Santa's Secret Hands Director Credits Community For Charity Success
Darren Doyle, story and photos:
The Edmonson County Chamber of Commerce honored Mark Wardlow, Director of Santa's Secret Hands, as 2017's Citizen of the Year at the annual chamber dinner and banquet.
Wardlow was visibly surprised as he accepted the award from longtime friend and Chamber Liaison to Mammoth Cave, Mark Rich. Wardlow was asked to attend so that he could be a presenter of an award only.
"Guys, this isn't about me," he said, humbly. "It's about our community, our county, it's about you. I look around this room and see that pretty much all of you here either donate to our auction or you buy something there. It's because we live in such a great place that what we do gets bigger every year."
He went on to say that the local SSH benefit auction broke all records this year, raising over $39K for Edmonson County families.
"Our people have given over $400,000 to this cause over the last 13 years," he said. "All of that has stayed right here in Edmonson County."
Before presenting the award, Mark Rich spoke of Wardlow's generosity long before there was a Santa's Secret Hands Auction and gave several examples of how he helped many people in situations that was never publicly known.
Fittingly, Wardlow was able to present Rich with the Chamber's "Friend of Edmonson County" Award, for Rich's contribution to the promotion of tourism and economic development of Edmonson County during his 20+ years with the National Park Service.
Chamber Director Rhonda Clemmons was also recognized by the Chamber for her countless hours of helping to promote not only the Chamber and Tourism of Edmonson County, but her work in the Southern KY Film Commission, that has helped land Edmonson County it's first motion picture. Producers of the film "The Prayer Box," a film set to begin production on December 4th, were also in attendance and spoke of Clemmons' effort.
Both Jacob's Home Furnishings and Laura's Hilltop Restaurant, owned by Jeff Jacobs and Laura Jacobs (respectively), who are husband and wife, were co-recipients of Business of the Year at the event.