Chamber cites Jones, Horizons and Eastern Shore Urgent Care for ‘Excellence’

CHESTERTOWN — Outstanding contributions to the community through commitment, innovation and leadership were acknowledged Jan. 17 when the Kent County Chamber of Commerce presented its annual Excellence Awards at Chester River Yacht and Country Club.

This year’s recipients are: Deeann Jones, Individual of the Year; Horizons of Kent and Queen Anne’s, Organization of the Year; and Eastern Shore Urgent Care, Business of the Year.

“The recipients of this year’s awards have showcased unwavering dedication, commitment, and service, leaving a positive impact on Kent County by actively contributing to our community’s prosperity and economic advancement,” Sarah King, the Chamber of Commerce’s executive director, said in a news release.

She added, “We express our gratitude for their tireless efforts and extend our sincere thanks for their valuable contributions.”

The Individual of the Year category pays tribute to an outstanding individual whose personal and professional efforts have made a lasting and positive impact on the Kent County community — whether through leadership, volunteerism or philanthropy. The recipient is someone whose commitment to the community goes above and beyond, inspiring others to follow in their footsteps.

Deeann Jones is program director of the Kent County Community Food Pantry, which experienced a 30% increase in pantry attendance in 2023. Alongside her dedicated volunteer team, she creates a warm and welcoming environment, ensuring clients shop with dignity for essential food items and household staples.

She also is the executive director of Character Counts Kent County, actively recruiting and supporting coaches and facilitating weekly character lessons in Kent County classrooms. She meticulously organizes and communicates lesson plans to coaches, providing valuable insights for effective teaching.

As a committed Character Counts coach, Jones extends her impact across all three elementary schools in Kent County. Additionally, she orchestrates and participates in Character Counts assemblies at the middle and high schools.

Beyond her educational roles, Jones serves as a deacon at the Presbyterian Church of Chestertown, supporting community outreach initiatives. Volunteering as a youth leader at PCC, Jones collaborates with Youth Pastor Caitlin Gartland in attending weekly youth group meetings.

Her dedication extends to YMCA summer camp, where she imparts weekly Character Counts lessons.

Moreover, as a volunteer for the Kent County Public School summer program, Jones continues to teach character lessons, contributing significantly to the community’s enrichment.

The nomination letter submitted by a local business leader stated that “Deeann has been an active member of the community for many years. She is one of those unsung heroes who quietly gets things done. Kent County is better because she is in it!”

The Organization of the Year award celebrates the achievements of a nonprofit or community organization that has significantly enhanced the quality of life for Kent County residents. This could include exemplary efforts in community service, education, cultural enrichment or any other area that contributes to the overall well-being and vitality of the community.

Horizons of Kent and Queen Anne’s, one of the very first affiliates of Horizons National, has provided a six-week, tuition-free academic and enrichment program specifically for under-resourced students in pre-K through eighth grade every summer since 1995.

Horizons provides academic and enrichment experiences that help bridge opportunity gaps, prevent summer learning loss, instill confidence and empower students for future successes, according to the news release.

“In 2023 alone, Horizons provided 6 weeks of happiness to 211 students in Kent and Queen Anne’s counties who otherwise would not have the opportunity to attend a summer program,” the organization’s letter of nomination stated.

The Business of the Year award recognizes a local business that has demonstrated exceptional success, innovation and positive impact on the Kent County community. Whether through job creation, economic development or a commitment to corporate social responsibility, the Business of the Year sets a standard for excellence and serves as an inspiration to others in the local business landscape, the news release states.

Eastern Shore Urgent Care, located on Church Hill Road, Chestertown, was formed in 2021.

“By offering high-quality and cost-effective healthcare services, Eastern Shore Urgent Care effectively bridges a crucial gap in our community on the Eastern Shore,” the news release states.

An endorsement provided by a local medical professional emphasized that “quality healthcare is essential for sustaining a thriving community, and Eastern Shore Urgent Care has effectively addressed a significant void in our community’s health services.”


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