B.R. Williams, Inc. recognized for community commitment during annual Salem County Chamber of Commerce banquet
A family-owned business which has made great efforts to help their community and their country over the past year was recognized on Thursday during the Salem County Chamber of Commerce’s annual banquet as the county’s Distinguished Citizens of the Year.
B.R. Williams Inc., a family-owned and operated bus company headquartered in Alloway Township, was surprised with the award during the chamber’s Spring Banquet, held at the Centerton Country Club in Pittsgrove, for their commitment to Salem County — and for going above and beyond to assist the victims of national tragedies.
“This company has won many awards for excellence in service, but the company’s humanitarian efforts are what we are recognizing this evening,” said Cris Humphreys, chairwoman of the board for the Salem County Chamber of Commerce.
“When tragedy struck the region, the owners, management and staff members answered the call. This company led the charge and created an avenue of love and support, and encouraged the participation of hundreds of Salem County residents.”
After Hurricane Sandy devastated seashore communities back in October, many Salem County residents expressed a desire to help provide aid to the victims of the storm.
B.R. Williams stepped up by organizing a “Stuff the Bus” campaign to collect dry goods, clothing, perishables and ice. The company had thousands of participants and collected 17 busloads of goods, which they then delivered to Point Pleasant.
Then in December, following the tragic school shooting in Newtown, Conn., B.R. Williams again stepped up and donated a bus to bring Salem County students and residents to attend the funeral of a local Salem City teacher’s mother — who was one of the victims of the shooting.
B.R. Williams has also participated in the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life for the past 10 years, raising awareness and raising more than $50,000 to benefit cancer research.
Upon receiving the surprise award, company owner Chloe Williams Robins said the recognition was an honor for a small, family-owned business.
“We cannot thank the chamber enough for this honor,” said Robins. “Our little family-owned business never expected to be honored and recognized like this.”
Robins also credited her company’s staff for their efforts, and for caring enough to organize the humanitarian initiatives.
“There are unbelievably good people that surround us and make it easy for us to do what we do,” she said.
B.R. Williams also received certificates of recognition from the Salem County freeholders,
Third District Legislators, and Congressman Frank LoBiondo for their efforts.
The Spring Banquet — formerly called the Shad Banquet — has been a traditional event for the chamber and its members for 45 years. While the banquet has grown and evolved over the years, the honoring of a distinguished citizen has remained a consistent focal point for the event.
“This is my favorite event of the year, because we get to award our distinguished citizen and it’s a kickoff to the fundraising season,” said Jennifer Jones, executive director for the chamber of commerce. “Honoring a distinguished citizen has been a 45-year tradition for this event.”
A crowd of around 230 chamber members, elected officials, and individuals from the community attended this year’s event.
During the banquet, the chamber also recognized the fundraising efforts of the Salem County K9 Association, a non-profit group which helps to offset the costs associated with caring and outfitting law enforcement dogs. The group also conducts educational demonstrations of the dogs for the community.
The chamber recognized the K9 Association for their work in helping to keep Salem County safe.