September 11, 2019
Columbia Chamber Honors Judi Gatson at Annual Gala
On Thursday, October 3, 2019, the Columbia Chamber will honor Judi Gatson as the Military Advocate of the Year at the 117th Annual Gala, presented by BlueCross® BlueShield® of South Carolina.
“Each year at the Annual Gala, the Chamber highlights community members who are making a positive impact in our community,” said Carl Blackstone, Columbia Chamber President and CEO, “We are thrilled to honor Judi, and WIS-TV, with the Military Advocate of the Year award for the work she has done for Columbia’s military community and for being an important part of our region receiving a Great American Defense Community award this year.”
For the past two years, Gatson and WIS-TV have highlighted stories about local military veterans and the military community as part of their “Year of the Veteran” segments. By sharing the needs of local military veterans and bringing awareness to the struggles they may face, Gaston and WIS-TV have brought together people and organizations to build houses for veterans, raise money and supplies for Dorn VA Hospital, and helped numerous military families.
Gatson and WIS-TV’s “Year of the Veteran” initiative and their inexhaustible support of our military community helped the region earn the Great American Defense Community Award presented by the Association of Defense Communities. The Great American Defense Communities program is designed to recognize the overall support that communities and regions in the U.S. provide to service members and military families. Communities are chosen through a competitive nomination process based on community building and integration, support and collaboration, educational and employment opportunities, and family support.
“Elliott Davis is proud to join the Columbia Chamber in honoring Judi Gatson from WIS-TV with the Military Advocate of the Year Award,” says Scott McClelland, CPA, a shareholder with Elliott Davis and leader of the firm’s Columbia office. “As the spouse of a retired Army officer, Judi has experienced firsthand the challenges that the men and women who defend our country face on a daily basis, and has campaigned tirelessly to raise awareness and champion initiatives that benefit these individuals and their families. Her passion to serve and help better the lives of our service men and women and the community at large embodies the American spirit and should inspire us all to do the same.”
The Military Advocate of the Year is selected from nominations submitted by Chamber Partners. Nominees must be one who advances the mission of being “the Most Military Friendly Community in America,” participate in Chamber Military events, and strive to provide opportunities to enhance military benefits. Nominees should also volunteer and contribute to/with military related organization and work to provide workforce development and employment opportunities to veterans and their families. Past Military Advocate of the Year winners include Col. Eli Wishart, ESGR; Kevin Shwedo, Department of Motor Vehicles; Steven Mungo, Mungo Homes; Bill Bethea, SC Military Base Task Force; Maj. Gen. George Goldsmith, US Army Reserves; Dan Mann, Columbia Metropolitan Airport; and Basil Trowbridge, Courtyard by Marriot.