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An overflow crowd gathered in Mustang Cafeteria on Monday night, February 22, for the 59th Annual Chamber of Commerce Banquet.

Among those honored was longtime resident and Chamber member, Corky Black, who was recognized for his many years of service as a member of the Chamber. He was presented with a special Lifetime Achievement Award.

Other coveted awards included the President’s Award presented to Clinton Bowman, Professional of the Year award was presented to Myrna Boulter, Business of the Year was Stripes who was represented by store manager Jerry Boggs, Citizen of the Year was Joe Kay, owner of Kay and Kompany, and Ambassador of the Year was Dallas Brewer.

Emceed by Criminal District Attorney Bill Helwig, the theme this year was “Spirit of West Texas,” which featured Bob Phillips, Executive Producer and Host of The Texas Country Reporter television show as the principle speaker.

The Flag Ceremony was presented by Cub Scout Troop #767, under the Direction of Violet Hobbs. This was followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.

The voices of Randy Butler, Gary Davis, and Skip Rodgers then led the audience in the singing of the National Anthem.

Butler then led the invocation, which was followed by the meal, which consisted of ribeye steaks, bake potatoes, green beans, a dinner roll, peach and cherry cobbler for dessert, and ice tea. The meal was served by the Mustang Cafeteria staff, and FCCLA students, under the direction of high school teacher Shanna Weir.

Helwig then introduced the retiring directors, which included Charlie Espinoza, Charlotte Stroud, and Karen Tovar. Incoming directors for a 3-year term will include Jonette DeBlauw, Mary Frankfather, and Paul Mansur.

Retiring student directors are Brice Brown and Taylor Dial. They will be replaced by new student directors Tommie Lynn Hicks, Xylena Pillai, and Denisse Saenz.

In addition to the main speaker the highlight of the banquet is always the announcement of the five special awards.

Bob Phillips then entertained the large audience with several stories about his years as The Texas Country Reporter. Entering their 43rd season this television series is the longest independently produced show in the nation.

Some of his shows included Cowboy football games from the 1970’s and traveling to so many little towns where he did stories on those people living their lives in “a quiet, determined, and honorable way.”

Helwig wrapped up the program with his concluding remarks thanking those who attended. An estimated 480 guest were in attendance this year making it one of the largest in recent years.

“We felt like this was one of the best banquets we have had in recent years,” stated Chamber Manager Marilyn McCurley. “We had so much help from so many people all the way from those who helped set up the Mustang cafeteria to the cooks, servers, and the cleanup crews. It was a wonderful evening for all to enjoy some good old West Texas hospitality.”