Member Spotlights

Chamber Member Spotlights

Leadership Paulding 34 Graduation - June 6, 2024
Pictured l-r: Stacy Hamby-Paulding Chamber of Commerce President/CEO, 2024 LEO Award Recipient-Danny Plunkett-White Ash Realty, Leo Parker-The City of Hiram, Brandon Test-Paulding Chamber of Commerce Chairman

The Paulding Chamber of Commerce has established an annual award for their Leadership Paulding program to honor the precedence that LP 32 alumni Leo Parker set while a participant. The prestigious LEO Award is an accolade that stands as a symbol of Leadership, Excellence, and Outstanding contribution. Each letter in "LEO" represents a core value that Leo Parker set as a standard and that we now hold in the highest regard:
L for Leadership: The ability to inspire, guide, and drive progress through vision and integrity.
E for Excellence: The relentless pursuit of the highest standards, setting benchmarks for others to follow.
O for Outstanding Contribution: Making a significant impact that resonates and uplifts their classmates and community. This year’s recipient of the LEO Award embodies all these same qualities.
Congratulations to Danny Plunkett, Leadership Paulding 34 graduate, for being the recipient of the 2024 LEO Award. He demonstrated exceptional leadership, guiding his team through challenges and toward success with unwavering determination.

DID YOU KNOW?
Jess Rousey Honoring Heroes Foundation, Inc.

Founder – Samantha Rousey Glass
• Samantha has had a lifelong concern for the safety of law enforcement and fire/rescue teams seeing childhood friends choosing these professions and the tragic loss of one of those friends.
• In 2018, as President of the West Cobb Business Association, she became actively involved as an advocate and supporter.
• The nonprofit was established in 2021 in memory of her father, Jess Rousey, her personal hero.
• She performs regular embedded accompaniments and training with multiple agency Crime Suppression, Tactical and Drug Task Force units across several local jurisdictions and is a graduate of several police citizen’s academy programs to help bridge the gap between public safety and the community with personal experiences.

Mission
• “To provide advocacy, support, and appreciation opportunities that honor local heroes who protect and serve our communities through their dedication to public safety while strengthening relationships between the community and public safety.”

Team
All non-compensated volunteers
• Board of Directors – 5 private citizens and 5 public safety personnel.
• Advisory Board – 7 first responders who represent partner agencies.
• Multiple Ambassador Volunteers.

Events
• May – National Police Week – Providing appreciation packages, serving nearly 2,000 law enforcement heroes across multiple county and city agencies, including K9s units.
• June Fundraiser- Hot Rods for Heroes ™ Car Show and Community Festival
• July – “Honoring SWAT” month
• August Fundraiser - Jess Rousey Golf Fore Heroes ™ Charity Tournament

Fundraiser Results
• Delivering meals & care packages to fire and police stations; honoring acts of merit and valor; donated the new fallen K9 memorial for Paulding Sheriff’s Office; donations of training and safety equipment; supporting first responders & their families in time of need or crisis; Blue & Gold Honoring Heroes Gala a free event honoring 300 first responders; providing Christmas & other holiday parties; donations to multiple Cadet programs; donations to K9 programs; creating a Serenity Suite for 911 dispatchers.

Recognition
• 2021 and 2022 Citizen of the Year & Civilian Spotlight Award from Cobb County Police Department
• 2021 and 2023 Powder Springs Police Community Partner Spotlight
• 2022 and 2023 Support Partner Appreciation Award Paulding County Sheriff’s Office SWAT Team & Special Ops
• 2023 Nonprofit of the Year for the Paulding County Chamber

DID YOU KNOW?
CASA Paulding, Inc.
Paulding Chamber of Commerce Member Since August 6, 2001

• CASA stands for Court Appointed Special Advocates
• The National CASA organization was founded in 1976 when Judge David Soukup from Seattle, WA began a local volunteer advocacy group for children who were facing family trauma, foster care, or adoption. It was emotionally too difficult for him to decide on the fate he would decree for the children brought into his court. He wanted additional information from those who were involved in the child’s life.
• CASA Paulding was formed in 1995 by Frederick (Fred) J. Fox and his daughter, Deirdre “Dee” Fox Morris. The mission of CASA Paulding is to recruit, screen, train, and supervise volunteer advocates to speak in court for children in foster care.
• Has an ongoing need for volunteers to advocate for the best interests of children who find themselves in the court system because of abuse or neglect. Most Paulding children in foster care are placed outside of Paulding County – as far as Augusta, GA! They have been pulled away from their families, friends, schools, etc. and a CASA advocate is a person who can help provide encouragement, reassurance, and stability.
• In 2023 – 32% of the children with a CASA volunteer were unified with parents who completed a court case plan; another 31% found permanency with a loving adoptive family.
• CASA Paulding often works with other community agencies- CASA volunteers work with DFCS case managers to gain information about the needs of the child; in some cases the Paulding Child Advocacy Center does a forensic interview; Paulding Family Alliance is court appointed to supervise family visits; Paulding RCO assists with peer support and resources for addiction situations; therapists and other professionals are available for counseling. CASA Paulding attends all court hearings, reports findings, and makes recommendations for the best interests of the child.
• Jean Dudley, CASA Paulding Executive Director; over 30 years as an educator and founder of a nonprofit after-school program for at-risk children; 1 year at CASA Paulding with a strong and dedicated staff.
• Support for CASA Volunteers – restaurant gift cards like McDonald’s or Chick-fil-a to provide a meal at the child visit; gas cards (33,000 miles driven by volunteers); provide lunch for volunteer support time – “Meet, Greet, and Eat”
• Fundraiser on July 20, 2024 – “Iron Order Motorcycle Club Ride”, sponsorships are needed. Contact jean@jdudley@casapaulding.org
• Volunteer information - www.casapaulding.org; or email CASA Paulding at casapaulding@casapaulding.org; Office 770-505-0065 for more information.

DID YOU KNOW?
The Southern Historical News, Inc.
Paulding Chamber of Commerce Member Since March 8, 2002

• Started as the Tri-County Shopper for Cobb, Paulding and Douglas Counties with owners, Jim & Beverly Rogers, and partner, Leon Withers, in 1980
• Changed to a newspaper focusing on the history of Paulding County a year later.
• Is now printed in 10 states with a total of 76 different newspapers.
• No ad is paid for until the papers are printed and delivered by truck to you.
• 3 drivers pick up the papers; drive to the destination; hand deliver the number of requested papers to every advertiser; bring the invoice; collect the payment; and return home. The papers are also delivered to local Chambers, libraries, museums, etc. for the public to pick up for free.
• There has been only one ad price increase in over 40 years.
• Articles are submitted from local families, historians, Chambers, and staff research.
• At this time there are 3 papers printed each week but have started increasing to get back to 5 per week.
• Only 3 staff members build the ads and the entire paper to be ready for printing.
• Some papers are printed and distributed only twice/year; some 3 times a year.
• Jane Eberle, the General Manager, began her career with the paper at age 17 as a student under Janet Peppers, the VOT teacher (Vocational Office Training); was only allowed to write and build ads for the first 6 months; and only then was allowed to touch any of the files! Mr. Rogers had very concise and organized guidelines as to how everything was to be run.
• Mike and Wayne Rogers have maintained the legacy of their parents. Watch for poems written occasionally by Mike!