Kudos, Mr. Cleveland
Feb 06, 2013 | 494 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland may have said it best when speaking recently of this year’s recipient of the prestigious Robert W. Varnell Jr. Leadership Award, one of two high honors presented last week during the 87th Annual Meeting of the Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce.

In brief, the city’s longtime administrator who is known best for his ambassadorship of our community at all levels — regional, state and national — eloquently offered, “If you want something done, give the job to a busy person.”

His words spoke volumes.

They serve as a fitting descriptive for this year’s Varnell award recipient: Cameron Fisher, coordinator of Communications and Internet Ministries for the Church of God International Offices.

But that’s just his day job.

In most corners of the community, Fisher is affectionately known as “Mr. Cleveland.” It is an unofficial title that he not only wears proudly — and humbly — but also one given to him for multiple reasons. We will mention a few, but in so doing, let us provide a few additional titles that seem appropriate for this minister of hometown might.

For instance ... Mr. Greenway, Mr. United Way, Mr. Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Rotary, Mr. YMCA, Mr. Habitat for Humanity, Mr. Museum Center at Five Points, Mr. National Day of Prayer, Mr. Westmore Church of God, Mr. Half-Marathon, Mr. Husband, Mr. Dad and soon-to-be Mr. Granddad.

When one has achieved so much for his community, it is difficult to know where to begin in recognizing such contributions. So we return to the assessment by Mayor Rowland, “If you want something done, give the job to a busy person.”

This then, is the reason Cameron Fisher last week joined Cleveland Plywood Co. president Steve Robinson as recipients of the Chamber’s top two achievement awards for 2013. As we mentioned in Tuesday’s edition, Robinson earned the coveted M.C. Headrick Free Enterprise Award for his accomplishments in business and for his array of contributions to people and their community. Both are the essence of successful entrepreneurship; that is, understanding how to grow one’s business while making it a practice to value an invaluable customer base which has made the growth possible.

Similarly, the Varnell award is also about leadership, but its focus points more to the civic side; in other words, that which concentrates on community service from a people perspective. The Chamber of Commerce has chosen no finer example of this level of personal conviction than Cameron Fisher.

For United Way of Bradley County, Fisher has served in virtually every leading volunteer position for the widely respected organization. Yet, his work is not done as he continues to support the group and is nearing the close of his one-year term as chairman. In March, he will hand over the gavel to a successor.

For the Chamber of Commerce, he has repeated many of the same leadership functions as for United Way in degree of responsibility, and like United Way, he has served in each role with full accountability while understanding the needs of business and the role of its league of patrons.

For the Greenway, he has worked feverishly for 11 years to lead the continued growth of this invaluable asset to the entire community. Recognizing the logistical limitations of the four-mile recreational trail, he has helped to launch a network of Greenway affiliates in various area schools. All are aimed at improved health and each is hosted in an appropriate setting — public schools.

Our words of admiration could go on and on and on about the tireless efforts of this community leader. But those who know Cameron Fisher already know of his value to anyone, and everyone, around him.

In our view, his quality leadership of the past has been surpassed only by his quality leadership of the present ... and this merely raises his bar of civic stewardship for the future.

We congratulate Cameron Fisher on this worthy recognition.

And, we borrow a few more words from Mayor Rowland in speaking of the honoree: “Dynamic,” “natural-born leader,” and one who “... offers new creations, new ideas and broader visions for our future.”

All are indicative of what the Robert W. Varnell Jr. Leadership Award is all about.