A night in old N’Awlins
An estimated 285 persons attended, many in Mardi Gras costumes. They ate Cajun food from BB’s in Houston, heard Dixieland music from the Communities in Concert Band and had a rollicking good time.
What didn’t change was the annual awards.
Mike Brown picked up the Citizen of the Year plaque, the Outstanding Citizens Award went to Brad and Rose Owens. Rockdale Masonic Lodge 414 was named Organization of the Year, KRXT-FM was Business of the Year and Betty Backhaus was Ambassador of the Year.
King said Brown “could have gone anywhere” but chose to come back to his home town and has worked for The Rockdale Reporter for 43 years, the past 19 as editor.
“He can paint a picture with words. He is fair and honest when reporting the news and saves his opinions for the editorial page,” she said.
Sandoval noted the Emmaus Project, found- ed by the Owens to provide free meals, recently served its 30,000th meal.
“Each meal has been delivered with a smile and a caring attitude,” she said. “They help with yard work when people are unable to do it for themselves, build handicap ramps, and place ice chests on streets so neighborhood kids can have a bottle of water and a sandwich during the summer months.”
Volunteers from the lodge supported the Chamber’s Buckin’’ Bulls BBQ Cookoff, Masons partner with the Chamber to provide free heaters during the winter months and the lodge awards a pair of $2,000 scholarships each year.
Mike Walko accepted the award for the lodge.
KRXT was lauded for being “all about Rockdale. They have a genuine concern for people and show that by the way they conduct business and conduct their personal lives.”
Station owner Charlie and wife—and on-the-air personality—Viva accepted.
Backhaus was termed “a soft spoken, genteel lady who has been the backbone of the Ambassadors (volunteers who assist the Chamber) since their inception.
UNITED WAY—Paul Dixon, South Milam County United Way board member, listed that organization’s annual awards as follows:
• W. H. Cooke Award (outstanding support by a business or organization), presented posthumously to Kathy Cooke.
• Continuous Supporter Award, Luminant/Luminant Diversity council
• Business support, Perry & Perry Builders.
• Special support, Gaye Bland, Lee’s Landing, Abiding Choice.
RECOGNITION—Sandoval handed out some personal “special” awards as follows:
• Delegator Award, Rev. Adam Straznicky.
• Duct Tape (Fix Anything) Award—Kenny Svrcek.
STUDENTS—Leadership awards were presented to groups of two South Milam County schools by Allen Sanders and Julie Sulak as follows:
Rockdale High School— Yesica Acosta, Daniel Banda, Annie Hasselbach, Cameron Mireles, Esmerelda Salcedo, Trace Phillips.
Milano High School— Bailey Baggerly, Xoe Broussard.
Former chair Cynthia Zindars was presented an appreciation award.
Invocation and benediction was by Ron Boswell, interim pastor of Meadowbrook Baptist Church.