Vicki Frazier was fighting back tears when she stood amid a crowd of about 100 people Friday night and accepted the St. James Chamber of Commerce's Lifetime Achievement Award.
Frazier, who has lived in St. James for about 12 years, said she was honored to receive the award.
"I was proud to win it," said Frazier, who says being a part of the St. James community has been a wonderful experience. "We are a community of voliunteers who work together to make St. James a better place, and I am proud to be a part of it."
Frazier, who relocated from Indiana with her husband Brad and two children, Kathleen and Ian, spent many years moving from place to place. Brad is in management at the Wal-Mart Distribution Center.
"This is one of six states that we have been in with Wal-Mart, and this is by far the longest we have been anywhere," Frazier said.
For more than a decade, Frazier has been active with CASA, Beautify St. James, the Garden Club and the Chamber, among others.
Frazier said her first experience "of professional begging" began several years ago with a fundraiser to buy new risers for the elementary school. From there, she continued to serve the community, watching her family grow along with the quaint little town they now call home.
"We settled on St. James because we loved the trees," she said. "It was such a little town and the trees made it feel friendlier. The people are friendly, and there is such a large group of people who want to keep the flavor of the town but improve it while keeping that flavor.
"There are a lot of talkers in a lot of difference places, but that's not the case in St. James. This group of people are hard workers and they always do what they say the are going to do."
Also honored at the event were Terrill Story as Citizen of the Year, The Sports Club for Organization of the Year and Forest City Footwear & Screen Print was the Business of the Year.
Chamber director Dawn Thompson said all those honored at the event go "above and beyond helping our town."