Danny Antoine named 2019 Citizen of the Year

Citizen of the Year - Danny Antoine photo by Eric Haggart

The Franklin Chamber of Commerce held its Annual Awards and Installation Banquet on Thursday, Jan. 16, at The Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts.  Following a dinner prepared by Rockin Rollie Pollie’s  the following  awards were presented.

Pictured are Citizen of the Year Danny Antoine, his wife Mary and some of the children they have mentored, taught and adopted over the years. Photos by Eric Haggart
Danny Antoine was honored with the prestigious Citizen of the Year Award. Antoine is a martial arts instructor whose self-proclaimed mission is to live a selfless lifestyle. “Live for what you can give and not what you can get,” he says. He has mentored, tutored and been a friend to countless individuals through his fitness academy. He has been called a father to a fatherless generation, teaching respect for authority and manners and even going to school to help students who are having a hard day, and so much more. He and his wife Mary have adopted more than a dozen children over the years, and have opened their home to numerous others.
Laurel Klonkowski (L) was given the Duke Citizenship and Service award. Rick Westerman (R) and Lisa Leatherman with Duke Energy presented the award.Laurel Klonkowski (L) was given the Duke Citizenship and Service award. Rick Westerman (R) and Lisa Leatherman with Duke Energy presented the award.
Habitat volunteer and veteran Laurel Klonkowski received the Duke Citizenship & Service Award. Klonkowski became a volunteer with Habitat for Humanity in 2013, and has served on the board of directors and has served two terms as president. Klonkowski has built new homes and rehabbed many more for deserving families. He works side by side with other volunteers with a positive attitude, good humor and humility. “Our community is blessed to have people like Laurel who humbly work everyday to make better the lives of others. I hope that by recognizing him, others will be inspired to do the same,” reads his nomination letter.
Club or Organization of the Year – Appalachian Animal Rescue
Appalachian Animal Rescue was named Club or Organization of the Year. The club was nominated by the chamber board.
J & B Disposal – Chamber Member of the Year

Curtis Dowdle – Past President
J & B Disposal received the Chamber Member of the Year Award, who were also nominated by the chamber board.
Entegra Bank received a Legacy Award with sincere appreciation for outstanding service in Macon County since 1922
Charley Inabinet was given the Youth Citizenship Award for her involvement in school, church and community. Photo by B. Gooder
Charley Inabinet won the Youth Citizenship Award. Inabinet is involved in her school, her church and her community. She is the student body president at Franklin High School with a 4.03 GPA, and a member of the National Honor Society. She participates in her church youth group as a part of the 30-Hour Famine, Operation Christmas Child, Stop Hunger Now, mission trips, Greenway cleanup and more. She is a leader and liaison for the Noon Day Rotary and was chosen to attend the Rotary Youth Leadership Academy. As the president of the Rotary Interact Club at FHS, she has been involved in many fundraisers such as a winter clothing drive, a can drive, and polio fundraisers. Last year she started the first Powerpuff Football charity event and this year, the second event raised more than $3,500 for “Feed the Children.”
The Franklin Chamber Board of Directors was also recognized including current, new and outgoing board members. The 2019 Chamber President Curtis Dowdle was presented a plaque by incoming President Candy Presley for his efforts during the past year.
The chamber expressed appreciation to those who attended the sold out banquet.  A special thank you to the LBJ’s Culinary Department and volunteers from the SMCPA for the great job they did in servings this year’s meal.