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136 Second Street, Suite 500
Henderson, KY 42420

Chamber News

Henderson recognized 10 times in magazine's 'Best in Kentucky' awards

HENDERSON, Ky. - The community has a lot to be proud of, and Kentucky Living magazine's annual "Best in Kentucky" awards announced at the Kentucky State Fair on Thursday proved that in a big way.

Henderson businesses, events and attractions pulled in 10 honors, ranking from first to third place.

The most notable win: This is the W.C. Handy Blues & Barbecue Festival’s fourth year in a row to take top honors in the event or festival category.

Having celebrated its 29th year in June with big name blues performers like Chicago Plays the Stones, Southern Hospitality, and Ruthie Foster, the Handy Fest volunteer committee is already full steam ahead for planning year 30, which is scheduled for June 17-20, 2020. 

Henderson's list of 2019 "Best in Kentucky" honorees includes:

  • First Place, Event or Festival – W.C. Handy Blues & Barbecue Festival
  • Second Place, Winery – Farmer & Frenchman Winery
  • Second Place, Museum – Audubon Museum & Nature Center at Audubon State Park
  • Second Place, Beer – Henderson Brewing Company
  • Second Place, Farmer’s Market – Henderson Farmers Market
  • Third Place, Hamburger – Metzger’s Tavern
  • Third Place, Pizza Joint – Rockhouse on the River
  • Third Place, Barbecue – J&B Barbecue & Catering
  • Third Place, Arts & Crafts Fair – Lions Club Arts & Crafts Festival at Audubon State Park
  • Third Place, Down Home Restaurant – Hometown Roots

The winners and finalists of Kentucky Living magazine’s ninth-annual Best in Kentucky Awards were officially announced at a live awards show at the Kentucky State Fair in Louisville.

Winners and finalists will also be recognized in the September edition of Kentucky Living magazine, which focuses on travel and tourism throughout Kentucky.

“This year’s winners and finalists from Henderson are without a doubt pillars within our tourism economy —  local hot spots and events that showcase the best that Henderson has to offer our visitors,” said Abby Dixon, executive director of the Henderson Tourist Commission.

Henderson is once again in the spotlight on the statewide stage, and we couldn’t be more proud of our friends and neighbors who have been recognized.”

For more information about the Best in Kentucky awards, visit www.kentuckyliving.com. For more information about local attractions and events in Henderson County, contact the Henderson Tourist Commissions at 270-826-3128 or visit www.hendersonky.org.

Russelburg BryanBryan Russelburg has been a Business Development Specialist for Heritage Federal Credit Union since May 2017.  During that time, Bryan has been responsible for developing, building and managing relationships with HFCU members and with the communities that HFCU serves.  Since Bryan is a Henderson native and continues to make Henderson his home, he has been integral in HFCU’s outreach to support Henderson and surrounding areas through organizations such as Kyndle and the business members they serve.  Bryan’s current focus is with area businesses and helping them to manage their operations through sound financial tools and advice.  
Bryan holds a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from the University of Southern Indiana in Evansville, IN and has also served as an officer in the Indiana National Guard.  
David Milligan, CIA, CUREME, President and CEO of Heritage Federal Credit Union stated, “We congratulate Bryan on being chosen Ambassador of the Month at Kyndle.  Bryan’s experience in building and managing community relationships has been important in helping us to serve our local communities.”
Heritage Federal Credit Union is proud to be a part of the Henderson community.  We look forward to bringing products and services that help our members to succeed in achieving their life goals to all of our friends and neighbors within the Henderson community and outlying areas.  We just introduced a KASASA free checking product that offers checking accounts with either high yield cash, cash back rewards or tunes rewards.  For more information go to  https://www.hfcu.info/kasasa . 

The scholarships can be used for tuition, fees, campus housing, textbooks, computers, school supplies and other costs directly related to the recipient’s education. Scholarships are paid to the recipient after the Henderson Chamber of Commerce receives proof of full-time college enrollment in the fall and/or spring semester(s), along with receipts showing the student has paid for eligible expenses.

Award Recipeients were:

Hadley Alexander - Henderson County High School CTE
Parents: Tony Alexander and Chelsea Pruitt
Future plans: Attend Henderson Community College for two years going into computer science and will further her education at the University of Evansville.
Currently working at: H & K Power in Henderson
Hobbies: Riding horses

Brylee Richards - Central Academy

Parents: Donald Stapleton and Debra Stapleton
Future plans: Attend enderson Community College for nursing
Currently working at: Dairy Queen
Hobbies: Art and Music

Christy 2019Christy has had her Real Estate license since 2012 and has progressively sold more real estate each year, becoming a multi-million-dollar producer. Continuing her education to stay at the top of her field, she has earned the GRI (Graduate of Realtor Institute) and CRS (Certified Residential Specialist) certifications. She is co-owner of Collier & Company with her husband, Jim, and has been for the past 40+ years.
She contributes her success directly to her faith in Jesus Christ. He sends Christy the clients and she takes care of them. Christy has a passion for Real Estate and people. Her business has grown successfully and consistently thanks to the repeat business of happy clients and their introductions to family, friends, and neighbors.
Christy has lived in Henderson since she was in high school when her family relocated here from Illinois. Her family made several moves and she went to 3 high schools. Because of this, she has a greater insight into people relocating and understanding how difficult moving can be. Having lived in the north and ending up in the south, Christy says this gives her an effective combination of Southern charm and Midwestern work ethic. She likes to work hard (for her clients) but does so with a calm demeanor and a smile.

MAY 6, 2019
The Chamber of Commerce recently recognized outstanding educators in the community that have made an impact on student achievement. Recognition was divided in four (4) categories.

• Veteran (Experienced) Educator – an educator who has taught for more than five (5) years in Henderson County. ( currently employed as an educator)
• Rookie Educator – an educator who has taught less than five (5) years in Henderson County.
• Post-Secondary Educator – an educator who teaches at the post secondary level in Henderson County
• Education Supporter – a person who may or may not work for the educational system that has provided direct educational support and encouragement to students to enhance student educational attainment in Henderson County.

The award winners were presented with the award at their school during an assembly with staff and students. The award winners will also be recognized on individual billboards located in Henderson County during the month of May.
The following persons were recognized for their outstanding contribution to education in Henderson County.

Brian Sullivan 2
Brian Sullivan – Henderson County High School Math Teacher
2019 Veteran Educator of the Year
Quotes from nomination letter: “Mr. Sullivan is simply the best teacher I have had the privilege to know. He works tirelessly to ensure that his students are fully challenged in their math studies. Mr. Sullivan is an extremely intelligent man and by example, he has convinced these kids that “smart = cool.” I believe that Henderson County High School , its students and our entire community are blessed to have him as a teacher, coach, mentor and role model. He genuinely cares about all of his students and strives to make them all smarter, more responsible and better people.”

Reid Thomas teacher one
Reid Thomas – East Heights Elementary Fifth Grade Teacher 
2019 Rookie Educator of the Year
Quotes from nomination letter: “ Mr.Thomas spends many hours outside of school time adjusting his curriculum to fit each individual child’s needs. He spend many summer hours developing a challenging and comprehensive reading program not only to bring his struggling readers to grade level but to challenge his proficient readers as well to new levels of engagement.”

Tony Fanok
Tony Fanok – Henderson County High School - Attendance Specialist
2019 Support Educator of the Year 
Quotes from nomination letter: “Mr. Fanok has impacted student achievement in many ways. He was the first school resource officer in Henderson County. He was with the police department for 22 years and has been with the Henderson County School system for 12 years. He was on the forefront of the safe school initiative. Tony just has a way about him. Tony has the ability to bring people together regardless of circumstance and make them feel special. Not only does he help student while they are students, they know they can come back for help in attaining jobs.”

Kara Becker
Kara Becker – Henderson Community College – Associate Professor of Chemistry 2019 Post Secondary Educator of the Year
Quotes from nomination letter: “Ms. Becker is one of those great instructors. When you walk into her classroom she always makes you feel welcome. She encourages all of her students. She has a noticeable passion for what she does. Students’ call her “Becker.” They have since high school when she taught at HCHS, and it carried over to the college and it is truly an endearment. While many students show trepidation about taking college chemistry, they always leave “Becker's” classes feeling good about their accomplishment. Kara is more than a teacher, more than a chemist, as an advisor as well, Kara inspires her students.”

Thank you to our sponsors for the 2019 Educator of the Year awards:
• Pittsburg Tank and Tower
• Alexander, Thompson, Arnold CPA Firm
• Independence Bank
• Evansville Teachers Credit Union