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Putting a face on local businesses

SOUTH POINT - For years, Jack Borders has helped connect people with the Lord. Now, he is working on a smaller scale to connect businesses with the community.

Borders, 42, was hired late last month to be the director of Greater Lawrence County Area Chamber of Commerce.

A Proctorville resident but a native of the Carolinas, Borders will focus primarily on building the chamber's membership and providing benefits for those members.

"We are working to help

put a face on local businesses but also put a face on the chamber," said Borders, a former minister who served as chaplin at St. Mary's Medical Center in Huntington, W.Va., for the past two years.

"We are also building relationships based on trust. All that we do is to expose you and your businesses as more than just a brick building."

Some of the initial focus will be to attract businesses to the group that works to promote economy of southern Ohio. Plan include some Web site upgrades, a newsletter and public awareness campaign about the businesses within the community.

"Jack will bring to the table fresh blood, fresh ideas and a full-time commitment on community outreach to make sure the needs of our small businesses in the county are well taken care of," said Dr. Bill Dingus, executive director of the chamber.

"He will add value to the chamber membership. We feel the future is really trying to add services and benefits that small businesses may not have. Collectively, we can be much stronger as all businesses stand together in Lawrence County."

For Borders, much of his mission will be to draw on the things that made him a good pastor. After graduating from Furman University with a degree in health/physical education he went on to Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Texas.

"This job gives me the opportunity to do many of the things I was doing before - meeting people, building relationships," he said. "The business side of it has been a little new but been a very interesting arena to be in."

A member of Fifth Avenue Baptist Church in Huntington, Borders has been married to his wife Sarah for almost 20 years. They have two children attending school in the Fairland School District: Drew, 13, and Joanie, 15.

Anyone interested in contacting Borders can call (740) 377-4550 or (740) 646-6282 or by e-mail at jborders@zoominternet.net.