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Getting involved, staying active

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Outstanding chamber member has given back to organization

By Stephen Lega

Kandice Engle-Gray joined the Marion County Chamber of Commerce in 2002 thinking it would help her and her law practice.
“Originally, I thought it would be a great way for me to meet the other business owners in the community and other people in the community,” she said.
The next year she was asked to join the chamber’s board of directors. She agreed to do so, although she admits she didn’t really know what she was getting into at the time.
Since then, she has served on the chamber’s board of directors, including a year as the chamber president and remained active and involved in the organization.
Engle-Gray was also one of the co-founders of the chamber’s It’s 5 O’clock Somewhere gatherings, and she still attends them whenever her schedule allows.
In addition to her work with the chamber, in her private practice and as the attorney for the City of Lebanon, Engle-Gray also serves on the board of the Marion County Good Samaritans, a local organization started by Debbie Higdon to provide financial assistance to families affected by cancer.
And this year, she was named the Outstanding Chamber Member.
“Kandice show’s a lot of dedication that a lot of people don’t really,” said Stacy Mattingly, the chamber’s executive director.
Mattingly said Engle-Gray continues to show support by attending chamber events and volunteering to help in a variety of ways.
“She has a busy schedule, but she always makes time for the chamber,” Mattingly said.
Engle-Gray, 44, was born in Boyle County. She moved to Lebanon in 1991, and lived here for about a year before enrolling in law school at the University of Louisville. After completing her law degree in 1996, she returned to Lebanon to start her practice.
She opened her office in 2001, and joined the chamber the next year as a way to show her appreciation to Marion County.
“It has embraced me and my dream to run a business and to live here. And I feel inclined to give something back to it, and hopefully to help others have that same experience,” Engle-Gray said.
By joining the chamber, she did get to know more people in the community, but she also gained a better understanding of everything the chamber does. She also said most people don’t realize how much effort it takes to put on events like the Farm, Home and Garden Show and Ham Days.
“You have a really broad section of the community that comes together one weekend to do some amazing things,” Engle-Gray said.
Of course, the chamber’s primary purpose is serving the local business community, in part by representing Marion County at various state functions. She added that the chamber brings together businesses, as well as other organizations like the extension office, the tourism office and economic development office.
“The chamber serves as a clearinghouse for varied groups and civic organizations,” Engle-Gray said.
Mattingly was quick to compliment Engle-Gray for her continued willingness to help the chamber however she can.
Engle-Gray downplayed her role, saying that she has served on some ad hoc committees and that she and her staff have helped when they could.
“Nothing grandiose, just simple stuff,” she said.
And for the foreseeable future, she intends to remain an active member.
“I wouldn’t continue to be involved with it and support it if it wasn’t a worthwhile proposition,” Engle-Gray said. “The chamber does a lot to support the community.”