Craig Roberts was named Citizen of the Year at the 93rd Annual Hopkins County Chamber of Commerce Membership Banquet. “Love Makes the World Go Round” was the theme for the Valentine’s Day event at the Civic Center. The annual event honors local citizens and Chamber of Commerce members who contribute to the quality of life in the county. A number of awards and recognitions were presented.
In naming Roberts Citizen of the Year, last year’s Citizen of the Year, Tim Kelty, noted the several sides to Roberts’ life. As a community member he served on the City of Sulphur Springs Planning and Zoning Board. As a member of the Rotary Club, he served on the Board of Directors of the Rotary Club. He has also served on the Chamber of Commerce board. Roberts currently serves on the Economic Development Board. He served for many years as Master of Ceremonies for several local events. His sense of humor is well-known. His spiritual side includes involvement in Walk to Emmaus and other activities that promote spiritual development. Roberts is Area President of Guaranty Bank and Trust. His family commitment is also well known. Kelty said his honesty is such that “Whatever he tells you, you can take it to the bank.”
Woman of the Year is Beverly Owens. Jimmie McIntyre of Beta Sigma Phi, made the presentation calling Owens selfless, involved, willing, compassionate, eager, fun hearted, and fruits of the spirit. She noted Owens love of other and commitment to God as a key to the nomination. Owens is a member of the Pilot Club, United Way, Relay for Life, Main Street Theatre, Shadow Ranch, Our Place, and has taught Sunday School at Trinity Harvest Church for over 15 years. She has also been helpful in developing a program for Autistic children. Owens works at Alliance Bank in Sulphur Springs.
Caregiver of the Year was presented to two individuals. Joy Wilson, of the Pilot Club, made the presentation to Gladys Irene Howl, who has cared for her husband who has early onset Alzheimer’s. Using alternative medicine and other means, she has given continuous care even when side effects of some medications created even greater issues.
Charlotte Baxter of the Pilot Club recognized Bernie Beers. Beers has cared for his wife, Fran, for a number of years. He has also mentored students at Lamar School, ministered to senior citizen shut-ins and in care homes. Baxter said he is a reflection of Christ in life.
Billie Ruth Stanbridge, Sulphur Springs Downtown Business Alliance, presented Lynda Hagar the Growth and Renewal Award for her energetic and enthusiastic support and involvement in almost every part of life in Sulphur Springs including Dairy Festival Board, chamber activities, Chair of Hopkins County Care Foundation, and as Mrs. Claus during the Christmas Season. A member of the Civic Center Board and Hopkins County Health Care Foundation, Hagar can be found constantly encouraging life in the county.
The United Way was presented the Community Pride Award by County Judge Robert Newsom. The award is given annually to an individual or organization that has exhibited generosity and service to the county community. Newsom said United Way impacts almost every man, woman, boy, or girl in the community. United Way is in its 64th year of existence and is vibrant and strong. The goal of the organization is to improve lives by mobilizing the caring power of the community to advance the common good.
Educator of the Year is Harold Smithson. Smithson has been teaching 30 years in SSISD. He has taught small engine repair, auto trades, and construction. He sponsors Vocational and Industrial Club of America at the local high school. For the past four years, he has driven a school bus. He also transport the construction class to and from their job site while instructing on-site. Rusty Hardin presented the Award.
Keith Edwards was named Agriculturalist of the Year. Mark Sustaire, last year’s winner, made the presentation. Edwards began his career in agriculture working at age 16. He and his family operate a cow-calf starter operation. He is a charter member of NETBIO.
Hopkins County EMS was named Small Business of the Year. Paul Harvey, CEO of CHRISTUS Mother Frances Hospital Sulphur Springs made the presentation. Harvey noted the active work of EMS in educating the public regarding emergency care and organizing several fund raising events that benefited all ages in the county community.
Large Business of the Year is Jay Hodge Chevrolet. With a number of obstacles that would hinder most companies, the Chevrolet dealership made the decision to come to Sulphur Springs. With everything in place over 5-years ago, a family tragedy delayed the move. Opening with portable offices in 2015, the dealership is now established and supporting almost every charitable activity in the county.
Special thanks were expressed to outgoing board members as new members were welcomed to the board by Chair-elect Danielle Berry. Birthright BBQ and catered the meal for the event.