Chamber to honor Coal Ladies and Bill Withers at annual gala

The Beckley Raleigh County Chamber of Commerce will honor the Friends of Coal Ladies’ Auxiliary with a leadership award and honor singer-songwriter Bill Withers at its 103rd Annual Dinner & Community Awards Gala with the theme borrowed from one of his songs, “Lovely Day.”

The event, Thursday, May 9, at the Beckley-Raleigh County Convention Center, is a red carpet affair.

The Coal Ladies will receive the Community Service & Leadership Award, given annually since 1991 to a business leader or organization that has impacted the community through excellence in business leadership and community service over a lifetime.

The chamber will recognize several other individuals for outstanding work over the years. Other award categories include: Hometown Legend, Selfless Volunteer, Mover of Mountains, Iron Pillar, Outstanding Contribution to The Arts, Partner in Education and Youth Leadership.

Regina Fairchild founded the Friends of Coal Ladies Auxiliary in 2007. There were initially 2,000 members located in West Virginia, but because of the dedicated support and positive feedback from families and individuals, the Friends of Coal Ladies Auxiliary has grown into a nationwide organization of thousands of members.

This non-profit organization, headquartered in Beckley, seeks to inform people about the importance of coal and to support coal miners and their families. Organization members are active participants in charity, supporting troops with donations of food and supplies, supporting local conservation projects, and awarding college scholarships to local students.

Social hour for the Awards Gala is at 6 p.m., dinner at 7 p.m., and the awards ceremony at 7:45 p.m.

Live music will be provided by Lady D and Mission.

Tickets are $100 per person or $125 when making a donation to the Bill Withers statue campaign. Table sponsorships are also available. Semi-formal to formal attire is preferred. Tuxedos are not required.

To reserve a table or purchase a ticket, call or email Denise at 304-252-7328 or Beckley Appalachian Regional Hospital has sponsored the event for 30 years.