By The Banner Staff
The Duncan Banner
Fifty-eight individuals, businesses and organizations have been nominated to receive one of five prestigious community awards at the Duncan Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s annual banquet in February.
Winners in the categories for Man of the Year, Woman of the Year, Free Enterprise, Community Improvement and the Al Hinshaw Community Spirit Award have already been selected, but Chris Deal, president of the chamber, said he is sworn to secrecy about the final choices.
“A lot of the competition was really close,” he said. “Everyone who was nominated seemed a worthy candidate and I believe the community will be pleased with those whose names will be added to the respective lists of honorees.”
The winners will be revealed Feb. 6 during the banquet at the L.B. and Ola Simmons Community Activities Center.
Former Lt. Gov. Jari Askins will serve as mistress of ceremonies for the event. Trumpeter David Hooten and guitarists Edgar Cruz will provide special entertainment.
A sellout crowd of 350 people is set.
The awards program began in 1977.
“Everything for this year’s meeting is falling into place,” Deal said. “We’ve had more nominees than ever and we think the quality of those nominated is simply outstanding. We’re very, very pleased and it certainly speaks well of our community that such a wide variety of leadership has been recognized.”
The nominating process began weeks ago as chamber leaders sought recommendations from the community. The banquet committee trimmed the list in each category to three finalists. The board, voting by secret ballot, selected the winners.
“We worked very hard to democratize the process,” Deal said.
Specific vocational accomplishments were considered, but what nominees did away from their jobs in performing community service was a significant factor as well.
Nominees, by category, in alphabetical order are:
Woman of the Year: Jan Cole, Demetria Cox, Gina Flesher, Haljean Gillipie, Loisdawn Jones, Cindy Reynolds, Nancy Roop, Haylee Root, Sandy Stewart, Betty Smith, Bonnie Talley and Vicki Vermedahl.
Man of the Year: Kelsey Avants, Ed Darling, Eric Davis, Chris Deal, Jeramy Haas, Michael Harris, Dr. Jimmy Jones, Che’ Miller, Arnold Nelson, Hal Pennington and Curtis Thornton.
Community Improvement: Advanced Medical Supply, Burger King, Byford Auto Group, Dressler’s Academy, Duncan Affordable Housing (2nd Street), Duncan Family Eye Care, Duncan Youth Shelter, Interurban, Leadership Duncan Class XVI (Kiddieland fence), Payne Jewelry, Stockman’s, The 905 (Fuqua Park) and The Library at Elm Terrace Apartments.
Free Enterprise Award: Byford Auto Group, Chisholm Corner Convenience Stores, Duncan Affordable Housing (2nd Street), Duncan Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors, Janet Peters, The Tilley Group, Triumph Carpet Care, Varai Health and Wilco.
Al Hinshaw Community Spirit Award: Betty Beck, Eric Davis, Duncan Noon Lions Club, Tara Harper, Joe Henderson, Alan and Lisa Huckabaa, Melvin Jones, Reggie Pennypacker, Casey Rains, Betty Smith, Bonnie Talley, Curtis Thornton and The Tilley Group.