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Chamber Honors Hand, Foust

By Robert Smith, The Leaf-Chronicle, June 24, 2015

From Left: Outgoing Chamber President Katie Gambill, Charlie Foust, incoming Chamber President Tommy Bates

From Left: Outgoing Chamber President Katie Gambill, Charlie Foust, incoming Chamber President Tommy Bates

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – Tuesday evening was a banner night for a couple of well-known local guys named “Charlie.”

Charles Hand was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award and Charles Foust was presented the Community Commitment Award as business and community leaders gathered for the annual Clarksville Area Chamber of Commerce Dinner & Gala at the Wilma Rudolph Event Center.

The Lifetime Achievement Award honors a member who has shown long-term dedication to the community and the chamber. Hand, patriarch of the Hand Family Companies, owners of Budweiser of Clarksville and a number of other businesses, wears the aura of lifetime service like a hand-crafted suit, although you’ll rarely see him in one.

“We are very honored to win this award,” the ever-casual Hand said. “The Hand Family Companies are always there to help Clarksville out with anything it needs. We would love to do more. The more you call on us the more we will do.”

Hand has endowed the Clarksville riverfront with a pedestrian bridge and Austin Peay with an improved baseball stadium in honor of his father, Raymond C. Hand. His companies also have been generous supporters of Aspire Clarksville, the Chamber and countless other civic endeavors.

The Community Commitment Award presented to Foust, owner of Clarksville Foundry, honors individuals or organizations that showcase the spirit of the community.

“I am a little overwhelmed. I appreciated the vote of confidence in the things I have been trying to do over the past few years,” he said.

Foust has served the Chamber in various offices, culminating in a term as president in 2013. Foust has long been involved in community development and downtown revitalization efforts, and currently serves as president of the Two Rivers Company, a non-profit agency that works to improve Clarksville’s riverfront and downtown.

In the night’s official business, outgoing Chamber President Katie Gambill passed the gavel to the incoming President Tommy Bates.

Gambill thanked chamber members for their support during her time as president and talked about the future of the chamber and Clarksville.

“The hardest part about planting seeds for the future is that you have to believe in the future,” Gambill said. “I believe that Clarksville has a future and everybody in this room believes the same thing. We do not volunteer our time because we have free time, we volunteer time because we believe in something better and we want to leave a mark.

“We want to plant seeds, we do it because we believe in the potential of this community and there is something better for future generations.

Bates takes over from Gambill after her two year reign.

“I am excited about the opportunity to serve the chamber this coming year,” Bates said. “Hopefully we’ll be able to fulfill the mission that the chamber has to create more local jobs, more retail growth and more growth in our local economy.

“I think the chamber is on an upswing, we have got some great volunteers a great board of directors, we have all the elements that we are going to be able to grow and have a bigger impact in the community,” said Bates.

Several other awards were presented during the gala. The Ambassador of the Year award went to Vicki Henson with Legends Bank. The Young Professional of the Year was given to Bradley Jackson with CDE Lightband.

Copyright 2015, The Leaf Chronicle, reprinted with permission. For more about Clarksville and Montgomery County, Tenn., please visit www.theleafchronicle.com

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