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Anahuac honors community at chamber banquet

Published March 23, 2007

A roomful of Anahuac residents gathered at White’s Park to honor those working to improve their community at Anahuac Area Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Awards Banquet on Thursday.

“It’s a very, very nice turnout,” Linda Barnhart said. The Anahuac school district superintendent and Chamber of Commerce member said selling tickets to the banquet wasn’t a problem. Everyone in town wanted to come out and show their support to the individuals, group and business honored, and support the chamber by bidding on some of the many silent auction items.

Chamber director Robbie King said the event brought in about $5,000 in profits for the Chamber of Commerce last year, and members hope residents will be just as generous this time around.

“People support each other here,” Barnhart said.

Between the good food, guest magician and the array of auction items up for grabs, many residents couldn’t choose their favorite part of the event.

“It’s fun. You get to see everybody and meet new people,” said Aaron Berklund.

The Anahuac resident hasn’t missed an annual awards banquet since he moved to town about two years ago.

Other event regulars, like Chamber of Commerce members, have been marking the event on their calendar for years, and appreciate the chance to have fun and celebrate their town.

“We ask a lot of our members throughout the year,” King said. “This is the one night that we get to give back a little bit.”

Chamber members and residents were not just there to socialize, many of them showed up to congratulate the award winners, like the 2007 Person of the Year.

Sarah Cerrone was surprised to be honored with the title for the second time. The director of economic development was also named Person of the Year in 1998.

“I’m very flattered,” Cerrone said. “I think I’m the first one they gave it to twice.”

Cerrone wasn’t expecting the award, but her achievement came as no surprise to the many residents she has worked with through her job, volunteer efforts, work as the general chairman of Gatorfest and efforts as chairman of Chambers County Day at the Capitol.

“She has a hand in everything,” King said.

The chamber also honored Bayside Community Hospital, Business of the Year, the Chambers County Historical Commission, Group of the Year, Donna Standley, Outstanding Educator, Tommy Wilcox, Lifetime Achievement winner, Bubba Lancon, Gatorfest Volunteer of the Year and Bill and Donna Rhodes of Texas Temperature Control won the Gatorfest appreciation award.

The winners, nominated and then voted on by the chamber, all deserved to be recognized for their role in the community, King said. But she admits that it can be hard to choose who to honor when there are so may people who get involved with Anahuac’s efforts and events.

“We’re such a small community that it takes a lot of volunteers,” Kind said.

Barnhart and other residents are confident in the knowledge that community involvement is something their town will never be lacking in.

“I’m very impressed with the way the community of Anahuac supports the Chamber of Commerce, the businesses and the town,” Barnhart said.

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