Three Salisbury institutions, each marking a century of community leadership, were feted in a grand social event Friday evening along the banks of the Wicomico River.
The Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce held a birthday party of sorts for itself at Green Hill Country Club in Quantico. At that same event, Perdue Farms and the Rotary Club of Salisbury joined the business leadership group in being honored with the Salisbury Award.
“I just want to thank all of you for what you’ve done over the last year -- and you at the Chamber for the past 100 years -- as we celebrate your strength and perseverance, whether it’s through super storms or pandemics, you have helped the community go forward,” said U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland.
With more than 150 attendees looking on, the senator raised a toast and presented a tribute from the U.S. Senate in celebration of the 100th anniversary and in appreciation of the Chamber’s role in fostering a thriving business community in Wicomico County.
Established in 1926 by Salisbury businessman G. William Phillips, The Salisbury Award is the community’s oldest civic award. It was created for the purpose of recognizing “service that has been the greatest benefit to the happiness, prosperity, intellectual advancement or moral growth of the community.”
The list of its previous winners is made up of the community’s most dynamic and influential leaders -- men and women who truly worked to better the community.
In presenting the award to Perdue Farms, Committee Chairman Mat Tilghman praised the foods company’s devotion to Salisbury.
“The fourth-generation of the Perdue family is now in the business, and Perdue’s contributions to our local economy and their gracious generosity to Delmarva are immeasurable,” said Tilghman. “We congratulate you on your 101 years now and we very much appreciate you being part of our community.”
In response, Perdue Chairman Jim Perdue replied: “We really appreciate it, on behalf of 21,000 folks, and one thing we do love is Salisbury, and always have.”
In awarding the Chamber, Salisbury Realtor John McClellan cited the group’s strong history.
“When I joined the Chamber about 25 years ago, I heard names that are still involved in the Chamber and community today,” he said. “I think that speaks to the legacy and long history of the things they’ve done.”
Salisbury lawyer Vic Laws III presented The Rotary Club of Salisbury with its award and lauded the group’s perpetual determination to do good and help others.
“In 1920 when the club was chartered, Rotary International thought Salisbury was too small a community to charter a Rotary Club. … But if they look at our community, we get it done in a big way. We may be small but we get it done.”