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Castle Rock Chamber welcomes new members, new president

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Castle Rock Chamber of Commerce President Jon Cox (background, center) speaks with chamber members Thursday during their annual breakfast get-together at Parker's restaurant. The chamber serves as a resource for local businesses to network and cooperate while supporting community events such as I Topped the Rock, the Rock and Ride, and World Harmony Run.

The Castle Rock Chamber of Commerce held a breakfast meeting at Parker's Steakhouse Thursday to celebrate a number of new members as well as an incoming president.

Part of their annual get-together to encourage community among local businesses, then-president Bill Davis allowed time for around a dozen new members of the chamber to introduce themselves, all of whom had joined since last year and included local restaurants, retailers and a an area winery.

"I've enjoyed this work," stated Davis, who was preparing to pass the torch to new President Jon Cox after serving the end of his two-year term.

Cox, who had been a chamber officer beforehand, told members he hoped they would consider him an approachable leader, and someone willing to accept differing opinions.

"We need your support," stated Cox, "but we also need your criticism."

After Cox was officially handed the gavel, a special plaque was presented to Davis and wife Eileen Davis for their service to the chamber and the community. Also recognized was Mayor Paul Helenberg as the 2014 recipient of The Rock Award, which is given by the chamber to those who exemplify volunteerism and servant leadership.

Presenter Dave Vorse, who had been given The Rock Award last year, described Helenberg as a man who has given "tens of thousands" of volunteer hours to the community during his lifetime.

"I love the city of Castle Rock," stated Helenberg after Vorse's introduction, adding he has a strong emotional connection to the city. "I thank everybody from Castle Rock. It's just a great place to live."

The chamber also announced their 2014 scholarship recipient as Castle Rock High School student Linsey Sturgill, who was given $500 toward her college education. It was reported that day around $530 has already been raised for the 2015 scholarship, and chamber members are hoping they can award two students next year.

On top of the chamber's support of community activities I Topped the Rock, the Rock and Ride, and World Harmony Run, members are being asked to help sustain the visitor's center currently located in the Exhibit Hall. While the majority of exhibits in the building have been closed down, it was reported few do remain to represent the history of the community, while the chamber is maintaining volunteers at the location to help assist tourists and those interested in what Castle Rock has to offer.

After a new visitor's center is constructed at Exit 49, which is expected to begin this fall, the chamber will staff that facility instead.

Those interested in learning more about the Castle Rock Chamber of Commerce may contact Cox at jcox@cowlitzpud.org. The chamber is meeting regularly the second Thursday of the month at 8:30 a.m. though the regular location is still being determined due to the ambiguity regarding the future of the Exhibit Hall.

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