Paris-Henry County Chamber of Commerce officials surprised Tony Lawrence Tuesday with an announcement that he is the Chamber Person of the Year.
Lawrence, the Paris Parks and Recreation director, had recently finished playing pickleball at Eiffel Tower Park when he learned the news.
The award dates back to the 1970s, said Travis McLeese, chamber CEO.
“Tony is the epitome of a servant leader,” said Paris City Manager Kim Foster. “He is constantly looking for ways to make our community a better place but never looking for nor expecting recognition for his efforts. He sets a great example for his staff and helps them understand why their roles are important and how they are making a difference …”
“Tony is also a doer. He doesn’t come up with an idea and expect someone else to execute it,” said Foster.
“When it comes to caring about the community, you would be hard pressed to find anyone more compassionate than Tony,” said Paris Mayor Carlton Gerrell.
“He is always thinking of ways to improve and to offer things that encompass the widest range of people. No one activity or group is more important than the next. He is always open to new ideas and projects; it’s always how can we make it work rather than ‘it won’t work.’ His calm, easygoing leadership style makes him so worthy of this award.”