Chamber to host annual breakfast meeting


Dana Duckworth, coach of the women’s gymnastics team at the University of Alabama, will be the guest speaker when the Chamber of Commerce of Walker County hosts its annual breakfast meeting next week.

The annual event is set for Tuesday beginning at 8 a.m. at the Jasper Civic Center in downtown Jasper. Doors will open at 7:30 a.m.

Tickets are $20 apiece or $120 for a corporate table for six. Tickets can be purchased at the chamber or by calling chamber president Linda Lewis at (205) 384-4571.

Seating is limited, so Lewis encourages anyone wishing to attend to get tickets as quickly as possible. More than 350 tickets have already been sold for the event.

“We're really excited to have Coach Duckworth coming to our community,” Lewis said. “She’s done an outstanding job at the university, and we're especially excited to have her as our keynote speaker this year.”

Duckworth has been head coach of the UA women’s gymnastics team — a perennial powerhouse in the NCAA  — since July 15, 2014. She replaced longtime head coach Sarah Patterson and is just the second head coach of the gymnastics program in the past 36 years.

Prior to that, Duckworth served as a volunteer assistant coach for nine years, then six years as an assistant coach. 

She was a member of the women’s gymnastics team for four seasons and instrumental in the Crimson Tide’s national championship in 1991. She has been part of the Tide’s national championships in 2002, 2011 and 2012.

As a member of the gymnastics team, Duckworth won back-to-back individual  NCAA titles in balance beam and was an eight-time All-American and two-time Academic All-American. She also earned both NCAA and SEC post-graduate scholarships.

Duckworth has coached three Alabama gymnasts to NCCA individual national championships. 

According to her bio provided by the university, Duckworth “is truly ‘Built By Bama.’”

Duckworth is very active in the community in Tuscaloosa and is co-founder and pas president of the ReadBamaRead Foundation, which restocked libraries at three elementary schools destroyed by tornadoes in 2011. 

Duckworth has two degrees from the University of Alabama — a bachelor’s degree in telecommunications and film and a master’s degree in business administration.

During Tuesday’s event, special recognition will be given to the chamber’s past chairman, and the chamber’s Volunteer of the Year award will be given.

"This event is always one of the highlights of the year for the chamber," Lewis said.