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Dinner puts ‘voice’ in the spotlight

THE TRIBUNE/JESSICA ST JAMES (RIGHT) Keynote speaker Jim Thornton interviews Dr. Bill Dingus during the annual Spotlight Dinner event sponsored by the Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce. (LEFT) West Virginia native Thornton addresses event goers at the annual Spotlight Dinner.

THE TRIBUNE/JESSICA ST JAMES
(RIGHT) Keynote speaker Jim Thornton interviews Dr. Bill Dingus during the annual Spotlight Dinner event sponsored by the Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce. (LEFT) West Virginia native Thornton addresses event goers at the annual Spotlight Dinner.

SOUTH POINT — The voice of “Wheel of Fortune” came to Lawrence County at the Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce fourth annual spotlight dinner Thursday.

The event was hosted by WSAZ-TV anchor Tim Irr and special guest Jim Thornton, the game show’s announcer. Thornton is a native of Huntington, W.Va. and currently owns a home in Proctorville.

“I’m so happy to be back in the Tri-State,” Thornton said. “This all feels like an alternative universe to me. All the signage and “Wheel of Fortune” decorations to honor me, I just feel blessed.”

Thornton spoke to the crowd about his role on the show, and other jobs he has performed with his vocal talents.

“I got my start doing radio news,” Thornton said. “It’s funny because little facets of that job sometimes creep into what I do on the Wheel. So sometimes I draw from the beginning of my career. I’ve also been blessed to work on some other television shows and a few movies.”

The dinner is one of the chamber’s biggest fundraisers of the year with many of the proceeds going to scholarships for high school students in the county. Also during the dinner the chamber presented the Symmes Creek Restoration Committee with a check for $2,500 to help with the group’s project to clean the creek.

“I was happy to get a chance to do this,” Irr said. “To break away from the station for a moment and for something that is obviously for a good cause. So I’m happy to be a part of it. The work the chamber does not only enhances Lawrence County but the entire Tri-State.”

Much of the money raised at the event came via a silent auction at the dinner.

This year’s silent auction included various pieces of sports memorabilia, and vacation packages including a trip to California to see a live taping of “Wheel of Fortune.”