Due to her hard work with the Mountain Glory festival and promoting the downtown, Debra Mace is Marion’s Main Street Champion for 2013.

On Thursday, Jan. 30, North Carolina’s 2013 Main Street Champions were announced at the North Carolina Main Street Annual Awards Ceremony in New Bern. Mace was selected by the Marion Business Association for this special recognition in appreciation of her exceptional contributions to the downtown revitalization process.

Mace was also recognized Tuesday as the Main Street Champion for Marion during the regular meeting of the Marion City Council.

Established in 2000 as part of North Carolina Main Street’s 20th anniversary celebration, the Main Street Champion designation acknowledges the extraordinary efforts of those persons who have played pivotal roles in the revitalization of their downtowns. The dedication and hard work of countless volunteers is required to make a local Main Street program successful. Each of the state’s active Main Street programs is given the opportunity annually to recognize a local Main Street Champion. The addition of this year’s honorees brings the total number of North Carolina Main Street Champions to 533, according to a news release.

The Marion Business Association recommended Mace for this honor.

“Debra Mace is a champion in life,” reads the MBA’s recommendation. “In her many years as an officer and board member of the Marion Business Association, she has provided thoughtful insight for the organization.”

As the Mountain Glory festival’s set-up chairwoman, Mace has “worked tirelessly for more than a dozen years, bringing her calm demeanor and strong sense of organization to a very hectic day.”

“With her quiet manner and willingness to be a team member, she is a beacon for all who know her,” reads the recommendation. “Debra is also highly regarded in her professional life as an employee of Raymond James Financial Services in the heart of downtown, where the clients love her. Whether caring for customers or coordinating festival set-up, Debra Mace does everything with grace, dignity and commitment.”

MBA Director Freddie Killough said Mace is on the Mountain Glory festival committee and is the morning set-up coordinator for the festival.

“That means on festival day she is on the street at 5:30 a.m., schedules all the wonderful set-up volunteers and starts the day bright and cheery,” said Killough.

Main Street is a downtown revitalization program for smaller towns based on economic development within the context of historic preservation. The North Carolina Main Street program, which provides technical assistance to its communities, is part of the Office of Urban Development in the Department of Commerce’s Rural Economic Development Division.

In 1980, North Carolina was one of six original states, selected from 38 that applied, to launch the work of the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s National Main Street Center. The North Carolina Main Street program began with five participating cities – New Bern, Salisbury, Shelby, Tarboro and Washington – in September 1980 and has since grown to include 61 communities across the state.