Thursday, March 26, 2009
Chamber honors community
spirit and volunteers
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer
MABANK–Key people who make living in the Cedar Creek Lake area a compassionate place were recognized and honored Monday, during the annual community awards banquet sponsored by the Greater Cedar Creek Lake Chamber of Commerce.
Teacher of the Year awards were given to one person from each Mabank school campus, as well as the most outstanding volunteer at the Eustace school district.
Outstanding volunteers were recognized with citizen and lifetime service awards, and awards in memory of beloved community members whose contributions inspire greater service.
“Our mission is to promote, encourage, recommend and recognize one another when it is merited,” master of ceremonies Shannon Henderson said during opening remarks. “For is so doing we raise the level of excellence.”
By popular vote of community members, the outstanding Citizen of the Year award went to Sharon Strickland, an employee of Home Instead and the caterer for the award dinner, held at Mabank High School.
Strickland also received the Kathy Kendrick Volunteer of the Year award, presented by Kathy Kendrick herself.
Strickland’s volunteer activities include administrating the American Red Cross Shelter in Mabank during Hurricane Ike, preparing and delivering meals to shut-ins on Thanksgiving and Christmas, organizing and launching the Senior Health Fair in Mabank and serving as the Chamber Ambassador Club president. All this while nurturing a 23-year-old marriage and being there for her three children.
“I was just so excited to present this award to Sharon. She is so deserving,” Kendrick told The Monitor.
Strickland was nearly speechless at the double honor and reminded those in attendance that they helped out tremendously during Hurricane Ike.
“I’m totally amazed at this community and blessed to raise my children in this type of community,” she said.
The Jean Nichols Lifetime Service Award was presented by last year’s honoree, Eston Williams.
“I don’t know about this group,” he said. “Last year, you gave this award to someone named Eston and this year to a person named Theodora,” otherwise known as Teddie Harpole.
The list of her volunteer involvement is long indeed. Since coming to the lake in 1980, Harpole has been heavily involved in Special Olympics, is a Meals on Wheels volunteer, active with the Literary Club, Cedar Creek Women’s Club and promoting the Tri-County Library.
She organized the Parade of Homes and is currently leading the Garden Club in its efforts to install a pocket park on Market Street. She also is a director for the Mabank Economic Development Corporation.
“You don’t do for the community alone,” Harpole said. “Thank you for working with me and for this wonderful honor.”
Those raising the bar of excellence in teaching at Mabank High School are English teacher Sherry Beck; at the junior high science teacher Mandi Brown; intermediate social studies teacher Charlotte Purl, second grade Lakeview Elementary teacher Kathy Runyon, Central Elementary third grade teacher Kristin Clark and at Southside Elementary, specialized instructor Melissa Smith.
“Teachers are absolutely the most wonderful people in the world,” presenter Don Richardson said.
Eustace Superintendent Dr. Coy Holcombe presented the Eustace School Bell Award to Athletic Booster Club president Shelly Compton.
Lana Mock presented two scholarships for $250 to Eustace seniors Brandon Cawthon and Jaclynn Bless.
The son of Nathan Cawthon, Brandon has distinguished himself in the dramatic arts and plans to attend Texas A&M’s environmental studies program. Student athlete Bless, daughter of Laura and Jack Ward, plans to enroll in Carrollton State College majoring in history and continuing her participation in track.
The Mary Helen Myrick Award for community spirit and volunteerism was presented to a “true son of Mabank,” Dick Bramblitt.
His work to record 30 oral histories and preserve them on a DVD available at Tri-County Library was hailed as a grand achievement in a long, long list of community involvement, including the formation of the Boe’s Cafe Reunion and e-newsletter and work with the Kaufman County Veterans Park.
“I knew Mary Helen Myrick all my life. Its such an honor to stand here with this award in her honor,” Bramblitt said.
The Don Legg Award went to Dr. Jim Collinsworth, who has served on the Kemp school board for 10 years, has led the Kemp Kiwanis Club, has served on numerous advisory boards and has been involved with HeadStart and the Kemp Homecoming, in addition to his work as a veterinarian with Lakeside Animal Clinic.
“I knew Don Legg and how much Kemp meant to him. I think he’d be pleased with the growth in Kemp,” he said.
Lastly, the chamber bestowed its Ambassador of the Year award to someone who never misses a ribbon cutting and who is a past Lifetime Service Award winner – Linda Fernald.
The spirit of volunteerism was rich Monday night, as members of the Pacesetters served the sit-down fare and a long list of donors made the beautiful tabletops possible, including the attractive spring floral arrangements designed by Bruce Easley/Capt’n “B” Florist.
Monitor Photos/Kerry Yancey
Mabank school campus Teachers of the Year Sherry Beck/MHS (left), Mandi
Brown/MJH, Charlotte Purl/MIS, Kristin Clark/Central and Melissa Smith/Southside.
Not present due to illness is Kathy Runyon/Lakeview.
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