Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

February 28, 2014

Richlands chamber honors area citizens at banquet

RICHLANDS, Va. — A trio of long-time community leaders — James C. Ramey Sr., Ron Allison and Buddy D. Stanley — were recognized Thursday night by the Richlands Chamber as the highlight of the chamber’s annual banquet.

Prior to the awards ceremony, Tonya Mallory, president, chief executive officer and co-founder of Richmond, Va., based Health Diagnostic Laboratory, served as keynote speaker for the event that drew a crowd of 108 people at the King Community Center on the Southwest Virginia Community College campus.

“Our focus is to diagnose health, not to diagnose disease,” Mallory said. “It’s very much proactive and preventative. We don’t have to wait on events. We don’t have to wait on type two diabetes.”

HDL has experienced dynamic growth since 2008, coming from modest beginnings and growing into a half-billion dollar business that is active in every state but North Dakota.

Ron Allison, the retired director of Cumberland Mountain Community Services recalled coming to Tazewell County in 1974 as an assistant football coach under Dave Rider of Tazewell High School, and moving to Cumberland Mountain Community Services where he served for 34 years.

“It’s been an honor,” Allison said. “Thank you so much for this honor.”

Jim Ramey, owner of the Ramey family of automobile dealerships, was recognized as the chamber’s Business Person of the Year. Dr. Joe Adair told Ramey to always remember that he was the first to be so recognized. His lifelong friend, Ralph “Moon” Mullins along with Adair shared the honor of introducing Ramey.

Ramey shared stories of his high school years, working at a gas station for 30 cents an hour, and of sending $1,500 home to his mother to save for him while he was serving in Korea with the U.S. Army. “I had two or three cars in my mother’s front yard,” he said. “I didn’t have money to waste on washing cars, so when it would rain, I would soap them up and let the rain rinse them off.”

Ramey expressed his thanks to the Richlands Area Chamber of Commerce. “It’s been fun,” Ramey said.

Stanley received the chamber’s highest honor, the Distinguished Citizenship Award. Stanley moved to Richlands from Dickenson County in 1995 and has been employed in the health care field for more than 17 years. In addition to his work with the chamber, Stanley has been active in Habitat for Humanity. He volunteered to help build the Critterville Playground and assists Santa at the chamber and at other events.

Stanley is past, present and a current member of the Richlands Lions Club, has served as chair of the Tazewell County Relay for Life for 10 years, works at the football concession stand, and has worked with a myriad of other community projects along with the local Toys for Tots program.

“He is truly a special man who thinks of others before himself,” Gene Hurst Jr. said. “He’s a man you can count on. Buddy sees a need and makes it happen. He’s very generous and humble ... A silent hero for our community.”

True to his introduction, Stanley was a man of few words. “Thank you all,” he said “I wish I had a little more to say, but I’m just a little verklempt, as they say.”

— Contact Bill Archer at

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