A city would not be a community without residents and businesses that contribute to making it a better, safer and healthier place to be.
Duncan Chamber of Commerce & Industry takes time each year to recognize the outstanding people and entities that make Duncan the special place it is during its annual Chamber Banquet. This year’s banquet will be at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 14 at the Simmons Center.
“This is the largest event for the Chamber and we’re very excited,” said Sandy Stewart, director of investor services for the Chamber. “I’m extremely excited that this is the first event I get to spearhead.”
While about 30 percent of funds for the Chamber comes from membership fees, the rest comes from fundraising and the banquet brings in the biggest amount. The theme for this year is “Chamber Jazz,” which the surroundings and entertainment will reflect.
“We’re going for a wine and jazz type of feel, so there will be a wine station,” Stewart said. “Jermaine Mondaine will be the entertainment this year and he is bringing an ensemble with him for a full band.”
Mondaine is a board member for the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame and a renowned saxophone player who has more than 24 years of playing experience. His music has been influenced by both jazz and gospel, creating a unique style. Those he will be bringing to play with him are accomplished musicians as well.
Duncan High School’s Jazz Band will also perform as people enter the event. Meals will be catered by Duncan Regional Hospital. This year, the Chamber added to their sponsorship opportunities and the Star sponsors for this event are DRH and Duncan Area Economic Development Foundation. These sponsors are responsible for bringing in the entertainment.
“We anticipate a good night and there are only 20 tickets left, so I think we’ll be sold out in the next week or so,” said Stewart, who encourages those who don’t have tickets yet to do so quickly.
Highlighting the evening are the awards that will be presented to individuals and businesses who improve the quality of Duncan. The winners of these awards are selected by the Chamber Banquet Committee. The nominees are presented to the committee who hear input from the board of directors and staff and selections are made from there.
One of the newest awards is the Al Hinshaw Community Spirit Award, which was given to its namesake post-mortem last year. This will be the first year for the award to be given to someone else.
“We have a good group of people nominated for that this year,” Stewart said.
The Al Hinshaw Community Spirit Award recognizes individuals who exemplify the enthusiastic “can do” spirit of Duncan through their volunteer efforts to accomplish great challenges for the benefit of the community. Nominated: Cindy Reynolds, Dana Schoening, Gabriel Amaya, Gina Flesher, Haylee Root, Michael Harris, Sharon Burum, Tammy Johnson, and Tara Harper.
This year’s nominees for the Woman of the Year award, which recognizes a woman whose outstanding civic contributions and leadership have been in the pursuit of an improved quality of life in Duncan, are: Betty Apple, Karla Buchanan, Debbie Parks, Dr. Demetra Cox, Dina Atnip, Dr. Kim Hennan, Gina Flesher, Haljean Gillispie, Kathy Gibson, Marilyn Hugon, Tammy Johnson, and Tara Harper.
The Man of the Year recognizes a man whose outstanding civic contributions and leadership have been in the pursuit of an improved quality of life in Duncan. Nominees: Bill Gossett, Blaine Smith, Ed Darling, JD Taylor, Jim Frieda, Michael Harris, and Russ Stewart.
Community Improvement Award goes to a business establishment that has made a significant improvement to the physical appearance of their property during 2012. Nominees are Burger King, Dr. Brendan Fritts O.D.P.C., Eclectic Echo, Edward Jones ~ Kelsey Avants, Holiday Inn Express, and Jonny’s.
Finally, the Free Enterprise Award honors individuals or organizations that have strengthened and fostered the development of free enterprise. This year’s nominees are: American Scents, Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar, Chisholm Corner Convenience Stores, Crutcher’s Western Wear, Distinctive-Décor, and Duncan Regional Hospital.
To reserve tickets for the banquet, call the Duncan Chamber of Commerce at 580-255-3644.
Sponsorship opportunities are still available and include three more spots for Star Sponsor, Full Table Sponsor and Half Table Sponsor.