The Greater Fairmont Council of Churches officially joins the business world | local news
FAIRMONT – When a corporation joins the Marion County Chamber of Commerce, chamber officials typically hold a ribbon cutting ceremony at the new member’s headquarters. But what happens when the new member has almost 30 locations?
On Friday, the Chamber welcomed the Greater Fairmont Council of Churches and its member churches at a ceremony at Central Christian Church, Disciples of Christ, cementing what had previously been an informal partnership.
“Over the years we have had many joint projects with the Chamber and much of this was thanks to the work of Chaplain Donal ‘Jack’ Squires, a strong supporter and former Chamber director, so much so that the Chamber presented this in 2008 to the Rev Donal “Jack” Squires Lifetime Achievement Award,” DD Meighen said on behalf of the council. “Since then, the council and chamber have jointly supported the Christmas Toy Shop, a successful attempt to provide 10,000 toys so that every child in the county can have a worthy Christmas.”
Meighen recounted a list of events where the Council and Chamber had worked together over the past few years. Many of these were candidate forums to educate residents before voting.
One of the more contentious issues the two groups worked on together was the passage of the City of Fairmont Human Rights Commission in November 2018.
“Through all of this I have been fortunate to meet and work with Tina Shaw, the Executive Director (of the Chamber). And of course she did a great job – I could say so much, but I have to say that she embodies what I believe is a Christian lifestyle of putting her words into action and her beliefs into action.” Meighen said.
Before the start of the event, Shaw said she had to “fix a lot of fences in the Fairmont business community” after the chamber supported passage of the Human Rights Commission. She’s still convinced it was the right thing to do.
“I am very proud to represent the Chamber on some decisions that our board has made, for example the Human Rights Commission and other initiatives that we have supported because it is important that we reach under the umbrella of all business organizations” We play a very active role in Marion County and in the future of our destination,” said Shaw, who is retiring in late 2023.
After her brief remarks, Shaw passed the spotlight to MaryJo Thomas, former Marion County School board member and former chamber board member, who explained how each organization complements the other.
“I think one of the things that is so complementary to both the Chamber and the Council of Churches is that you’ve really practiced not only thinking outside the box – which is relatively easy – but also thinking outside the box to live beyond, which is infinitely more difficult,” said Thomas. “With the merger of these two organizations, anything is possible.”
Having worked in community service for most of her professional life, Thomas said she sees local churches and the Chamber helping others every day.
“They helped the people who fell through the cracks. When you partner with other nonprofits in the area, there’s nothing you can’t accomplish,” said Thomas.
“I congratulate you on the wonderful traditions of the past, I congratulate you on the things you are doing today and I congratulate you on the things you have yet to do and will achieve, because the future is bright when you focus forward.” and make things better for all of Marion County.”
Reach Eric Cravey at 304-367-2523.