Annual Dinner

City staffer Jones honored
by Madison Chamber for his service

He is known as ‘Mr. Festival’ around Madison, Ind.

HANOVER, Ind. (February 2018) – Burke Jones moved to Madison, Ind., 40 years ago from Montgomery County, Ind., after finishing high school. He said he just liked the area after having spent many summers with his family boating on the Ohio River. Plus his grandmother and four generations of his German ancestors had lived in Madison, so it seemed like a natural fit for him.

Photo by Don Ward

Burke Jones is presented the Jeff Garrett Community Service Award on Jan. 26 at the Madison Area Chamber of Commerce’s 94th Annual Dinner, held this year at Hanover College.

He spent 20 years working at Rotary Lift. And he has served as a volunteer firefighter with the No. 1 Fairplay Firehouse for 35 years. In addition, he became very involved in various state and local fire service boards, for which he has served for 14 years.
But it is his 11 years of service doing special projects and his service as a repairman for the city of Madison – especially getting the riverfront ready for the town’s major festivals and the holidays – for which he is perhaps best known. In fact, his work driving around and setting up the city’s portable stage, and his behind the scenes activities of wiring and setting up the utility boxes up for sound and lighting earned him the nickname “Mr. Festival.”
Jones was honored for his dedication by receiving the Jeff Garrett Community Service Award on Jan. 26 from the Madison Area Chamber of Commerce. The award is named for the late Garrett, a former chamber executive director who founded the chamber’s Soup, Stew, Chili & Brew festival and also was instrumental in creating the popular Madison Ribberfest and RiverRoots Folk & Art Festival. Garrett died in October 2005 from heart complications.
“I served with Jeff Garrett for three years when he started Ribberfest until his death,” said Jones, 61. “I was one of the first people he called. Jeff was very determined to get them up and running, and he told me that I could do fire and safety and operations. It took a lot of hours and effort. But I was just a cog in the wheel because it takes a lot of people to put on these events,” Jones said

Photo by Don Ward

From left, Mary Beth Boone presents the Small Business Person award to Tony Dattilo. Boone was presented the Business of the Year Award for her Blush on Main.

Jones may consider himself just a cog in the wheel, but most others would say he is the cog in the wheel, considering his dedicated and hard work and long hours before and after these major events take place.
Considering his close friendship with Garrett, perhaps it is fitting that Jones be presented this prestigious award in his late friend’s name. “When Jeff died that night, Lisa (his wife) told me that Jeff wanted me to get up say the eulogy at his funeral. I am not the type of person who likes to speak in front of crowds like that, but I did it.”
Jones said he looked down at Garrett’s casket and joked, “You got me one more time.”
The awards were presented at the Chamber’s 94th Annual Dinner, this year held at the Hanover College’s Brown Campus Center. Chamber members, business leaders and community members gathered to celebrate the accomplishments of the Chamber, its member businesses and individuals making an impact on the community. The Chamber shared with more than 300 attendees the keys to its continued success from 2017.
The organization continued to see strong support in membership and achieved an 89 percent retention rate for the third consecutive year. The Chamber’s signature event, Soup Stew Chili & Brew, again had record-breaking crowds and revenue. More than $40,000 was reinvested into the community to the event’s participating businesses and nonprofits. Collaboration with community organizations, enhancing membership benefits and value, and implementing a strong strategic plan positions the Chamber for action in 2018. 
“The Chamber is fortunate to have business leaders as ambassadors, volunteers, and board members,” said Executive Director Lindsay Bloos. “We’re using our data, planning, and research from 2017 to spring board our organization to a bright 2018.”

Photo by Don Ward

Last year’s winner Tanya Ruble-Richter (left) of SEI Voices for Children, presents the Non-Profit of the Year Award to Ray Black, representing Lide White Boys & Girls Club.

In addition to presenting its Jeff Garrett Community Service Award to Jones, the Chamber presented four additional awards: the Board Members of the Year, the Small Business Person of the Year, the Business of the Year, and the Non-Profit of the Year. These prestigious awards are given to those who demonstrate leadership, vision, innovation, and dedication to the Jefferson County Community.
Marta Belt of Ivy Tech Community College and Jenny Darnold of German American Bank were recognized as the Board Members of the Year for their service and dedication to the Chamber.
Tony Dattilo of A. Dattilo Fruit Co. received the Small Business Person of the Year Award in recognition for his entrepreneurial spirit, dedication to his family’s business, and community support.
Blush on Main was recognized as the Business of the Year. The Main Street store has shown continued success and has given generously of its time and resources for the betterment of the community. Last year, Blush on Main owner Mary Beth Boone was honored as the Small Business Person of the Year.
The Lide White Memorial Boys & Girls Club was presented the Non-Profit of the Year Award. The club was honored because of the impact it has made on youth in the community and its efforts toward drug use and suicide prevention.
The event also marks the transition of leadership for the Chamber. Outgoing board president David Sutter, the newly named Jefferson County Prosecutor, handed over the reigns to incoming president Shaun King of Sherman, Barber & Mullikin CPAs. Other executive committee officers are Casey Goode (Madison Railroad) as treasurer and Daniel Wright (FPBH Inc.) as past president.

The Madison Area Chamber of Commerce has been serving the area since 1924. The Chamber’s mission is to provide vision, support, and resources to develop business in the Madison area.

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