‘It was very emotional’

Dale Greer receives 2023 Emma Marie Eddleman Citizenship Award

Dale Greer celebrates with his wife Larraine after being named the recipient of the 2023-2024 Emma Marie Eddleman Citizenship Award at Thursday night’s Cullman Area Chamber of Commerce Gala. (contributed)

CULLMAN, Ala. – Cullman Economic Development Agency Director Dale Greer on Thursday evening received the 2023 Emma Marie Eddleman Citizenship Award at the Cullman Area Chamber of Commerce Gala. The award, sponsored by O.F. Richter and Sons, is presented annually to individuals who have made exceptional contributions to the community. 

Named after Emma Marie Eddleman, the only woman witness to the incorporation of the Chamber of Commerce in 1947, the award recognizes outstanding dedication to community service and significant achievements in the community. The Chamber Board of Directors named the award after Eddleman in 1983 to honor her longtime service to the Chamber and the community. 

Paige Clabo, who presented the award, spoke about Greer’s exceptional qualities, saying, “It is my pleasure to present the 2023 Emma Marie Eddleman Award to Mr. Dale Greer. He is a mentor to many, a public servant to all and generally the funniest guy in the room.” 

“You just listen to start with to learn who it is. There have been some great honorees over the years, and I usually try to guess who it is before they reveal the name,” said Greer when asked about his thoughts as Clabo slowly revealed information regarding the award recipient. “Within a few words, I knew Paige was describing me. I honestly was shocked. I had no clue I was or would be the recipient. I have always viewed the Emma Marie Eddleman Citizenship Award as the Chamber’s top honor. I just went, ‘Wow.’ It was very emotional.” 

Clabo, director of programs at the Chamber, said Greer is the director of one of the most successful programs in the Southeast for recruitment of new industry and growth of expanding industries and played a large role in the very important Duck River Project. Last year, under Greer’s leadership, Cullman ranked fourth out of 550 towns across the country (with a population less than 50,000) for the total number of industrial projects. 

“He has also served as a president for the Economic Development Association of Alabama, was a former Alabama delegate to the Southern Economic Development Council serving 17 southeastern states and was appointed by the governor for two terms on the Alabama Workforce Council,” Clabo continued. 

Greer is one of only a dozen Cullman Countians who have graduated from the Leadership Alabama program. He also worked to create the Chamber of Commerce Leadership Program that many members have participated in over the years. 

“I worked with Emma Marie over the years and always admired her work at the Chamber. She was a strong, influential woman at a time when that was not the norm for women. She guided a lot of the direction at the Chamber. It is appropriate the award bears her name. Winning the award is an honor. I know or have known every previous winner, and it is a list of some of the most benevolent people in our community. I am thrilled to be included among the winners,” said Greer when asked what the Emma Marie Eddleman Citizenship Award means to him. 

Among his many honors and achievements in the community and at the state level, Greer was recognized as Distinguished Citizen of the Year, is a past president of the Wallace State Future Foundation, Cullman Parks and Recreation Foundation, President of the Rotary Club and Rotarian of the Year. 

The Emma Marie Eddleman Citizenship Award is presented to show gratitude to those who work tirelessly to make Cullman County a better place. 

“Awards recognize individuals, and often that is tied to successes or accomplishments that occur with a lot of support from coworkers and friends. I have been blessed to live in a community where people work together toward common goals. Many people share in this award,” said Greer.