The Avery Chamber of Commerce held their annual celebration last Thursday and recognized several business and organizations.

The Nonprofit of the Year award was presented to the High Country Charitable Foundation, which has donated more than 1.5 million dollars over the last five years to organizations in Avery County.

The Volunteer of the Year award went to Talia Freeman, of Lees-McRae College and Beech Mountain Resort.

The Business of the Year award was presented to Stonewalls Restaurant and owner Scott Garland and co-owner and chef Tim Heschke.

Business Person of the Year was presented to John Blackburn. Blackburn has served in various positions in the High Country, including Linville Resorts, Board of Governors of the University of North Carolina, Board of Trustees of the Crossnore School and Children’s Home, Co-Founder and Board Member Williams YMCA of Avery County, Board of Directors Watauga Medical Center, Board of Directors Cannon Memorial Hospital, Board of Trustees Appalachian Regional Healthcare System, Chairman of the Board-Appalachian State University, and he is the Chairman Cain Scholars Program in Avery County.

The Annual Celebration also recognized three high school students who've made an impact in the community. Sophomore student of the year Josie Naumowich, Junior of the Year Noah Rosato, and Senior of the Year, Caroline Laws.