Retiring Chamber official ‘roasted’

Published 3:42 pm Saturday, January 24, 2009

MURFREESBORO — A Murfreesboro “who’s who” gathered Thursday evening to honor one of their own, Jennifer Moore, retiring executive director of the Murfreesboro Chamber of Commerce.

“Tonight we’ve come to recognize a person,” said Debbie Edwards, chamber treasurer and former chamber president, “a person who has done an outstanding job for the Murfreesboro Chamber of Commerce. She’s a very good friend of mine and actually, I hired her.

“She came to us from the newspaper, after 30 some years there, I believe. When she came, she said, ‘I will help you as long as you need me.’ That was between 1999 and 2000.”

Edwards continued, “I have three words for Jennifer: Dependable, knowledgeable, cheerful. She concluded, “We need you Jennifer. Don’t go away. Keep being a part of us.”

Edwards then opened the floor for others to “roast or toast” the outgoing chamber executive. Retired minister Joe McLean stepped to the podium and immediately drew a laugh when he said, “Though she displays the persona of a genteel lady, Jennifer is a lady of wickedness. She regularly brings toffee bars that are decadently delicious. One cannot resist totally ignoring one’s doctor’s directions and eating a handful of them.”

McLean concluded, “Thank you, Jennifer, for being who you are. Keep on.” Carol Piper, who operates Lafayette’s, a sandwich shop in Murfreesboro, said, “I see a different side of her – I didn’t know about her wickedness.

I hear this beautiful voice beside me in the Murfreesboro Baptist Church choir. In music she’s so wonderful. “She’s an encourager,” Piper continued. “She’s propped up so many of us when we maybe were down a little.”

Ray Felton of Metal Tech, said, “When I was president of the chamber, she always made my life easier. Heart transplant recipient Tommy Forbes of Forbes Insurance told of getting a birthday card from Moore beginning on the first anniversary of his transplant. “It started with one and now it’s up to seven.

And I look forward to getting number eight in April,” he said.

“You are a beacon of light for the chamber, for the community,” said Herman Lewis of Southern Health and Wellness.

“Every time I see you, everywhere I see you, I am always reminded what all you have done for the chamber. Thank you, Jennifer, for being there and God bless.”

Moore’s pastor, the Rev. Lee Canipe of the Murfreesboro Baptist Church, said, “One of the purposes of a chamber is to put a town’s best foot forward.

Jennifer has been a good face for the chamber of commerce and Murfreesboro… “Really,” he said, speaking to Moore, “I think you’re someone we all would like to be like.

You make the people you’re with and the places you go seem better.” “Jennifer, I appreciate all your help back when I was president of the chamber,” said Danny Blowe.

Thank you and good luck in the future.” Chamber President Dell Aycock then took the floor to present Moore with a number of gifts, the first one a homemade chef’s hat built around a protective helmet in recognition both of Moore’s love of cooking and of her once being struck on the head by a can of tomato paste. The outgoing chamber executive was also given a $300 gas card and a Willowtree nativity scene.

Taking the floor herself then, Moore, laughing, said, “I feel as though I’ve heard my own obituary. I hope someone was taking notes.” Sherry Sullens, incoming chamber executive, as she hugged Moore, told the crowd, “I have huge shoes to fill.”