2016 Chamber Banquet - “Coleman...a County in Bloom”
Local business owners, employees, citizens and visitors all showed up last Friday night for the Annual Chamber of Commerce Banquet held at the Bill Franklin Center. The venue was decorated with twinkling lights, gorgeous centerpieces adorned with purple flowers and rustic place mats with silverware wrapped in jute twine. Banquet chairpersons Tammy Casey, Renea McMillan, Becki Reynolds and Christi Robertson were responsible for the organization of the event. The Coleman Rodeo Association prepared the meal, which consisted of grilled chicken, pork tenderloin, garlic new potatoes, green beans and bread pudding. Special thanks to the Coleman County Cowgirls and the Jr. Chamber of Commerce members for helping serve the meal and Bonnie Brown’s class for wrapping the silverware and the Jr. High students who assisted with the setting up of the tables and chairs.
With dinner music playing in the background, courtesy of Donnie Neff, Chamber Board member John Stanislaw began the evening with a word of prayer. Bob Turner led the crowd in singing “God Bless America” followed by Miss Coleman County, Kloe Hale, with the Pledge of Allegiance.
Master of Ceremonies, Jeromy Watson along with Tammy Casey, welcomed everyone and they expressed their gratitude to all for supporting the Chamber. They mentioned that the Bill Franklin center is run and maintained strictly through donations from individuals and businesses. Tickets were available for purchase to win a 7 cubic foot freezer, donated by Bargain House, along with a $500 gift card to Shoppin Baskit. The Gift Certificated was donated by Shoppin’ Baskit and the Chamber of Commerce. The drawing for this item will be held on the last day of the Rodeo, June 11th. The second item was a shoot signed by George Strait donated by John and Christi Robertson which will be drawn for at Fiesta de la Paloma on October 1st. Tickets can still be purchased at the Chamber office downtown.
Mary Griffis, Executive Director, introduced all of the new 2016 Chamber members and thanked everyone for being there and for their support over the years. The Chamber is very active in the community, holds the annual Fiesta de la Paloma in October, sells t-shirts and tickets and organize the Rodeo Parade for the Coleman Rodeo Association, participated in the organization of the 1st annual Petticoats on the Prairie, along with countless other endeavors.
Auctioneer Mark McMillan was called to the stage to auction off donated items. As promised by Tammy Casey, Mark had the audience laughing and involved. A big thanks to every individual and business who donated items.
At this point in the evening, it was time for awards to be given. First up was Teacher of the Year, which was awarded to Charlotte Purl. Purl, a graduate of Coleman ISD, pursued her education at Texas A&M University. There she received her degree in Kinesiology with a minor in Health and a certification in Driver’s Education. Later, she added History and Social Studies Composite to her teaching certification. She has taught and coached at many different locations throughout her career including Los Fresnos, Smithville, Bastrop, Taft, Eustace, and Mabank. While in Smithville she was named to the Texas Honor Roll of Coaches by the Austin American Statesmen. In Taft she was awarded Teacher of the Year and was chosen as Teacher of the Year twice in Mabank. In 2009 she returned to Coleman to teach at “dear ole CHS-her alma mater”. She has stated that of all the places she has taught, Coleman is her favorite place to be.
Rural Citizen of the Year was awarded to Ted Taylor. Ted, also a graduate of Coleman ISD, participated heavily in 4-H and football. Besides attending Texas Tech in Lubbock, he has always called Coleman County home. While at Tech he was a part of the Tech Rodeo Team where he had the most fun bull riding. During his college years, he made his wisest decision and married the girl of his dreams, Sonjia, and they have enjoyed 46 years together. His livelihood includes ranching, farming, hunting and real estate. He was able to turn hunting into a business, Executive Outfitters, and today his business hosts anywhere from 700-900 hunters per dove season. One weekend out of the year is devoted to hosting Patriots and Heroes Outdoors. Mr. Taylor is very active in the Coleman Rodeo Association where he served as President from ’82-83 and 2006-2009. One of the important aspects of his personality is his ability to be a peacemaker. People of all ages seek out his advice and counsel. With his wife by his side, their family consists of Ben and Meredith Taylor, Les and Tish Taylor Hankamer, and 5 grandchildren, Nathan, Megan, Taylor, Kate and Sonjia.
Jacque Rosales was awarded the New Horizon award. She moved back to Coleman two years ago with her husband and two little girls. They lived in San Antonio for a time but realized that the small-town charm and atmosphere is where she wanted her family to be. She is the Project Director for the Coleman County ACE Program. This program is federally funded and brings in $1.5 million to local county schools each year. Jacque works very hard to grow relationships with local partners to build support for a sustainable afterschool program, which has been an immense blessing to our community. She has worked with several organizations on projects including the Coleman Public Library, Workforce Solutions, Inc., Area Agency on Aging, Coleman County Medical Center, Family Service Centers, Central Texas Opportunities, Texas Agrilife, the Coleman County Chamber of Commerce and other local agencies. As a member of the Coleman EDC 4B board, she has been able to pursue her commitment to growing Coleman for the youth and young adults raising children in the community. With her positive attitude, tireless dedication and determination, she is committed to building pride among the community and is excited to see what the future holds for Coleman.
Jimmy Ray Watson was awarded Citizen of the Year. Graduating from Coleman in 2000 he followed in his grandfathers footsteps and became a volunteer firefighter for the Coleman Fire Department. In 2007 he was promoted to a full time employee, promoted to Captain in 2010 and Fire Marshall in 2013. He currently serves as a Certified Officer, Inspector, a Hazmat Tech and Confined Space Rescuer. Many citizens who have had the misfortune to be involved in a fire will attest to Jimmy’s willingness to go above and beyond to save the people and property he is sworn to save. In his speech, the pride and love for his hometown is evident and one of his community ventures is serving on the Library Board. He married the love of his life, Christi, in 2013 and she supports him in all of his endeavors.
Grammer’s, a great place to find quality merchandise and personal service for over 80 years, was awarded Business of the Year. Owners, Liz and Jerry Jones, have owned the business since 2004. Grammer’s has been in its current location since 1935 and has only 3 owners. From helping people find just the right outfit to wear, find that special gift for that special person or just visiting with people that come in the store, Liz says that’s all the best part of owning this business. She currently serves as President of the Coleman Business People’s Association, Treasurer of Keep Coleman Beautiful and is also a board member for the CHAPS organization. Grammer’s is a true treasure to Coleman and Liz and Jerry are a vital asset to the business district.
All of the award winners were humble, kind, passionate and most of all have a deep love for this county we all call home! They are instrumental in the success and revitalization of Coleman.
Below listed are the new members of the Chamber since the last Banquet:
-Texas Ranger Motel
-Rosewood Memorial Funeral Home
-Rancho Pizzeria/Rancho Centro, LLC
-Coleman Home Health & Hospice
-Santa Anna Processing & Taxidermy
-Andy & Barbara Young
-Parsons Heating, A/C and Appliance Service
-Double H Family Dining
-John & Glorya Puckett
-Coleman Gifts & Craft Supplies
-Heart of Texas Crime Stoppers
-Playin Hooky Bait & Marina & Tiki Hut
-The Terrace Inn