Two Lamar citizens and one local business were recognized for their service to the community during the annual Lamar Chamber of Commerce Banquet, held Wednesday, January 25th, at the Lamar Eagles Lodge. The event also introduced the incoming president for 2017, Ginger Coberley, as well as the board members who will serve for the year. Vickie Dykes, outgoing chamber president thanked her board for their service through 2016.
The Citizen of the Year award was sponsored by Community State Bank, with Aaron Leiker of KVAY introducing the nominee and reading the nominating letter for Rick Robbins, general manager of Colorado Mills and current president of PEP, the county’s economic development organization. Robbins has been active in community economic development in his position as president of PEP and its transition from PCDI and through the work and generous donations made by Colorado Mills to various organizations in Lamar including Hospice and Project HOPE. Robbins spoke not of himself, but of the board members of PEP, Prowers Economic Prosperity, and their efforts to help secure jobs and new businesses to Prowers County. “We have something special in our community to offer outside interests and PEP will continue to move forward with those aspects offered by this community. Our study by PUMA highlighted five areas of development opportunities and we’re going to be asking people from the area to join some roundtable sessions on those points. We hope you can take part in that,” he told the audience.
The Humanitarian of the Year award is not an annual presentation, but is bestowed upon those citizens who have made a major impact on the quality of life for Lamar’s residents. Lamar’s Community Development Director, Angie Cue, made the announcement on behalf of the award’s sponsor, Edward Jones Office of Michael Beard. This year’s award was presented to Clifford Boxley who serves on the Lamar Planning and Zoning Board, Lamar Utility Board and Lamar Partnership Incorporated. He was presented with the Andrus Award in 2014 for “Community Service” by the AARP, a national award which is presented to only one person in each state. A disabled veteran who served in the US Army between 1972 and 1984, he dedicates much of his time to the Prowers County Veterans Transportation Program, logging in over 8,000 hours behind the wheel and traveling over 170,000 miles driving other local veterans to medical appointments along the Front Range. The nominating letter aptly described him as “one of those individuals that every community needs and depends on.” Boxley declined to speak on accepting the award, but let his smile of appreciation to the audience serve as his way of saying, “thank you.”
For the second year now, a new award has been included in the annual chamber banquet festivities; the Business/Organization of the Year award which recognizes the work of an organization which contributes to the well-being of our community. This year’s award was sponsored by Big Timbers Community Alliance and was presented by Jackie Brown and Karen Bryant to Bob DeLancey, owner/operator and the staff of KVAY Radio in Lamar. The presenters explained the goals of the Alliance, dedicated to restoring prosperity through local efforts to build a better stronger and healthier community. They stated that KVAY shares the belief of the Alliance that, ‘community is at the core’ of that success.
KVAY, which began broadcasting as KNIC in 1986 in Lamar, has had three owners, the latest being DeLancey who took over operations in 2003. The nominating letter described KVAY, through its personality oriented broadcasts and local involvement, as a cheerleader of sorts for Lamar and the surrounding communities, offering local news, sports and locally informative talk programs which are combined with a variety of contests and promotions which are both fun and engage the intelligence of the adult listener. DeLancey praised his staff on accepting the award and added, “We do truly want to be a thriving community. That’s one of the reasons why KVAY partnered with PEP.” DeLancey also thanked the listeners in his broadcast area as well as the station’s many dedicated sponsors, “It’s because of them that we are able to offer our service to these local communities.”
Departing President Vickie Dykes noted how quickly the year sped by while recapping some of the highlights of chamber activities from the past year. “It has been a privilege to serve as chamber president. I have learned so much about myself and about this community and what our local businesses mean to us.” She added that shopping at local business really does matter to a community and helps support all the different groups and citizens that rely on their availability. Dykes offered praise for her board and her family for their support over the past year. For the approaching year, she added, “Ginger Coberley is a born leader who knows the struggles of a small town business owner as she is one herself. She’ll be a fantastic chamber president for 2017.”
Coberley joined the board in 2015. She explained some of the ways the chamber will help provide new benefits for its members including new software programming allowing mini websites as well as new advertising opportunities. She added, “We’ve developed a series of monthly expos which will be offered to our members to help them grow and succeed. We’re teaming with SBDC on these seminars which are free with chamber memberships and will include such subjects as marketing techniques, customer service and QuickBooks. We have some fresh ideas for long standing events like Oktoberfest, Lamar Days and our Parade of Lights.” She closed by asking the gathering to strive to, “Believe, Achieve and Prosper. Together, we can accomplish anything.”
Incoming board members include Coberley as the new president for 2017; Kayla Tefetiller as Vice-President; Crissy Stegman as Secretary and Valerie Baldwin as Treasurer. Other new members include: Kirk Crespin, Kynlee Emick, Jerry Roseberry, Kendra Cope, Mary DeLa Virgen and Jessica Medina.
Annual chamber events include: Lamar Days, Ice Cream Social, Wine Tasting, Teacher’s Annual Reception, Oktoberfest, Farm/City Banquet, Parade of Lights and the Enchanted Forest and Santa House. Chamber supported events include: Academic Awards, Snow Goose Festival, Sporting Events including Holiday Basketball Tournament, High School Rodeo Finals, Remembrance 9/11 Event, Sand and Sage Fair, Lamar Fly In and the Chamber Honkers Association.
By Russ Baldwin
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