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News Story
Updated: 01/29/2014 08:00:03AM

Jordan named Harris award winner

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Les Jordan thanked the Chamber and the Bartow when he won the George W. Harris Jr. Leadership Award representing a showing of community service to the city.


Incoming Chamber President Myrtice Young smiles as she is introduced as the new president by outgoing president Lea Ann Thomas Saturday night.


The founders of the Leadership Bartow class were remembered and given plaques Saturday night marking the 30th year of the program in which 365 people have taken part. Those present Saturday and awarded were, from left, LaVerne McCall, Carolyn Simpson, Mayme Burdin-Clark, Howe Wallace, Al Holland, Jim O'Conner and Frank Johnson.


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Lennon Jordan took the stage to accept the Bartow Chamber of Commerce’s biggest award Saturday night at its annual banquet and without flash.

Those were the words last year’s winner Mike DeNeve used to describe Jordan Saturday, Jan. 25, when giving him the George W. Harris Jr. Leadership Award. The award, named for the late former Citrus and Chemical president, recognizes someone in Bartow who has championed community leadership and volunteerism,

“He is more of a ‘roll up your sleeves and get it done leader.’ In fact, the only thing flashy about Len is his tuba,” DeNeve said. “If there is a bigger cheerleader for the community of Bartow (than Jordan), I’ve never met him.”

When Jordan took the stage and accepted the award, he said he was honored by the Chamber and the citizens who voted for him and stepped down.

But his resume speaks for itself.

He was a member of Leadership Bartow’s first class in 1984. He and his wife have for years participated in organizing Friday Fest. He served eight years on the Polk County Code Enforcement Board, and seven years on Bartow’s Building and Housing Board of Appeals. He’s been the Young Engineer of the Year. He won the Outstanding Technical Achievement Award.

It continues. Jordan was on the technical advisory committee at Gause Academy. He has served for 30 years in the Mayor’s Prayer Luncheon. He has been a member of First Presbyterian Church for 40 years and has been a board trustee. He has been in the Bartow Breakfast Rotary Club. He is a member, of course, of the Greater Bartow Chamber of Commerce.

Another highlight of the evening was the change in Bartow Chamber of Commerce’s president. Outgoing President Lea Ann Thomas turned over her leadership to Myrtice Young who will take over as the 73rd president. Citing that the Chamber in Bartow was created in 1887 and is one of the oldest chambers in Florida, it is filled with a history of its own, said Young.

“And as you all know, I’m all about history,” said Young, executive director or the Polk County History Center.

She said that Bartow Chamber has prided itself on boosting economic development and on civic pride. For her year at the helm she pledged “to strive to continue that proud tradition at the Chamber.”

An honor was also given to the eight people who started the Leadership Bartow class. This year marks the 30th year the program has been in service.

Established in 1984, its purpose is to enhance the civic participation of emerging leaders in Bartow. The class lasts two years and it helps those in it develop leadership skills, foster understanding of issues, improve communication among leaders and motivate them to volunteer participation in civic activities. Since it’s inception, 365 people have gone through the program.

The eight were given an honorary diploma from the Chamber. Those present to accept the diplomas included LaVerne McCall, Carolyn Simpson, Mayme Burdin-Clark, Howe Wallace, Al Holland, Jim O’Conner and Frank Johnson.

Other founders who were not present Saturday were also remembered and included Andy Anderson, Dr. Tom McMicken, Ernest Smith, Bill Stuart, Dick Till and Don Wilson. Those who had passed away were George W. Harris Jr., Tim Murphy, Joe Shaw and Harry White.

In another award, Chamber Executive Director Jeff Clark thanked organizations that helped the Chamber start its quarterly magazine last year. Specifically awarded were the four agencies and businesses that bought the cover for each of the first four issues in 2013.

Those were the City of Bartow, Madrid Engineering, Bartow Ford and Stingray Chevrolet.

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