Chamber of commerce guest speakers

The Philip Chamber of Commerce, in its regularly scheduled meeting Monday, September 13, entertained several guest speakers. Terry Henrie had recently been on a National Guard medical relief mission to Haiti. Henrie's position as a physicians assistant in Philip is almost a different world from the medical and financial poverty he witnessed in hurricane- and earthquake-ravaged Haiti.

While projecting pictures through an overhead projector, Henrie related that the island country is actually a strategic location for the United States military. With Haiti being only 600 miles from Florida and only 90 miles from Cuba, if the U.S didn't help the Haitians, some other power would fill the void. "Though pretty corrupt, Haiti is still a democracy," said Henrie.

The Haitian people are experiencing 90 percent unemployment. "We have poor, even hungry, but no true poverty," said Henrie. "They have babies dying of malnutrition. They have tent cities of over 100,000 people, and I can't see how it can't be their home for years and years to come. There, survival is considered success."

Henrie spoke of 70-year-old people who have never seen a health professional. A city of 300,000 has one hospital, and it's only x-ray machine had been disassembled. Henrie's 30-person team treated 5,000 people in eight days. "We always presumed the worst, over-treated. This humanitarian mission was definitely not about me, but I am proud of what we did," said Henrie.

Another guest speaker was Mary Burnett, who updated the chamber on progress made by the Horizons Marketing Committee in promoting Philip. The goal is to promote the community, to give people reasons to come, stay and shop our businesses. Having part of Highway 14 named the Scotty Philip Highway was an achievement. The tote bag promotion helped toward a Scotty Philip memorial. His portrait is on display at the bank until all construction is completed at the courthouse. The committee needs support from the chamber to develop a Philip brand. "A brand should say what you want about our community. A brand will not do any good, not hold any value, without the support of the community. Where are all the volunteers? It's hard to get people behind something now. It's hard to not get discouraged," said Burnett.

Kent Olson, president of the chamber agreed, "Philip is full of volunteers. If it's action oriented, they come out of the woodwork. But, for the planning stage, it is tough."

Guest speaker Codi Mills announced a Fall Affair social and auction for the library to be October 23. The fundraiser is to help with a future move by the Haakon County Public Library, possibly to the K-Gees building. A silent auction and a live auction will include an ever-increasing list of donated items. The chamber was interested in maybe occupying a small space, a work station, in the library once it does expand and still has room to grow.

The chamber-sponsored annual chili cook-off will be in October. The chamber will look into acquiring more transportable bleachers for various events in the Philip area, particularly the Matched Bronc Ride. Also, now is the time to start planning for the trail ride from Philip to Fort Pierre scheduled for next summer

The Philip Chamber of Commerce will next meet at 7:00 p.m. Monday, October 11, at The Steakhouse.