Meredith Caddell Robert Carpenter
Woman of the Year Citizen of the Year
Caddell and Carpenter Top Honorees
at 87th Annual Chamber of Commerce Banquet
by: Bobby McDonald
Guests arrived to a tropical paradise as they made their way on Thursday night to the 87th annual Hopkins County Chamber of Commerce Banquet, that featured "sandy beaches," surf boards, an "active" volcano, and yes, even fish swimming on their tables!The night continued with the luau theme, following a tropical menu catered by Birthwright Catering, when hula dancers arrived on stage to open the banquet.
Following an expert presentation by three hula dancers, they called on volunteers from the audience and found that Hopkins County may excel in a number of areas, but hula dancing is probably not one of them! Local businessman, Bob Weaver, had the crowd in "stitches" as he was crowned "King Bob" and showed his "talent" as a dancer!
The "main" program began as Boy Scout Troop 66 presented the colors and led the group in the Pledge of Allegiance and Lydia Walden sand the National Anthem. Joel Tiemeyer, pastor of The Way Bible Church, gave the invocation. Judy Gregg, Chairman of the Chamber Board for 2012, recognized the Outgoing Chamber Directors, and Mike Horne, 2013 Chairman, introduced the new slate of the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.
First award presentation was the Pilot Club's Caregive of the Year Award. Sited for her devotion to both her aging parents and her husband, who has experienced a number of health problems, Kelly Grimes was named for the 2013 Award, by Marilyn Holt, President of the Pilot Club.
Kelly Grimes, Caregiver of the Year
The Downtown Business Association presented the next award, the Growth and Renewal Award, and tapped Sulphur Springs Commercial Services, owned by John Heilman and John Berry, for their investments and improvements in the Downtown area of Sulphur Springs, in remodeling buildings and opening new businesses.
Growth & Renewal Award, SS Commercial Services
Described as a member of the "front line crew" that always has a smile on her face and a love for Sulphur Springs, and attends every event the Chamber of Commerce offers, Linda Mobley was presented this year's Ambassador of the Year Award.
Linda Mobley, Ambassador of the Year
Presented by the 1994 Leadership Sulphur Springs Class and represented by Tony Cook, the Comunity Pride Award for this year was presented to one of the most active organizations in Hopkins County. First United Methodist Church was extolled for their involvement in a number of ministries, including The Dinner Bell Meal Program, the Christmas Toy Drive, hosting a number of events at their facilities, and working as a vital part of Hopkins County.
First United Methodist Church, Community Pride Award
Lydia Walden reminded the crowd of the importance of education and the many decisions that are currently being decided by our state government in Austin, as she presented the Educator of the Year Award. The winner was described as a outstanding leader, putting children first, and for his interaction with them on a daily basis. Dr. Juan Harrison, Principal of Austin Elementary School for many, many years was surrounded by former students and teachers and even received a special endorsement from a former teacher, Jill Shelby, via satellite from Rawanda!
Dr. Juan Harrison, Educator of the Year
Local dairy farmer and who was reared in the business, Wayne Hinton, Jr. was named the Agriculturalist of the Year, as he was sited for beginning in the industry by buying a baby calf at age nine years old. The Reilly Springs dairy farmer was noted for perseverance during some "trying times" in the industry with low milk prices and drought conditions in Hopkins County. Junior Hinton operates a Grade-A Dairy Farm with his wife, Tammy, and other family members, producing milk, raising replacement heifers, and producing top quality hay.
Wayne Hinton, Jr., Agriculturalist of the Year
The Beta Sigma Phi Woman of the Year, one of the top awards each year at the banquet, was presented by Pam Hollingsworth. As she began to describe this year's recipient, a "real surprise" unfolded, as many people knew that the woman was going to be recognized and had "pulled off" a ruse to keep it a secret. Meredith Caddell, first as a wife and mom, and then as a community servant that continues to tirelessly promote Hopkins County, as Chamber of Commerce CEO, was revealed as this year's Woman of the Year, a well deserved honor!
Meredith Caddell, Beta Sigma Phi Woman of the Year
Last year's Small Business of the Year Award Winner, Bobby McDonald of Front Porch News Texas.com, began by telling of this year's winner being a major participant in Special Olympics and their work in promoting and education of the national dairy industry. This group came to Hopkins County to preserve and educate the history of the dairy industry and promote the southwestern dairy industry. They continue to be a vital part of our community and lends a helping hand in nearly every aspect of Hopkins County community life! The winner was Southwest Dairy Museum!
Small Business of the Year, Southwest Dairy Museum
"A relatively new business in town, but one that continues to support almost every aspect of our community, this year's Large Business of the Year, is always first in line to lend a helping hand," described Meredith Caddell, as she began to describe this year's winner. "They lend a hand in support of local sports, rodeo events, youth activities, and many, many other venues!"
Then, Caddell played a recent video advertisement that was presented at this year's Super Bowl, entitled "God Made A Farmer," as she presented this year's Large Business of the Year Award to Sulphur Springs Dodge Chrysler Jeep!
Large Business of the Year, Sulphur Springs Dodge Chrysler Jeep
Another "surprise" was in order, as Caddell didn't know that the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors had decided to present a Vision Award, this year. Judy Gregg, 2012 Board Chair came to the podium, presented Caddell with her second surprise of the night, as she presented the award to her, for her outstanding leadership and direction for Hopkins County and the Hopkins County Chamber of Commerce, as she goes about her daily routine as director! "Meredith is an outstanding leader, fun to work with, patient, kind, and Hopkins County's number one fan!" expressed Gregg.
Vision Award, Meredith Caddell
The night had built to a climax, as it was time to present the annual Citizen of the Year Award, and last year's winner, Clayton McGraw, came to the stage. He began by telling that this year's recipient began a life of community service, while still in elementary school in Sulphur Springs. He then sited his involvement in his church, his job with the Texas Highway Department, and then his tireless efforts in getting names on the newly constructed Hopkins County Veteran's Memorial. "Of course, I'm talking about Robert Carpenter," expressed McGraw. "He was the one down on the square, daily, making certain that construction continued on schedule in 100 degree plus temperatures, and then going home and calling family members to make sure that they included their veterans on the memorial!" A tearful Carpenter was then named this year's Hopkins County Citizen of the Year!
Citizen of the Year, Robert Carpenter
Carpenter was joined by his family members in congratulations as this
year's Citizen of the Year!!!
Meredith Caddell was congratulated by husband, Jake, and
children Ryder and Addison, after being named Woman of the Year
and Vision Award Winner!!!
And, how is "King Bob" ever going to live this down!
Brad Johnson will never let him live it down!