During the 107th annual Brownwood Area Chamber of Commerce Awards Banquet Thursday night at the Brownwood Coliseum, Dr. Stephen Kelly was honored with the Groner Pitts Lifetime of Service Award.
“Many people TALK about doing, but this man actually DOES — so he has made a difference in the lives of countless men and women in uniform,” said Brownwood Mayor Stephen Haynes, who was reading comments from Brig. Gen. Peter Atkinson — a friend of Kelly. “I am proud to consider him a personal friend and a great friend of the U.S. military. I can’t think of anyone more deserving of this honor.”
Kelly operates Heart of Texas Outpatient Cataract Center, located at 100 South Park Drive, and has been chairman of the chamber’s military affairs committee and co-chair of the legislative affairs committee for many years. He was also named both man of the year and business of the year in 2000 and also was named “Mr. Amistat” by the International Good Neighbor Council of Del Rio and Acuna, Mexcio, for building an eye clinic.
According to Haynes, the Groner Pitts Lifetime of Service Award is presented to a resident who gives more back to the community then what they could ever be paid back. Previous recipients of the award include Patti Jordan in 2012, Leonard Underwood in 2011, Bert Massey in 2010; J. Fred Perry in 2009; Putter Jarvis in 2008; and Stuart Coleman received the original award in 2007.
The 2013 Man and Woman of the Year awards went to Dr. Don Bostic and Tammy Robinson. This year’s Professional of the Year is Judge Steve Ellis. Mette Lundsgaard was named Volunteer of the Year and Boys & Girls Club of Brown County was named Community Partner. Chamber ambassador of the year went to Daniel Hutson.
Good Neighbor awards were presented to Clay Riley, Kim Peterson, Leslie Courington, Steve Blake, Tim Espinoza and Heart of Texas Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3278, Ladies Auxiliary and Men’s Auxiliary.
The Runaway Train was named the chamber’s Small Business of the Year; Weakley-Watson Hardware and Sporting Goods was the Medium Business of the Year; and Loadcraft Industries received Large Business of the Year honors.
As a part of the banquet, Eric McNeese, outgoing chairman of the board, announced the success of the Total Resource Campaign, which raised $119,000. Edda Ratliff, Warren Yehl and Kim Peterson were recognized as the top three fund-raisers, with Peterson earning the top spot with $30,000.
McNeese recognized the retiring board members — Don Bostic, Dr. Bill Ellis, Ray Garza, Brian Knight and Steve Weckwerth — before he introduced Chip Champ, the incoming chairman.
Before announcing the 2013 Leadership Brownwood graduates, Champ introduced the 2013-2014 board of directors, which included McNeese, Peterson, Aaron Diaz, Jill Evans, John Guest, Toni Hill, Priscilla Monson, Debbie Morelock, David Robnett, Josh Stegemoller, Richard Russell, Marisha Stidom, Sam Waldrop and Paul Underwood.
Graduates from 2013 Leadership Brownwood were Camp, Peterson, James Barnes, Michael Bulter, L.V. Coffee, Keith Ellison, Jeremy Furniss, Sarah Haley, Daniel Hutson, Betty Jones, Vicki Kite, Brent Moseley, Dawn Norway, Sergio Portillo, James Simmons, Jay Smith, Chris Ann Smith, Candace Wilson and Christi Wynn.