Society

Chamber banquet draws over 300

Caldwell, Ratliff, VFW, photographers honored
By MIKE BROWN Reporter Editor

Award winners from Thursday’s 58th annual Chamber of Commerce banquet: Seated (L-R) Cody Caldwell, Citizen of the Year; Joan Ratliff, Outstanding Citizen; standing, Michelle Lehmkuhl, outgoing Chamber chair; Pat Watson, Ambassador of the Year (shared award with husband Charlie who was unable to attend); Jocelyn and Rodney Lewis, Rockdale Signs & Photography, Business of the Year; Rod Roderick, junior vice-commander of VFW Post 6525, Organization of the Year. Reporter/Mike Brown Award winners from Thursday’s 58th annual Chamber of Commerce banquet: Seated (L-R) Cody Caldwell, Citizen of the Year; Joan Ratliff, Outstanding Citizen; standing, Michelle Lehmkuhl, outgoing Chamber chair; Pat Watson, Ambassador of the Year (shared award with husband Charlie who was unable to attend); Jocelyn and Rodney Lewis, Rockdale Signs & Photography, Business of the Year; Rod Roderick, junior vice-commander of VFW Post 6525, Organization of the Year. Reporter/Mike Brown Cody Caldwell, Joan Ratliff, VFW Post 6525 and Rockdale Signs & Photography won the top awards as the Rockdale Chamber of Commerce banquet drew a crowd of more than 300 to Rockdale Junior-High School Thursday.

Master of ceremonies Charlie McGregor introduced visitors and recognized elected officials.

Top citizens

Caldwell was Citizen of the Year.

“He has a heart of gold and is ready to help anyone in need,” presenter Deborah Burrough said. “He owns his own business and is willing to do reduced or non gratis work for those who are having a hard time.

Directors, Chamber ambassadors lined up to present president Denice Doss with roses. Many wore hats commemorating the many hats the Chamber president wears in the community. Ten rose bushes will be planted at the Chamber office in her honor. Directors, Chamber ambassadors lined up to present president Denice Doss with roses. Many wore hats commemorating the many hats the Chamber president wears in the community. Ten rose bushes will be planted at the Chamber office in her honor. “His businesses, Comfort AC and Antique Queens, are significant parts of the Rockdale economy,” she said.

Ratliff was Outstanding Citizen, an award bestowed for outstanding service over a long period of time.

“She is such an asset to our town and excels in everything she does as is evidenced by her business that has become a showplace under her watchful eye,” presenter Becky Booker Marek said.

“She has been involved with the Rotary Club, the Chamber of Commerce, Garden Club and so many other endeavors where she has made a difference. She has recently been appointed to the Milam County Tax Appraisal Board where we know she will represent us well,” Marek said.

South Milam County United Way awards: (L-R) Raymon Puente, UW president and presenter, accepted W. H. Cooke Award for Milam County Retired Teachers, of which he is a member; Ken Cooke, publisher of The Rockdale Reporter which won the continuous support award; Kerry Starnes, board member of the Rockdale Rotary Club, winner of the outstanding contributor award. South Milam County United Way awards: (L-R) Raymon Puente, UW president and presenter, accepted W. H. Cooke Award for Milam County Retired Teachers, of which he is a member; Ken Cooke, publisher of The Rockdale Reporter which won the continuous support award; Kerry Starnes, board member of the Rockdale Rotary Club, winner of the outstanding contributor award. Business, organization

Business of the Year was presented for the fourth year and went to Rockdale Signs & Photography.

“Rodney and Jocelyn Lewis are always willing to donate and help with any event,” presenter Hunter Matula said.

“They sponsor baseball and softball teams, and they go out of their way to help in so many ways. They realize that helping in a community will only bring it back to their business and it does happen that way.”

Chamber offi- cers Cindy Jerman (L) and Becky Booker Marek found a unique way to hand out door prizes, based YOU.” on items banquet goers had in their billfolds or purses. Services in Chamber offi- cers Cindy Jerman (L) and Becky Booker Marek found a unique way to hand out door prizes, based YOU.” on items banquet goers had in their billfolds or purses. Services in Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6525 was named organization of the year.

“They have been involved in so many ways to make Rockdale a better place to live since 1952,” presenter Cindy Jerman said. “They have helped with school supply giveaway, helped GED students with their fees for the GED test, given scholarships to high school seniors, donated to boys baseball and girls softball, and sponsored the Veterans’ Day Parade for the last three years.”

United Way

Raymon Puente, South Milam County United Way president, announced the annual UW awards as follows:

• Continuous Support, The Rockdale Reporter.

• Outstanding Support, Rockdale Rotary Club.

• W. H. Cooke Award (outstanding support by a business, organizat ion or indiv idua l), Milam County Retired Teachers Association.

More awards Charlie and Pat Watson shared the award for Chamber Ambassador of the Year.

“They are great representatives for the Chamber,” presenter Joyce Ford said, “from playing piano at the nursing home to working at the Thrift Shop to helping with the KC’s, this couple is out and about all the time.”

Outgoing chair Michelle Lehmkuhl also received an award.

Speeches by Lehmkuhl and current chairman Caldwell were printed in the program.

Denice Doss, Chamber president, was the subject of a surprise presentation.

Directors came to the stage to present her red roses for her service and announced 10 rosebushes will be planted in her honor at the Chamber’s rock house headquarters.

Directors Jerman is chairman- elect and Marek is treasurer.

Chamber directors are Debra Jackson, Deedra Jacob, Chris Dyess, Mitul Patel, Burrough, Ford, Wallace Jones, Matula, Michelle Morgan, Caldwell, Lehmkuhl, Doss and Shelly Stautz (executive assistant).

Ward Roddam and Jeff Zapata are retiring directors.

Stautz, was recognized for her work during the past year.

Doss listed winners of the silent auction which was held in conjunction with the banquet.

Rev. Rick Her tless, pastor of Meadowbrook Baptist Church, gave the invocation and benediction.

Ambassadors

Chamber ambassador officers are Joyce Dalley, president; Julia Cardona, vice-president; and Wanda Waggoner, communications.

Members are Betty Backhaus, Alma Faye Bell, Anna Duncum, Wanda Galbreath, Margaret Havel, Margo Gilless, Cecil and Marilyn Hicks, Homer and Alice Mowdy, Eugenia

a Secure and Comfortable New ton, Gerr y Of field, Jeanette

Patschke, Helen Perry, Charlie and

• Short-Term Patricia Watkins, Jerry and Wanda

Rehabilitation Comfortable Environment Waggoner, Marie Williams, Debra

Jackson, Julia Cardona, Joyce Dalley and Toby Johnson.


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