On May 17, 2017 the New River Valley Regional Commission board of directors, comprised of elected officials and citizen appointees across the region, hosted a dinner event at Doe Creek Farm in Pembroke, VA to honor their award recipients. Over100 local government elected officials, state and federal representatives, and planning commission chairs were in attendance.
Woody Crenshaw, an entrepreneur in Floyd, received the Citizen of the Valley award. This award is given to a citizen within the New River Valley who has made significant contributions to the betterment of the region. Mr. Crenshaw’s tireless hands-on support, leadership and advocacy for ‘Round the Mountain, Southwest Virginia’s Artisan Network; the Crooked Road, Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail; and Heartwood all contributed to these organizations being part of a successful creative economy initiative which significantly benefits the region and all of Southwest Virginia. Mr. Crenshaw is persistent, wiling to advocate anytime, anywhere and has put a substantial amount of time and resources behind his efforts to support the creative economy, community sustainability and quality of life improvements in the region.
Mr. Bill Shelton, director of the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), received the Friend of the Valley award. This award is given to an individual or organization outside of the New River Valley that has made significant contributions to the betterment of the region. For the past 19 years Mr. Shelton has led the Department which provides community development and housing program support to communities across the Commonwealth. Mr. Shelton is a top advocate among state agency leadership for Regional Commission’s in Virginia. He perpetually supports partnerships with regional commissions through programs offered by DHCD in housing and community development that lead to job creation and economic opportunities across the Commonwealth.
Mr. Chris McKlarney, the Giles County Administrator, received the Champion of the Valley award. This award is given to an appointed or elected official within, or representing, the New River Valley who has greatly assisted communities and residents in their service to the public. Mr. McKlarney is described by staff, community leaders and citizens as being a highly creative visionary. Under his leadership impactful programs have not only launched, but continue to expand which include the Giles County Access to Community College Education program, Giles County Drug Court and Day Report, and ReNew the New river clean-up.
The Regional Commission is honored to recognize these three individuals for their contributions which directly improve the economic prosperity and wellbeing of citizens in the New River Valley.