It was a night of familiar faces at the Knightdale Chamber of Commerce’s annual banquet.
In addition to offering local services and goods in a silent auction, the night honored some mainstays in the Knightdale community, including Sheila Prosser, the founder of Dream Coat Ministries.
The night takes time to recognize an individual who had a “signifcant impact on Knightdale over the past year,” Mayor Russell Killen said before presenting the Citizen of the Year award to Prosser.
The chamber received three nominations for the honor: the Knightdale Kiwanis Club, Trey Hocutt of Poole Funeral Home and Prosser. She said she wasn’t expecting to win.
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“I know what the Kiwanis do in the community... and also Trey Hocutt, he is so self-giving to the community and a very compassionte person,” Prosser said.
Killen described how important Prosser’s work has been for the community. Her thrift store allows customers to buy some items and uses the money and donated items to provide people in need with free items, ranging from small home appliances like microwaves to toys for children.
“I just would prefer to be in the backlight but (the award is) wonderful and I know it will bring a lot of exposure to different ways we can help people and the way people can volunteer in the community,” Prosser said.
As her store grew, Prosser began offering more help, like free bag lunches one Saturday a month.
Dream Coat Ministries isn’t open every day, but on the days it’s closed, Prosser continues to distribute goods to those who need it.
“(The award) just enhances what Dream Coat is all about,” she said.
Right now, Prosser isn’t paid for her work. The store makes enough profit to cover rent and other expenses but Prosser has said even if the store did turn a profit, she’d likely invest it back into the store or pay one of her volunteers.
In addition to her time spent operating Dream Coat Ministries, Prosser is the team captain for the Knightdale United Methodist Church Relay for Life team, part of the East Wake Relay Committee and is the treasuer for ther Knightdale United Methodist Women group.
Prosser wasn’t the night’s only honoree.
The small business of the year honor went to Vardy Human Performance, which hosts an annual St. Baldrick’s event. The event raises money for childhood cancer research by raising money to support a volunteer shaving his or her head.
Vardy Human Performance was nominated with Knightdale Eye Care, owned by former councilman Tim Poirer, and Knightdale Pharmacy.
The large business of the year went to the Knightdale Chick-Fil-A, taking the honor over Kioti Tractors.
Influential individuals, not just businesses, were also recognized and honored at the event.
Lorrie Hargreaves of First Citizens Bank was awarded Ambassador of the Year. Chamber ambassadors serve as liasions between the chamber’s members and staff.
Former chamber director Jennifer Bryan, who held the position for 18 years, was recognized for her service to the town.
“It’s an honor and a privilege,” she said. “I loved my job with the chamber ... I have been truly blessed.”