Steve Smith, Citizen of the Year

Ruben Cantu-Rodriguez
Master of Ceremonies Ryan Lange.

BALLINGER– Steve Smith was named Citizen of the Year, Dankworth Packing earned Business of the Year honors, and Toby Virden was awarded Jr. Chamber Citizen of the Year last Thursday, February 27, at the Ballinger Chamber of Commerce Annual Banquet held at the Ballinger Community Center.

The chamber also presented its new officers at the 2014 banquet and honored retiring directors. Dee Dee Peterson took over as new Chair, Drew Springer is the new Chair-Elect, Lindsey Byler is the incoming Vice-Chair, Todd Freeman was introduced as Treasurer, and Becca Jones was named Secretary.

Continuing directors are Sandra Clack, Sherry Coats, Sharon Staires, Jessicca Hallmark and outgoing Chair Brian Campbell.

New directors for 2014 are Amy Page, Terri Willborn, Tammy Blair and Lana Flint, while retiring directors are Jolene McBurney, Malisia Goetz, and Steve Smith.

Kay Smith, Steve’s wife and 2013 Citizen of the Year, presented the 2014 award.

“He has been an intricate part of the community, he’s been involved in Lions Club, Rotary Club, the Ballinger Chamber of Commerce and his church, he also served several years on the District Education Committee for the school district and has served in the Ballinger Chamber of Commerce Board,” said Kay.

“He promoted the city, supports the local churches in their fundraisers, he is a deacon of his church and is also involved in the Carnegie Library fundraisers,” she added.

Banquet’s keynote speaker was Texas State Representative Drew Darby. Darby recognized the need to address education, infrastructure and water issues in Texas, and encouraged everyone to actively participate in decision-making by exercising their right to vote.

Darby said that turnout for the 2014 early voting for the March primaries has been one of the lowest throughout the state, and urged everyone to participate and help West Texas to be represented in Austin.

“We’ve been dealing with a urban vs. rural issue in Texas,” Darby said. “ Two thirds of our representatives are located east of I-35, there are 25 representatives in Harris County alone while we have 19 in West Texas, we need to make sure that the people on the ballot is ensuring our way of life.”