HAMLET — G.R. Kindley has earned yet another accolade for his service to Richmond County over the past six decades.
On Thursday, Kindley was presented with the Sheriff James E. Clemmons Distinguished Leader Award at the Richmond County Chamber of Commerce’s 40th annual gala at Cole Auditorium.
Kindley, a veteran of the U.S. Army and N.C. State Highway Patrol, is a Randolph County native. He served as mayor of Rockingham for 20 years and on the N.C. Board of Transportation for 16 years. He was also instrumental in the establishment of Samaritan Colony.
The award, which was presented by Chief Deputy Jay Childers, is named for the county’s late sheriff who passed away in 2021.
Childers read aloud a letter from Gene McLaurin — former mayor and state senator and currently head of the Economic Development Partnership of N.C. — who wasn’t able to attend.
“Since he moved to Richmond County 68 years ago, he’s worked tirelessly to make this a better community,” McLaurin wrote. “I know firsthand how unselfish and generous he has been to help many organizations and causes, often without any recognition.”
Kindley humbly accepted the award and said that he “had a lot of help along the way.”
“I just happened to be at the right place at the right time with the right people.”
WAYN A.M. owner Bill Futterer was honored with the Chamber’s Award of Excellence.
According to the criteria for the award, the recipient must demonstrate “consistent and positive contributions to the Chamber and its mission” and embody the spirit of giving “through time and resources to the Chamber, county and overall community.”
Last year, Futterer offered nearly $40,000 in advertising grants to Chamber members and has proposed to do the same this year.
“He continues not only to invest in the Chamber of Commerce and Richmond County, but the businesses that make up Richmond County,” said Denise Hallet of Vulcan Materials, who presented the award.
Futterer recently returned to Richmond County to take over the radio station purchased by his father in 1964.
During his years away, Futterer worked in Charlotte, Raleigh and Cleveland, Ohio, and has experience with the NFL and NASCAR.
“I’m one of those people that, no matter where I’ve lived … what I’ve always talked about is how wonderful it was to grow up here,” Futterer said. “And I hope we can help all of you work together so kids who are born now, in 30 years they can say the same thing.
“This is a wonderful place and we can make it work.”
Winning the Chamber’s Volunteer of the Year Award was Michelle Parrish. She serves as the executive director of the United Way of Richmond County.
Parrish was unable to attend the gala.
The Chamber was busy in 2022 with more than 20 ribbon cuttings and the addition of 38 new members.
As local business leaders mingled in the lobby, Richmond County native Erik Hawks softly performed acoustic covers. Hawks will be opening for Bucky Covington at SpringFest in downtown Rockingham on April 22.
Catering was provided by The Grille, sponsored by Hawks Builders and Pee Dee Electric. Awards were sponsored by Vulcan Materials, drinks were sponsored by Hail Mary’s Tavern, the music was sponsored by REV Federal Credit Union and DR Pharmacy was the presenting sponsor.