FAIRMONT, W.Va. – The Marion County Chamber of Commerce hosted its 67th Annual Chamber Dinner Wednesday night at the Feaster Center on the campus of Fairmont State University.
Members of the chamber stated this is one of the biggest events all year, where it can honor the businesses and organizations for their membership and present awards. With COVID-19, chamber officials said a lot of businesses in the area have made adjustments to their operations.
“It’s the business community that has stepped up these last couple of years, and they have been put through the mill, but they have bounced back. And, we have chamber members that have supported us year after year, after year, and they’ve made sure they’ve kept their employees, they’ve made sure they’ve kept their doors open and that is so important in a community like Marion County,” said Tina Shaw, president of the Marion County Chamber of Commerce.
Sen. Joe Manchin, D–W.Va., was keynote speaker at the dinner, and chamber officials say it is a privilege to have him speak.
“Anybody that has survived the last year and have been able to navigate, nobody knew what to expect. We sure didn’t know. But, what I think what we did, and we did right, is when this hit [COVID-19] back in March, the federal government stepped in,” said Manchin. “We did the CARES Act, put $2.3 trillion invigorating, if you will, trying to keep people from falling through the cracks, unemployment extension was up, that was $600, got a lot of criticism for that. But, the bottom line was people were able to survive.”
Manchin also said the economy was dipping into a recession in March and April of last year and came out of that within five months.
“He is right of several very important floor votes that just happened yesterday, and this morning, in the wee hours, actually, of this morning. So, as soon as they were over, he got into a car and he drove here because he said he didn’t want to miss it,” Shaw said. “With him being such an important person in D.C. right now, his time is limited, and he’s getting pulled a million different ways, and he said, Marion County is his home, and he wouldn’t miss this for the world.”
Officials with the chamber stated having new businesses in the area, as well as large and small businesses, along with family-owned businesses, giving back is what creates a growing community. Those officials said Marion County has growing communities.