Chamber Hands Out Awards At Annual Banquet

Monday the Greater Orange Area Chamber of Commerce held its annual banquet at the Shahan Center on the Lamar State College Orange campus.

Chairman of the Board Chris Kovatch spoke of another unusual year for the chamber as it dealt with weather and repairs from the last hurricane. But he also spoke of the success of the Bassmasters event and the continued popularity of the Orange Grove.

He also passed the gavel to the new chairman, Kristen Placette, who announced this year’s theme is “Feels Like Home.” “I wasn’t born and raised in Orange, but working here (Sabine Federal Credit Union) and being around the people here in Orange, it feels like home.” Placette said she’ll be moving to Orange County soon.

She also introduced her Executive Board for 2022. They include Steve Jones- Chairman Elect, Jessica Hill – Vice Chairman Governmental Affairs, Heather Montagne- Vice Chairman Special Projects, Chad Kemp – Vice Chairman Membership Services, Shaun McAlpin- Vice Chairman Education, Travis Williams- Vice Chairman Economic Development, David May – Vice Chairman Treasurer, Chris Kovatch – Immediate Past Chairman.

Butch Campbell introduced the Citizen of the Year and he presented the award to a much surprised, but well deserved, Charlotte Alford. Alford replied with a simple, “Thank you very much.”

Alford has been instrumental with the return of the Heritage House of Orange becoming the historical source for all things Orange. But she was also recognized for her years of work with the former Campfire Office in Orange as well as her volunteerism with many other projects.

Campbell mentioned “selfless service” when speaking about Alford, and the nights recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award.

“Uncle” Larry David passed away in February 2020 but left his mark in Orange as a businessman and as a volunteer. He played Santa at the Heritage House and rode the fire truck at the end of the Christmas parade for over 40 years. During that same time he turned burgers every year at the Lions Club Carnival. His longevity and the popularity of the burgers earned them the name “Uncle Larry Burger.” Campbell stressed the “uncle” was certainly a term of endearment for a man who always gave back.

David, pronounced dah-veed, was a board member of the Stark Foundation, American Red Cross, Lions Club, Evergreen Cemetery Association, Knights of Columbus, and a Deacon in the Roman Catholic Church. His family was on hand to accept the award.

Paul and Kim Dickerson, owners of The Orange Stationer, were recognized as the winner of the Community Service Award as a Business. And the Heritage House won the Non-Profit Community Service Award.

Steve Jones was recognized as the Chair Person of the Year. Jill Watson was introduced as the new Ambassador Chairman, replacing the out-going Kacey Burnitt.

The meal was catered by Old Orange Cafe. KOGT’s Gary Stelly served as the Master of Ceremonies.

Written by KOGT Radio

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