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Chamber hosts 2020 awards banquet

The Greater Brewton Area Chamber of Commerce hosted the 2020 Chamber Banquet at the Hourglass in Brewton.

Chamber members, community leaders, friends, and family members gathered at the event. Dinner was served first followed by an awards presentation that included the naming of the 2019 Citizen of the Year.

To begin the banquet, former President Hillary Herrington-English recognized the 2019 board members and thanked everyone for their service.

“It was a great year, I think our events turned out great! I know Dennis will have a great year as well. Thank you all so much,” said Herrington-English.

Next, 2020 President Dennis Bondurant recognized the 2020 board members. The 2020 board members include:  Hillary Herrington-English, Clay Lisenby, Stacey Holt, Donna Mancil, Taylor Jackson, Lance McKenzie, Hal Whitman, Emmie Flowers, Leslie Douglas, Lee Barrentine, and Christy Black.

“These folks help us put on these events each year, and I hope we have a great year,” said Bondurant.

Next Mallory Stanley, President-elect, welcomed Mayor Yank Lovelace to the podium for a special presentation

“This is not a retirement, but it is a significant time for this person that we all appreciate. I am going to ask Judy Crane to come forward,” said Lovelace. Lovelace presented Crane with an award from the Greater Brewton Area Chamber of Commerce as well as a proclamation from the city of Brewton. “We would like to recognize Judy for her 30 years of service as the director of the Greater Brewton Area Chamber of Commerce,” explained Lovelace.

After this award, recipients of the chamber scholarships were recognized.

From T.R. Miller High School, Sarah Scott received the Donnie Rotch Excellence in Achievement Award. From W.S. Neal High School, Christopher Bradley received the Phillip Ellis Excellence in Achievement Award.

The special entertainment for the night was Mr. Larry Weaver. Weaver is a comedian that performs all over the country. Weaver uses clean humor, funny anecdotes, and emotionally charged stories to delight and entertain audiences. His live performances include tales of growing up in the country, home remedies, family gatherings, marriage, traveling, trying to eat right, and more. During his presentation, he told stories of old, while encouraging everyone to have a positive outlook on life.

To close the banquet, Mr. Ken James introduced the citizen of the year. “I hope everyone has had a great time tonight. I want to thank Dennis for calling and asking me to present this award,” said James. During his introducation, James thanked all of the chamber members that work tireless in the community.
“I would like to thank all the members and the tireless work that you give to this community.

It is a full time job on top of a full time job. I look around and see the people that make this community the greatest in the world,” said James. Before announcing the recipient of the award, James shared stories he had with this individual. James spoke highly of the recipient. “Being named citizen of the year is more than just a title. The hours spent away from your home and family to do for our community takes a special commitment. This person is a parent, grandparent, spouse, works about 10-12 hours a day 6 days a week on a job. Yet, still finds time to go above and beyond to make Brewton a better place,” explained James.

With a room filled with anticipation, he continued, “I am honored to present the 2019 Citizen of the Year award to my friend to our friend Mr. Hal Whitman. In response to the award, Whitman said, “Thank you Ken for your words. Thank you everybody, I look forward to many more years of putting on events and being apart of the greatest community in the world.”

Whitman is a longtime employee of Peach Ford of Brewton and currently serves as a 2020 member of the board of directors for the chamber.

“We couldn’t do it without Hal,” said President Dennis Bondurant. “He is always there for us in all of our events. I appreciate him being back this year.”