The Hopkins County Regional Chamber of Commerce announced multiple winners of the Bill Corum Community Service Award earlier this month as Tim Thomas and Don and Mary Susan Fishman were honored.

Chamber President Libby Spencer said it is the highest award the chamber presents to an individual for their community service work. The award had been around since 1997 when Bill Corum first received the honor which later carried his name.

There is a plaque in the Chamber office with Corum’s picture that lists the names of every award winner since 1997, said Spencer. Some of the past winners include Steve Cox, Barry Eveland, First United Bank and Baptist Health Madisonville.

Chamber members, as well as community members, are nominated for the award every year, and Spencer said there are usually 20 to 30 up for consideration.

The nominees’ names and accomplishments are submitted in a letter to the Chamber and a committee reviews the letters to determine who would win. Spencer said having two winners is not unusual, but it does not happen every year.

The nomination letters for the winners — Thomas and the Fishmans — spoke on how much they have done for the Madisonville and Hopkins County community, she said. Spencer included a few excerpts from the nominations when presenting the awards.

In a letter nominating the Fishmans, the writer said “... the efforts of the Fishmans’ ripple throughout our community. Community service is more than something to do, it is their way of life. Our community is richer and better because of the work they do.”

Thomas’s nomination letter also mentioned several service projects he had been a part of in the community. Some of the projects include establishing a Neighborhood Watch Program, creating the “Not in my School” program in the middle and high schools to help law enforcement and starting the Hopkins County Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. celebration.

In Thomas’s letter, the author said, “Tim Thomas has performed outstanding service and has made countless contributions to our community. His dedication and strong community values are deeply rooted here in Madisonville, where he was born and raised. He has performed outstanding service and has made exceptional voluntary contributions to the community, and exercises strong community values and ethics.”

The award is usually presented at the Chamber’s Evening of the Star event in February along with other award winners, but due to COVID-19, the Chamber had to announce the winners virtually. Since both winners were Madisonville Noon Kiwanis Club members, Spencer presented the awards during the group’s meeting on April 2.

“We thought it would be great if we were to present it among their peers,” said Spencer.

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