Jason Vansell, from left, was recognized as Educator of the Year; Willie Buckingham Volunteer of the Year; and Brice Lake Business Person of the Year by the Versailles Area Chamber of Commerce in a ceremony Saturday, June 5 at Dale Hollow Winery in Stover.
(photo by Bryan E. Jones)
The Versailles Area Chamber of Commerce, at their annual dinner and awards ceremony Saturday, June 5 at Dale Hollow Winery in Stover, presented their picks for three community awards.
At the end of a home-style meal, catered by Mary Ella Zimmerman, representatives from the chamber board presented the three annual awards: Volunteer of the Year, Educator of the Year, and Business Person of the Year.
Volunteer of the Year
Volunteer of the Year honors went to Willie Buckingham, founder of Love Light Coffee Shop in Versailles, which serves as a hub of Christian ministry to, in particular, girls and women who are struggling with addictions and/or who have recently been incarcerated.
“If we make a difference to one person, we’ve had a good day,” Buckingham said. “Somebody who loves people has to be there.” She then thanked all the people who have been there with her to assist these young women, from volunteers, to judges, and the prosecuting attorney.
Buckingham has been desribed as unselfish, full of compassion and mercy, and sincere in her faith.
Educator of the Year
Jason Vansell was honored as Educator of the Year for his unique and innovative approach to teaching history and motivating students.
He has served 18 years on staff at Versailles High School and helped students step out of their comfort zone through completing history projects which include research at the local newspaper office; interviewing primary sources; making presentations; conducting historical tours of downtown Versailles for out-of-towners; and actively participating in Sons and Daughters of History, a hands-on high school history club.
“I love history,” Vansell said. “All I do is help students find something they like and research it. They do the rest.”
Business Person of the Year
Recipient of the Business Person of the Year award has been largely responsible for moving the Chamber of Commerce forward the last several years, Brice Lake. He has shown dedication to the community as Apple Festival chairman. He has demonstrated compassion in a pandemic by opening his grocery store, Save-A-Lot, at special times for the elderly to shop. He also instituted the Petals for a Purpose program, delivering flowers to those in area nursing homes.
He has helped propel the Morgan County forward economically by pursuing certification as a “Work Ready” county.
“I just wanted to be there for the people of Morgan County,” Lake said.