Monthly Archives: November 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

I firmly believe that one of the secrets of true happiness is to be thankful.

Cindy Williams, Erin Huffman, Debra Edwards, Tobie Chandler

Blairsville-Union County Chamber of Commerce Staff – Cindy Williams, Erin Huffman, Debra Edwards, Tobie Chandler

Frequent reminders of the many blessings we are granted makes it hard to be anything but happy. From everyday necessitates to our individual luxuries, we all have things for which to be grateful. For the past seven years, the Chamber has been such a huge part of my life, and I am truly grateful for the opportunity to work with and for this great community. No success or happiness happens without the intervention of others, so this week I would like to publicly express my gratitude to some of the individuals who give unselfishly to the Chamber.

First, I must thank our amazing staff. Tobie Chandler and Debra Edwards are two of the most enjoyable and passionate people with whom I could ever imagine working. Their dedication to the Chamber and this community is an inspiration to me.

I am also very grateful for our Chamber Board of Directors. These individuals deserve many accolades for their volunteerism. They are the first to step up and assist when needed and dedicate a tremendous amount of time, energy, and resources for the good of our community. Our current Chamber Board includes: Rita Gunter, Chair – United Community Bank; Joe Garner, Immediate Past Chair – Southeastern Farmers Co-Op; Joey Swanson, Chair Elect – Woodmen of the World, Janet Hartman, Secretary – Blairsville Downtown Development Authority; Steve Rowe, Treasurer – W. Steven Rowe, CPA; Luke Colwell – Colwell Construction; Amy Harper – Tugaloo Home Health; Robert Henderson – State Farm insurance; Patrick Malone – The PAR Group; Kristen Stroud – Community & Southern Bank; Chris Wadle – Lamin-x Protective Films; Mayor Jim Conley; Commissioner Lamar Paris; and Mitch Griggs, Union County Development Authority.

Another group of shining stars in the Chamber are the 2013 Chamber Ambassadors. Dedicating many hours to Chamber and community projects, these individuals are an extension of our membership services and are the Chamber’s support network in so many ways. This year’s Ambassador team includes: Ginny Gurley – United Community Bank; Alan Lee – Pro Therapy; TJ Parr – Esquire Insurance; Paula Pendleton – Curves; Joe Scerbo – The Hair People; Joan Shaw – Coldwell Banker High Country Realty; Rick Siefken – Budget Blinds; Ed Turner – Vericheck; Betty Turner – North Georgia Technical College; Flip Varney – Edward Jones Investments; Cathy Wheeler – The Vacuum Store.

Finally, I am very thankful to the North Georgia News for allowing the Chamber this column as a means to connect with our member and our community. The entire team is a delight to work with as it relates to sharing community news.

To all of our members and the entire Blairsville-Union County area, Happy Thanksgiving! If we can assist with your holiday plans please call us at 706-745-5789 or explore our website at I can be reached at

Irish Splendor

Community travel trip to Ireland. Pictured: Cindy Williams

Community travel trip to Ireland. Pictured: Cindy Williams

This month, eleven local travelers returned from a wonderful group tour of Ireland, the first of its kind offered by the Blairsville-Union County Chamber of Commerce. The trip was organized as an opportunity for interested travelers to broaden and expand their horizons and challenge their perspectives. Through vacations and travel, we often begin to engage our mind in ways that stretch our imagination and almost always reap great rewards. This was absolutely the case in Ireland as well.

After joining others from the states of Oregon, Minnesota, Texas, and Tennessee, our group set off for an adventure of a lifetime. The eight day tour included stops in Dublin, Cashel, Killarney, Dingle, Cong, and Tullamore. Among the highlights of the trip were the awe-inspiring views from the 700 foot high Cliffs of Moher, an overnight stay at the magnificent Ashford Castle, two outstanding music and dance shows, a visit to St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and numerous opportunities to explore the local shops, restaurants, and pubs.

The Irish culture is one of loyalty, gratitude, and hospitality. In the southern part of the country, where we toured, the site of an Irish flag is not uncommon and there is no shortage of Irish coffee, Celtic symbols, or St. Patrick souvenirs. The amount of pride they appear to take in their heritage is admirable. The locals also seemed very grateful for tourism and the positive impact it has on their economy. Through this gratitude, their hospitality shined. Many in our group were offered assistance in navigating the cities and towns simply because we were observed studying a map!

After having experienced international travel this year, I highly encourage those who are able to take the opportunity to experience the world. For me, many things have changed. I am more enlightened and educated as to the cultures and customs of the places I’ve traveled, and I am inspired to appreciate new things. However, one thing never changes. I am always happy to return to what I consider the most beautiful and perfect place in the world, right here in Union County.

If you would like to be informed of future travel opportunities through the Chamber, please contact our office at 706-745-5789 or me directly at   You can see photos from this year’s trip on the Chamber’s facebook page.