Without a doubt, Nat Robertson, President/CEO of the Fayetteville Area Chamber of Commerce, and staff celebrated their 125th Anniversary in style last week at The Carolina Barn, where over 300 attendees representing local Fayetteville businesses, educational institutions, and nonprofit organizations gathered together for the Chamber's Annual Awards dinner.
Before Robertson joined the organization, the Chamber suffered from dwindling membership, a lack of relevant programming, and poor leadership.
Wow! What a difference a year makes! Robertson is breaking records in making the Chamber relevant to the business community and growing its membership. In addition, he is initiating new programs, fine-tuning existing ones, and offering many new value-added benefits to Chamber members.
His hard work and dedication manifested when they celebrated this highly anticipated event. If there were any doubts about whether our Chamber was on the right path in rebuilding and fulfilling its vital role as an advocate for businesses and community, they exist no longer.
With 15 Chamber of Commerce Achievement Awards and dozens of well-qualified and deserving nominees, it was evident that the Chamber did the due diligence needed to select the most deserving recipients.
For ample proof, you only had to look no further than the recipient of the Realtors Cup, former President of the Fayetteville Technical Community College, Dr. Larry Keen—and Mac Healy as one of three George Breece Legacy Award honorees.
Keen retired from FTCC after 16 years at the helm. The Realtors Cup is the highest honor and most prestigious Chamber award. The Longleaf Pine Realtors organizations sponsor it. It is presented to the individual who has contributed outstandingly to the Fayetteville community's economic, civic, and cultural growth.
In addition to being a great guy, that pretty much defines Dr. Larry Keen to a tee. The fifty-plus past recipients of the Realtors Cup read like a distinguished Who's Who list of men and women who positively influenced and enhanced our quality of life.
As mentioned, the other notable indication the Chamber carefully evaluated the qualifications of their honorees was naming Mac Healy as one of the recipients of the George Breece Legacy Award.
This award honors individuals who have made exceptional contributions to the Chamber and the community. No one does that better, in my opinion, than Mac. He is probably the most generous and humble servant this community has.
Undoubtedly, Mac continually goes above and beyond when it comes to investing energy, time, resources, and commitment to the Fayetteville community. He follows in his father's footsteps.
Fritz Healy was also a great benefactor to the Fayetteville/Cumberland County community. Mac is a legacy, and he will leave a legacy. Fritz Healy would be proud. As the adage says, "The apple never falls far from the tree."
Some might say that Mac should be considered for The Realtors Cup. However, he's already been bestowed that honor in 2017. Our community needs more people like Larry Keen and Mac Healy.
To all the Chamber 2023 Annual Award winners, we say "Congratulations." My singling out Healy and Keen was only to accentuate that our Chamber of Commerce is dedicated and committed to recognizing and honoring the people, businesses, and organizations making this community enjoyable and liveable.
Make sure you read the complete list of Chamber Award winners on page 8. You will see for yourself: The Chamber Got it Right!
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