100th Anniversary Banquet for Lamar Chamber of Commerce



Teamwork was the central theme for the Lamar Chamber of Commerce banquet held Friday, January 28th at the Lamar Eagles Lodge.

The banquet was notable for several reasons, the first being the observance of the 100th anniversary of the creation of the chamber for Lamar and the second, as the first banquet held after a two-year hiatus due to social distancing restrictions due to the Covid pandemic.

Incoming president for 2022, Gabrielle Hammer Nieschburg , told the gathering of 100 attendees, that her life away from Lamar upon her return, allowed her to recognize the value of what rural communities have to offer.  She added that her position as Special Programs Coordinator for the Lamar School District has given her a perspective of how the business community supports the school body and students on numerous levels.  She added that in light of the 100th anniversary observance, she looks forward to creating new traditions which will help improve the Lamar community.

Roseberry and Nieschburg

2021 president, Jerry Roseberry commended the resiliency of the business community in light of some of the economic and social hardships that were brought to bear over the past two years.  Roseberry adopted a more casual tone in his remarks, specifically addressing various members of the audience and recapping ways in which they and the chamber interacted during the past year.

Miriles and Benabides

Mason Miriles, Lamar High School student, offered a heartfelt description of Lamar High School teacher, Tammy Lindquist-Benabides as the 2021 Citizen of the Year.  Quoting Shai Reshef, “When you educate one person you can change a life, when you educate many, you can change the world.”  Miriles highlighted some of Benabides’ career including her service in Lesotho for several years while in the Peace Corps and her tenure in Lamar since 2013 including her sponsorship of Future Teachers of America and her work in Zonta.  He closed with another quote, “If you have to put someone on a pedestal, put teachers.  They are society’s heroes.”

Gotto and Robbins

The Chamber’s “Humanitarian of the Year” award was presented by Rick Robbins to George Gotto, stating, “He has chosen to live his life in service to others in his occupational choices, passions and pastimes.” Robbins noted his 30 years of service to Wiley in his positions on the council and for almost that many years as the town’s mayor.  Gotto’s involvement in the Lamar Rotary goes without saying, however, he has served as that organization’s president on three occasions in over 30 years of service.  He has also supported Prowers Medical Center as a board member, a founding member of PMC’s Foundation and a member of the Lamar Area Hospice Board for 15 years.  Robbins also alluded to Gotto’s ‘alter-ego’ who could be noticed around the area in his red superhero suit between Thanksgiving and the New Year, a role he has happily played for decades.

Suarez and McCaleb

The chamber board selected two businesses as the recipients of the 2021 Business of the Year award.  New board director, Joe McCaleb, presented Jonathan Suarez, owner of UFL Elite Training, with his award, noting the level of community involvement he has shown with his physical fitness center on North Main Street over the past several years.  Board director, Ashly Melgosa, presented Joe Gruber and Karen Moreno with their plaque for the Buzzard’s Roost’s years of support of the community-at-large and chamber activities including developing numerous musical events which bring tourists to the area, to offering the Buzzard’s Roost and the Buzzard’s Nest for various fund-raising activities.

Gruber, Moreno and Melgosa

The events of the banquet were videoed in their entirety in the belief that in another 100 years, the recording will serve as a marker and an historical record of the beginning of the second hundred years of service to the community by the Lamar Chamber of Commerce.  The event was catered by Lucky’s BBQ and this reporter had the honor of acting as master of ceremonies.

By Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: Chamber of CommerceCity of LamarEconomyEventsFeaturedHistoryHot TopicsThe Journal Alert


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