Chamber of commerce installs officers, presents awards

Tim McGrath will be serving as president of the Union County Chamber of Commerce in 2013.

An announcement about the organization's new president was made at the Union County Chamber of Commerce's annual meeting and banquet.

The event also was highlighted by the honoring of a business of the year, a new business of the year, a citizen of the year and the presentation of a business improvement award.

The meeting was Tuesday night, Dec. 11, at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Carroll Post No. 3455 near Anna.

More than 100 people attended the event. Current chamber president Bill Jackson presided.

Other chamber officers for 2013 are vice president Jim Cross and treasurer Melanie Lasley.

During Tuesday night's program, Jackson highlighted the chamber's many successes during 2012.

Jackson also reported that the chamber board was considering a merger with the Union County Economic Development Corporation.

Carl Dillow conducted an auction of numerous items which generated nearly $1,000 for the benefit of the chamber.

Awards Presented

The following awards were presented at the meeting:

Business of the year: Anna-Jonesboro National Bank.

After providing banking services to the communities of Anna and Jonesboro for more than 100 years, in 2007, the Anna National Bank and First National Bank of Jonesboro merged to form the Anna-Jonesboro National Bank and began a new chapter in banking services to the residents of Union County.

Anna-Jonesboro National Bank continues a tradition of meeting the needs of the region. Services extend beyond just banking financial needs.

The bank's directors, officers, employees and family members serve on many community boards and organizations, including:

The Union County Chamber of Commerce, the Union County Economic Development Corporation, Union County Counseling Service, Union County Women in Business, the Union County Fair Association, various junior and senior high school booster organizations and many youth organizations, including the Blue Dolphins swim team, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts and many team sports.

Anna-Jonesboro National Bank also believes strongly that the future of the community rests in the development, growth and encouragement that young people receive not only from their families, but from dedicated businesses which lead by example.

Anna-Jonesboro National Bank sponsors the annual Student-Parent Information Night for Union County junior and senior high school students from all four of the county's high schools.

The bank also supports the DARE program and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes in the local school systems as programs which help to guide young people down the best possible path to create a future generation with good morals and strong leadership.

New business of the year: Coffman's Martial Arts Academy, Anna.

Heather Coffman, under the training of Dr. Thomas Black, opened the doors of Coffman's Martial Arts Academy in March 2011.

Starting with only five students, the school has since grown substantially in size.

Coffman's Martial Arts trains children and adults in tae kwon do, weapons, sparring and self-defense. A women's fitness class also is offered.

In November, the school had its second annual Kick-A-Thon to raise money for Ronald McDonald House Charities. In the past two years, students have raised more than $2,000 and broke a lot of boards.

Coffman's also teamed up with the VFW to host their first veterans fish fry. The event raised money for local veterans projects. Plans are to have the fish fry every June.

Coffman's Martial Arts recently purchased the former Southern BBQ building in Anna.

The new facility is scheduled to open soon with three business/retail units and a new martial arts school.

Business improvement award: Rustle Hill Winery near Cobden.

Rustle Hill Winery, which is located north of Cobden along new U.S. Route 51, opened for business in June 2008 as a winery, with a couple of cabins and an outside bandstand.

Rustle Hill joined the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail Association in 2009. Rustle Hill added a restaurant and two more bandstands in the same year, and booked 200 separate music shows during 2009.

In 2011, a long-planned expansion was initiated.

The project expanded the winery by almost three times, adding a 1,000-square-foot kitchen, a 1,000-square-foot gallery and gift shop and balcony, a deck and patio expansions on three sides.

The project also included a "treehouse" balcony which overlooks the entire amphitheatre, winery and vineyard, with a view of Bald Knob Cross to the west.

The project also added three, 2,000-square-foot cabins and expanded on-site sleeping capacity to more than 30 people.

In 2011, Rustle Hill booked nearly 300 separate music shows. Attendance topped 1,000 people at half a dozen of the shows.

Rustle Hill is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. (longer on weekends) and can accommodate 125 people in the winery.

Rustle Hill also offers a dual-bandstand outdoor amphitheater and two outdoor bars which complement the main winery bar. The restaurant is full service. The cabins are available for many events.

Rustle Hill is moving forward as a winery, restaurant, gallery and gift shop, a concert and event venue, and a hostelry for visiting tourists. The goal is to continue to grow the tourism business in Southern Illinois.

Citizen of the year: Steve Hornbeak.

Hornbeak grew up in Tamms,  and lived for years in Tampa, Fla., and Nashville, Tenn.

About two and a half years ago, Hornbeak moved back to Southern Illinois. He bought a building on South Main Street in Anna and opened a recording studio.

Since moving to Anna, Hornbeak has started an organization called Union County Cares. Through this organization, Hornbeak hosted the After The Flood benefit, which raised more than $11,000 for flood victims.

Hornbeak has been very motivated to bring business to Anna and Southern Illinois by organizing the Shawnee Hills Jamboree, which had a concert last Saturday at Von Jakob Vineyard.

He plans to remain in Anna and stay involved in the community through Union County Cares, as well as the Downtown Anna committee which promotes the downtown area, and providing musical entertainment for a variety of

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