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A funeral home, an auctioneer and Lancaster civic leader were honored at the Lancaster County Chamber of Commerce’s annual meeting Thursday night.
The chamber holds its annual meeting to honor the county’s Small Business of the Year, the chamber’s Volunteer of the Year and hand out a citizenship and service award.
Live and silent auctions are also held to raise money for chamber programs.
Business of the Year
The chamber’s Small Business of the Year is Crawford Funeral Home. The award is sponsored by First Citizens Bank.
In his remarks introducing the funeral home staff, Don Gardner, First Citizens Bank executive, said the funeral home is notable for its honesty, integrity, commitment to service and community involvement. Its employees are blessed with caring spirits, Gardner said.
The business has expanded from Kershaw to Lancaster. The Kershaw location was closed but reopened in 2007. Last year, Crawford Funeral Home expanded to an 18,000-square-foot building on West Meeting Street, on 3 acres with 12 employees. The business recently added a full-time chaplain.
The business is owned by Audrey and Glen Crawford and several family members are also part of the staff. The Crawfords’ son, Erick, made a few remarks while accepting the award for the business. Then his father took the microphone and provided one of the biggest laughs of the entire evening.
“He likes to talk,” the elder Crawford said of his son. “He’d like to be in charge.”
Then pausing for effect, Crawford said, “ We’ll give him that privilege tonight until we get back to the premises.”
Auctioneer Richard Patterson conducted the evening’s live auction that saw a Lancaster & Chester Railway train excursion for 40 people sell for $10,000, and a Jim Shore first-edition figurine go for $2,100.
But Patterson was shocked to be named the chamber’s Volunteer of the Year.
Bruce Brumfield, president and chief executive officer at Founders Federal Credit Union, handed out Patterson’s Award, sponsored by the credit union. Patterson received $1,000 to donate to the charity of his choice.
Patterson conducts auctions for charities, including the Lancaster County Council of the Arts’ annual gala, the chamber and autism fundraisers. Brumfield said Patterson is often out front, “demanding, cajoling, even pleading the community, to support the worthy cause.”
But at other times, Patterson works behind the scenes on steering committees or recruiting volunteers for community projects.
“I am as totally shocked as anything I’ve ever been shocked about,” Patterson said after receiving his award. “Now I have a problem of who I’m going to give this $1,000 to.”
“Auction it off,” someone shouted from the crowd.
James “Jim” Bradley received the citizenship and service award, sponsored by Duke Energy. Bradley has lived in Lancaster for 62 years. He’s served on the Lancaster school board during integration and consolidation of schools.
He’s served on the University of South Carolina board of trustees for 30 years and was instrumental in garnering financial support for the construction of the Bradley Arts and Sciences Building at University of South Carolina at Lancaster.
Bradley has worked over the years to guide other leaders through straight talk and keen business sense. In 1971, he was named Lancaster’s Citizen of the Year, and received a Distinguished Service Award from the USC School of Business.
Bradley said he was doubly honored by the citizenship and service award.
“I am so grateful,” he said. “Thank you for letting me be a member of this wonderful organization for the 62 years we’ve been in Lancaster.”
Shore: Pursue excellence
The speaker for the evening was renowned artist Shore, who told the crowd about the ups and downs over the years before achieving his goals.
Shore has been designing for Enesco Corp. since 2000, creating the Jim Shore line of seasonal and home accessories that are sold worldwide. His work combines elements of folk art with a vibrant color pallet applied to traditional themes.
Shore is the originator of the Pencil design, the tall stylized sculpture version that redefined cultural icons such as Santa Claus. Over the years, Shore has designed more than 3,000 Santas, one of his earliest, most popular creations.
While living in the Heath Springs area, he founded his own company, Designs Americana, to market his sculptures, and during this time, partnered with the chamber to develop the limited edition collection of historic Lancaster County sites, a 10-year relationship.
Shore urged business owners and artists to work nonstop toward their full potential and to pursue excellence. Success isn’t measured by money, he said.
“You can fail without being a failure,” Shore said. “Failing is just part of the tuition in the school of life. I happen to have a doctorate.”
Humble about his accomplishments, Shore said he’s never forgotten where he came from.
“I brag about you wherever I go,” he said. “I love all of you.”
Contact senior reporter Jenny Hartley at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (803) 283-1151