The Corsicana and Navarro County Chamber of Commerce hosted its Gold & Silver Awards Luncheon Thursday at the Cook Education Center.
Joanna Fritz, Chamber President and CEO, welcomed those in attendance and presented the State of the Chamber Address before turning the podium over to the afternoon's first presenter, Camesha Busby, Branch Manager of Centex Citizens Credit Union.
Busby presented the Ambassador of the Year Award, posthumously named for a woman Fritz described as one of the most special ambassadors the Chamber has ever had, Doris Horne, who passed away last year. Her husband, Barry, was present to honor her memory.
“This year, we renamed our Ambassador Award to honor the memory of Doris Horne. She served as an ambassador, committee chair, and a board member for many years,” Busby said. “Doris embodied all that it means to be an ambassador, and always with a smile on her face.”
Busby described Chamber Ambassadors as the lifeblood of the organization, working tirelessly behind the scenes to recruit new members, assist with events and represent the Chamber throughout the community, naming Ashley Coker as the recipient of the Doris Horne Ambassador of the Year Award.
“You give her a goal, she will do everything she can to reach it and exceed the expectations,” Busby said, recognizing the countless hours Coker worked on the Chamber's Total Resource Campaign, ribbon cuttings and serving as Chairperson of Leadership Corsicana.
Fritz returned to the stage to present Busby with the Volunteer of the Year Award, recognizing the positive impact she has made on the Chamber and her willingness to go above and beyond the call of duty.
“She has always cheerfully given up her time whenever she can,” Fritz said of Busby, who balances her full-time job while volunteering several Chamber and community events.
She also serves on the Board of Directors and is credited with bringing back the Chamber's signature red jackets as a member of the revived Ambassador Program.
“She truly embodies what it means to be a great volunteer,” Fritz said. “Volunteers are vital to the success of our Chamber. They're called on to do many important tasks, and our volunteers are always up for the challenge, regardless of how large or small that task may be.”
Attorney Will Thompson presented RE/MAX Lakeside Dreams and RE/MAX of Corsicana with the award for Outstanding Small Business of the Year.
“Small business owners are significant contributors to the economic development, job creation, and general welfare of our communities,” he said.
Thompson said that, despite the challenging economic climate 19 years ago when the business opened, RE/MAX earned the distinction of being the number one business of its kind in Navarro and Freestone counties last year.
In 2016, the company organized a fundraiser to repair a rescue boat for Richland Chambers Lake residents. Now in its fifth year, the fundraiser has raised over $30,000 to support the county's volunteer fire departments.
Corsicana's YMCA was presented the Outstanding Large Business of the Year Award by Michael Kormos, Editor of the Corsicana Daily Sun.
As the largest employer of youth under the age of 18 in Navarro County, the 133-year-old YMCA puts a heavy focus on customer service, safety, and meeting the needs of the community.
“The staff goes out of its way to make customers feel like family,” Kormos said. “And they constantly monitor the community to determine which services in their area of expertise are wanted or needed.”
Donna Townsend, Chief Nursing Officer of Navarro Regional Hospital, presented Byron Cook with the Tom White Citizen of the Year Award, recognizing his investment of time and expertise to improve and inspire the community.
“Leading by example, he dedicated his career to taking care of his fellow neighbors through his years of service in our state House of Representatives, working hard to serve his constituents with the highest moral character and dedication to the job,” Townsend said, describing Cook as a businessman, volunteer, benefactor, humanitarian, and statesman.
“I love this community. We're going to keep working hard to make it better,” Cook said, hinting that he would soon be bringing new projects to the city.
“We do things not so much for today, but for the future,” he said. “Everybody keep working. Everybody keep doing good, and God bless Corsicana, Texas.”
Pat Fain, Chamber Chairman and Senior Vice President of Community National Bank & Trust of Texas, presented the Past Chairman Award to Leslie Leerskov.
“By the time an individual reaches the position of chairman of the board, they've generally spent countless hours – and in most cases, years, volunteering service on the board, committees, and special events for the Chamber,” Fain said. “They believe in our mission. They believe in the values we have, and they show it by their willingness to work and they give us their time and their talents so the Chamber will succeed.”
“It's been a great year,” Leerskov said. “I've seen so much of the community working together.”
Fain and Fritz thanked those in attendance, and expressed the Chambers gratitude for the continued support and participation of local businesses and the community.