By Nikki Velarde, The Belton Journal
As Andrew Crowson, the emcee for the Chamber of Commerce Banquet said, “The year does not officially start until Chamber Banquet happens”.
This year, the banquet and theme of the year was about celebrating partnerships. They accomplished this through the various programs that started in 2014 that helped create opportunities to stimulate sustainable growth both for businesses and for people.
In 2014 the Chamber saw great success and strides forward with programs such as Grow Belton, Sync Up, and the Workforce Development Initiative. A slideshow during the banquet showed all the ribbon-cuttings from 2014 as well as the enduring partnerships shared with local businesses and organizations. Jay Taggart, the chairman of the Belton Chamber of Commerce Military Affairs Committee was present to give his thanks to the Chamber for their enduring support to the military. “There’s no other stronger partnership with Fort Hood than what we have with this community”.
Additionally, a video from two deployed units was played where they also expressed their appreciation of support and all the things they are able to accomplish due to their partnership with the Chamber. Outgoing chairman, Frank Minosky, claimed that “it’s our Ambassadors that are the heart and soul of the Chamber”. The President and chairman can’t be there for every event or program, the Ambassadors are always there making sure everything runs smoothly. “I’m astonished by the amount of stuff that goes on (at the Chamber)”, Minosky adds.
Incoming chairman Robert Potts, expressed his excitement and anticipation for things to come for the Chamber in 2015. Thanks to the exceptional leadership at the Chamber, “The road ahead of (Potts) is clearly paved”.
Various awards were presented during the banquet. The Ambassador of the Year was awarded to JoAnn Tarvestad. “The Citizen of the Year is given to someone who is an “amazing asset to the Belton Chamber of Commerce and Belton Team,” explained Harold Edwards, 2013 Citizen of the Year. The award for 2014 was presented to Sandra Russell. Dick Wood, the 2013 Ambassador of the Year added revealed that both JoAnn and Sandra would have trees planted at Heritage Park in their honor.
The Beltonian Award was presented to Robert L. Jones for his involvement of making the special needs playground at Heritage Park a reality.
Minosky gave the Chairman’s Award of Excellence to Ben Pamplin. However, as a “chairman’s prerogative”, according to Minosky, he decided there was one other individual who was deserving of the award, so he presented a second Chairman’s Excellence Award to Joey Peters.
Marion Grayson, Mayor of Belton spoke about the partnerships between the Chamber and the various businesses and organizations as being more than just about business networking, “it’s a big part that makes the community what it is”. We look forward to great things for 2015.