To the editor:

The Brownwood Area Chamber of Commerce has a strong history of helping visitors and newcomers with information about Brownwood and assistance in coordinating events. We typically assist more than 40 groups per year with their events in the Brownwood area. Some of these are annual and some of these are one-time events.

In the case of the Texas 4000, an event for the American Cancer Society, we were first contacted by Val Hope, team coordinator for Texas 4000, in late January with a request for assistance in finding free lodging and a local group to host a free barbecue dinner.

Val mentioned using a gymnasium, so I directed her to the Brownwood ISD. In response to her request for a local group to host, I suggested the local bicycle shop, because they have connections and contact information for bicycle enthusiasts. I asked Val to let me know if the contacts I gave her were able to meet her needs. Two weeks later, I contacted her, and she had not yet spoken with BISD officials. In April, I e-mailed Val to check the status of the event, and she informed me that Mrs. Vonne Cornett at the Bike Peddler had been a huge help.

The Chamber often provides goodie bags to visiting groups. Through a local volunteer, we offered to provide a small gift to each of the Texas 4000 riders, but we expressed concern that the additional baggage may be cumbersome. When we didnít hear back about our offer, we assumed that the gifts were not needed.

In all of our correspondence back and forth, I asked Val to let me know how things were going, and if the Chamber could be of further assistance. As far as I knew, everything was falling into place. We are thankful that Mrs. Cornett and the local bicycle enthusiasts acted as the Brownwood hosts for this group. We regret that they feel our assistance did not meet their expectations. If the event coordinators were having difficulty, I wish they had let me know. The Chamber would have gladly provided additional assistance.

We enjoy working with visitors every day; they are the reason we do what we do. We are thankful for every group that comes to Brownwood, and for every volunteer who plays a part in making Brownwood a special place.

Emily Crawford

Tourism & Marketing Manager

Brownwood Area Chamber of Commerce