Chamber officials celebrate 100th anniversary

Chris Thelen/Staff
Incoming Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce Chairman Don Bailey (right) receives a gavel from past Chairman Walter Dukes during the meeting at the Augusta Museum of History.

The Federal Reserve. The state of New Mexico. The zipper. Plastic.

Augusta's chamber of commerce is older than all of those, and on Friday it celebrated its 100th birthday at the Augusta Museum of History with a "passing of the gavel" ceremony and presentation of an inaugural community service award.

Approximately 400 officials and business leaders watched 23 former Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce leaders from the past four decades pass the ceremonial gavel around the museum's rotunda to the 2008 chairman, Don Bailey.

"Tonight's event was a significant milestone for our chamber of commerce," said Mr. Bailey, the president of The Augusta Chronicle. "For the last 100 years, the Augusta Metro Chamber has served its mission through leadership and vision and we commend the organizations and individuals that brought us to where we are today."

The event was capped off with the presentation of the inaugural Lester S. Moody Award of Excellence to R. Lee Smith Jr., the president and chief executive officer of The Community Foundation for the Central Savannah River Area.

The award recognizes individuals who have "given their time and expertise in making the Augusta region a better community."

Reach Damon Cline at (706) 823-3486or