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Large crowd attends chamber meeting in Marquand

A crowd of nearly 50 people attended the April meeting of the Madison County Chamber of Commerce Thursday at Durso Hills Winery and Bistro in Marquand.

“I didn’t expect this kind of crowd,” Chamber Board President Tessa Rehkop said. “But that’s a good thing. Every month, the luncheon is growing and growing.”

Rehkop passed out new window clings for this year’s members and introduced guest speaker Amber McCutcheon, founder and executive director of HOPE. The acronym stands for Healing Our Past Experiences. According to its website (www.2TRYHOPE.com) the organization began in 2010 as a group class for victims of sexual trauma.

McCutcheon talked about her own experience with sexual of abuse, how she sought help and found there were few, if any, local resources for victims. From that void, HOPE was founded.

“I’d love to be used as a local resource and be utilized,” she said.

She discussed what the organization does and how it helps through live events, as well as presentations on various media.

McCutcheon then introduced Brandon Tull, a HOPE board member and the organization’s event facilitator.

“Amber’s heart fuels the organization,” Tull said.

He said the goal of HOPE is to “raise awareness, connect people, and promote healing.”

Tull discussed an upcoming fundraising event planned, titled “Beauty Out of Brokenness.” It is an art gallery and dinner, April 21, at Dodson’s Orchard off E Highway in Madison County.

For more information about HOPE or the fundraiser, contact McCutcheon at amber@2tryhope.com or 573-783-9268 or Tull at brandon.tull@gmail.com or 210-882-7146.

Following the guest speakers, the chamber approved a report from Treasurer Ashley Bales. In old business, Rehkop explained the City of Fredericktown would be paying for bicentennial banners in the city and the chamber would be purchasing the ones for Marquand. Bicentennial coins were paid for and will be sold at the chamber’s booth at the Azalea Festival.

Seven new members were recognized, and Rehkop said the membership committee not only works to increase chamber membership to ensure those who join get the most from their membership.

Rehkop said the April Bicentennial window decorating contest was going well, and participants can continue to decorate throughout the month.

In June, the weekly concert series already has three scheduled. They are Hunter Hathcoat, June 2, at the Vance Vineyards Tasting Room, John D. Hale Band, June 8, at the rodeo grounds, and Swamp Whiskey, June 23, at Beaver Valley Country Club.

The July 4 Optimist Club Fireworks were discussed and businesses and organizations were urged to sponsor activities throughout the day.

The chamber’s next “perk before work” informal gathering will be April 24, at the Battle of Fredericktown Civil War Museum.

The hiring event will be 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., April 25 at the Ozark Regional Library. There are nine employers confirmed to be there, and room for more. Interested employers should call 573-518-2431. In conjunction with the hiring event, the Missouri Job Center is sponsoring a resume workshop, April 17, at the library.

The chamber is also organizing a community service day with the Fredericktown High School Student Council for April 28.

The next chamber meeting will be 11:30 a.m., May 3, at the Azalea Park.

Guest speaker Amber McCutcheon, founder and executive director of HOPE, speaks to chamber members at Thursday's meeting. HOPE began in 2010 as a group class for victims of sexual trauma.

Guest speaker Amber McCutcheon, founder and executive director of HOPE, speaks to chamber members at Thursday’s meeting. HOPE began in 2010 as a group class for victims of sexual trauma.

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