos by John McHugh / Ocaid Photography.
Plato said, “The beginning is the most important part of any work” and most of our businesses have had time to assess this past year and have already set their strategic goals for the year ahead. For many Lake Norman firms and retail businesses, 2017 was a very solid year which saw continued growth. We sold more product, signed up more clients, and closed more deals that made 2017 a good year for business. Others see the new year provides an opportunity to review the business model, create new strategies, and reach out to new markets to build their business.
Setting goals for a non-profit association such as your chamber of commerce is uniquely different than many businesses because our organization is reliant heavily on a volunteer base. Unlike a service or retail business, much of the mission, direction, and work is accomplished by committed, civic minded individuals who are not compensated for their work.
The Lake Norman Chamber has been fortunate to have a very capable Board of Directors comprised of talented and capable business leaders. This past September our business association celebrated thirty years serving as the catalyst for business and economic growth for our region. We have brought our lake communities of Huntersville, Cornelius, Davidson, and Mooresville together understanding there is far more we can accomplish working together than we can independently.
Such was the sentiment echoed recently at a Business Today “Newsmaker Breakfast” when newly elected Davidson Mayor Rusty Knox was asked his priorities for the coming year he replied, “We have to work together! There may be a Davidson Town limit but we have to work with our neighbors in Huntersville, and Kannapolis just as much as we do our adjacent neighbors in Cornelius and Mooresville.”
Leadership is understanding we can all accomplish a great deal, and working together, we can accomplish a great deal more.
In 2018, it is critical we, as a chamber of commerce, work closely with the leadership of our lake communities which continue to grow at a tremendous pace. With classrooms at or beyond capacity and unfunded road projects which continue to challenge our mobility, our leadership must foster “out of the box” approaches to everyday problems.
We as business leaders must encourage our elected officials at all levels to find common ground in their differences, working collaboratively to ensure our region continues to be a great place to live, work, and visit. Real leadership is going from where you are to where you have not been and 2018 gives us all a fresh start and a new beginning.
If you haven’t been involved in the chamber – get involved this year! Help us make a profound difference in your community. Whether it’s simply attending one more mixer or participating in one more seminar – give us +1. Just a little more effort helps move that needle as our incoming Board Chair Joshua Dobi reminds us.
When Wayne Gretsky, the ice hockey legend was asked about his secret to success, he said, “Skate to where the puck is going, not to where it is.”
In the year ahead, we must set our eyes firmly fixed on where we need to go as a community and region. We have the talents, leadership, and abilities to meet any challenge we face. Whether we skate in circles or skate to where the puck is going is completely up to us.
Pictured: Davidson Mayor Rusty Knox speaking at a Busness Today Newsmaker Breakfast – “We have to work together!”
The holiday season is upon us and with it comes the sights and sounds of Christmas. Regardless of your faith, December is often a special month of reflection, generosity, and family. Listening to my favorite carols and songs brings back long cherished memories of family and friends. For many, it's a spiritual season with thoughts of life's purpose. But others face much darker days with the struggle of addition. Providing them and their families, relief from the pain would be the greatest gift of all.
Last week, I attended my weekly Rotary Club meeting and listened as a young lady shared her story of addiction to opioids. The daughter of a Rotarian, she fought through tears as she shared her innermost struggle with substance abuse. She was an honor student, gifted athlete, and popular classmate. Yet, she still felt a lack of esteem and confidence, which led to handfuls of pills that wrecked her life, leaving a wide wake of personal destruction with family and close friends.
I squirmed in my seat as I listened to her recount how her parents tried desperately to reach out with counseling and assistance. But in the end, they were forced to lock her out of their house. It was a story I was all too familiar with as my stepbrother faced the same insidious demons.
The opioid epidemic is now considered the worst drug crisis in our nation's history. These drugs kill more Americans than automobile accidents and opioids now claim more than 27,000 lives each year. Addiction knows no discrimination as every demographic segment has seen a dramatic rise in deaths from overdoses of prescription opioids and heroin.
In 2014, friends from my High School lost their son to his struggle with substance abuse. Their family was close and Hendon was a popular and gifted young man and a talented athlete. Their son was one of the most likeable young men you would ever meet. But again, addiction does not discriminate - and another life ended entirely too soon - and another family faced unimaginable heartache.
Earlier this year, I attended the funeral of a very successful young chamber member. She was the mother of two little girls. Bethany lost a battle that far too many wage. Her family and her faith simply could not compete with the pull of addiction - the momentary high that robs from the future.
The young lady at Rotary ended by telling us how each day is a struggle, but she is winning that battle one day at a time. It takes courage, time and tons of support. Ultimately, the answer must begin with an acknowledgement that there is a problem and there must be resolve to overcome it.
If I could have one gift this Christmas, it would be for our nation to put aside all the petty political bickering and focus on the real threats which face our great country, robbing each of us of our greatest living treasure - the sons and daughters of America.
Country Singer Vince Gill sings a song called, "Go Rest High on that Mountain." In the song, Gill sings, "...only you could know the pain. You weren't afraid to face the devil, you were no stranger to the rain."
Let us hope as we face this year ahead, we do so resolved to ending the addiction crisis threatening our young people. United in a common cause to bring awareness to the issue and compassion to the cause. While we may not win every battle, no one should ever have to face the devil alone.
Happy Holidays and God Bless!