PARIS — The Oxford Hills Chamber of Commerce's Board of Directors announced the winners of the 2013 Business and Community Awards at the annual awards dinner Saturday night at the Four Seasons Function Hall in Paris.
“This is critical to why we're here,” Executive Director John Williams said of the annual event that drew more than 100 Oxford Hills business people and community members to recognize the work of the businesses and individuals who were recognized for their outstanding contribution this past year to the area.
For the past 36 years, the Chamber of Commerce has recognized and honored business and community members in four distinct categories: Business of the Year, Employee of the Year, Rising Star of the Year and Community Service.
The 2013 Rising Star of the Year, ServiceMaster Fire and Water Restoration of Oxford, has more than 20 employees and 16 emergency vehicles available to help clean up any damage caused by water, fire, soot and mold in a home or office building.
In presenting the award, incoming Chamber Chairman Mike Godin said he became familiar with the Route 26 business following an incident with his yellow Lab and some Easter candy.
In accepting the award, co-owner Carl Carlson said the business is "more than a cleaning company."
He talked about the work that the company also does to help people who are going through tragic events, such as a house fire.
“We help people through very terrible times,” said Carlson, who along with Steve Cox recently purchased the company. “It feels good to be able to help people.”
ServiceMaster was one of four companies and individuals honored Saturday night. Area state and federal legislators or their representatives were on hand to congratulate the recipients as they accepted their awards.
The Oxford Casino was honored as Business of the Year. The business, which opened in June on Route 26 in Oxford, was recognized for providing much-needed employment opportunities for hundreds of people in the Oxford Hills area and for giving back financially to various needs in the area.
The casino has about 420 full-time employees and has donated to a number of area community groups such as the United Way and Stephens Memorial Hospital.
The 2013 Employee of the Year was Steve Holbrook, a teacher at Oxford Hills Christian Academy. He was described as a team player who goes “above and beyond” his responsibilities. The kindergarten through grade 12 Christian academy serves about 80 students in the former Fox Elementary School building in Paris. This is the second year in a row that an educator has won the award.
The 2013 Community Service Award winner is the Responsible Pet Care staff. The animal shelter in Norway houses abused, neglected or sick stray cats and more recently dogs. Through fundraising efforts the organization has been able to purchase a much larger building in Paris that will include space for a dog park.