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A tribute to Charles Barnes, long time Chamber board member

By Stephanie Barrett, LWC Bonner StudentFrom Chamber Insights, October 2009

Recently I have had the opportunity to work with Columbia-Adair County Chamber of Commerce. Later in the year, there will be three members whom terms will be expiring as Chamber Board of Directors. Earlier this week, I found myself sitting down with one of these Board Members, Charles Barnes whose term will expire December 31, 2009 after serving two terms on the Board.

I thought it interesting to find that Barnes attended Lindsey Wilson College from 1951 through 1953. He told me that he really enjoyed his time at the College and was even voted "Best All Around Guy" three years in a row. And it is easy to see why, as he has a presence that puts you at ease and makes anyone feel like they have known him their entire life. Barnes, however, did not graduate from Lindsey Wilson as the College dropped his major of Agriculture. This did not hinder his desire to succeed. He became a farmer for much of his life. He went on to own a large business in Columbia known as Barnes Milling Company. Later, he became a successful real estate agent and today works in the real estate business in Russell Springs.

Barnes became involved with Chamber in 1965. At this time members numbered in the range of 40-50 in contrast to today where they number up to 214. This demonstrates the tremendous growth of the Chamber over the years. Since that time he has been actively involved serving several terms on the Chamber Board of Directors, served on numerous committees, held offices of secretary, vice president and served as President and Chairman of various committees.

For the past six years, Barnes served as the Chairman of the Agriculture Committee. When asked to explain his duties, he replied, "Anything about farming..." As Chairman of the AG Committee, he reports to the Chamber Board about activities that involve the farming industry. He said that one of the Chamber's goals is to promote agriculture by working with and supporting efforts of agriculture agencies and groups within the county that supports the expansion and diversification of agriculture products and marketing. Barnes is also an active member of the Cattleman's Association.

I asked Barnes why he felt the Chamber was important to the City of Columbia and Adair County. He pointed out the purpose of the Chamber is to promote and enhance the business, cultural, educational and civic well-being of our City and County. He discussed the many good works the chamber does in enabling the growth of the community which he details as being essential to any county and region. "Without the Chamber, our community would not have the high quality of life that we enjoy today", he said.

I inquired as to what he felt was his greatest achievement while being a part of this important organization. He points to his service of 44 years of helping to bring in businesses, working on chamber projects that adds to a higher quality of life for al citizens, and fulfilling his civic duty.

One might wonder what this ex-LWC student will do next. He simply replied, "Relaxing, backing off and enjoying life". This is not surprising coming from a man that has given so much to his community. People of Columbia should be grateful for the many good works that he has done in service to his community.

Barnes encourages those who will be filling the vacancies on the Board to be active, have a passion for the Chamber and to serve where they will be most useful. In addition to those closing remarks, he said he would like to encourage all business people in the County and individuals to take part in the Chamber of Commerce. There is strength in numbers, it's good publicity for your business and strengthens any organization. He is also proud of his associates, co-workers, specifically his long time colleague Sue Stivers.

This story was posted on 2009-10-23 14:31:06
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