By Cheri Lane
The Corsicana and Navarro County Chamber of Commerce held their Annual Awards Banquet, presented by Community National Bank and Trust of Texas, on February 15 at the Cook Center. This year’s theme was, “There’s No PLACE like CORSICANA,” and featured a delightful Wizard of Oz décor throughout the event. Tables were adorned with custom hot air balloon lights, tea lights, and historic images of Corsicana landmarks, displayed over ruby red sequined table furnishings, as well as sequined silver and Dorothy’s blue and white gingham. Following an invocation by Jennifer Chisholm, the luncheon was elegant and delicious. Chamber Vice President, Operations, Colleen Cox, presented the State of the Chamber Address. Further, Cox stated, “The Chamber collaborated with the Corsicana Culinary Arts Program, under the direction of instructor, Demi, and Chamber Member, Gary Crawford with Uncle G’s food truck, to cater today’s luncheon.” Cox further explained, “This allowed the students the experience of purchasing, preparing, and serving in a real-life work experience.”
Throughout the luncheon, many fantastic door prizes were awarded, graciously donated by Legacy Rehabilitation, Village at Heritage Oaks, Community National Bank and Trust of Texas, Angelita Vineyard and Winery, State Farm Insurance, Twilight Nursing Home, Bristol Hospice Pathways, City of Corsicana, Brookdale Senior Living, and Cassaro Winery.
The event was well-attended as the ballroom was packed with business owners, elected officials, government workers, volunteers, and more. Former board member and past Chair of the Chamber, and current Co-Chair for the Leadership class, Leslie D’Agostino, was emcee for the event. Ambassador Chair, Ashley Coker, presented the Doris Horne Ambassador of the Year Award and the Volunteer of the Year Award.
The Doris Home Ambassador of the Year Award is named after Doris Horne, who represented the ideal of all that it is to be an ambassador, including attending ribbon cuttings and functions, as well as much work behind the scenes. D’Agostino remarked, “This year’s recipient has helped literally hundreds of families in Navarro County. This person is committed to local business to keep the money and employment in Corsicana and Navarro County so it may flourish and grow.” This year’s winner is Douglas MacGregor of Corley Funeral Home.
The Volunteer of the Year is an award for the person who assists the Chamber by going above and beyond. D’Agostino stated, “Throughout the past few years, this recipient has served in many capacities at the Chamber.” This award goes to Michelle Yates of Community National Bank and Trust of Texas.
There were four nominees for the Outstanding Large Business of the Year award, presented by Laura Capehart, Chairman of the Board: Community National Bank and Trust of Texas, Linebarger Groggan Blair and Smith LLP, Polyguard Products, and T.L.H. Enterprises dba Rent A Center. Winner of this year’s award goes to Community National Bank and Trust of Texas. “The bank has been very supportive of community issues in 2022,” remarked D’Agostino. She elaborated, “They have given back around $400,000 to various non-profits, schools and other organizations. Employees of the bank provided over 1,000 volunteer hours to local organizations, holding multiple leadership positions, and hosting frequent community events at their branches. Bank employees donated over $20,000 to local charities.”
The Winner of the Outstanding Small Business of the Year goes to Bristol Hospice Pathways. “Their team in Corsicana is active in the Navarro County community,” states D’Agostino. She continues, “Their employees can be found out and about amongst the community, volunteering their time and visiting with residents of the local nursing homes.” This award was presented by Shelby Warren of Premier Realty.
The nominees for Non-Profit of the Year were: The Hope Center, Presbyterian Children’s Home and Services, and the YMCA. Winner this year went to the YMCA, presented by Maria Vargos, of Centex Citizens Credit Union. D’Agostino noted, “They offer programs to help support our community. The YMCA serves everyone in the community, and they never turn anyone away due to inability to pay.”
The last award of the event was for the Tom White Citizen of the Year. The nominees included Jesse Deleon, Dr. Kevin Feagan, Brad Haynie, and Rusty Hitt, and presenting the award was John Manolakis of Navarro Regional Hospital. Brad Haynie was the winner, accepted in his honor by his wife, Lori, and daughter, Carly. “Brad was loved by all and served on pretty much every non-profit board in Navarro County at some point in the last 40 years. The fact that he was known as ‘Mr. Corsicana’ reflects that he spent his life serving Corsicana,” stated D’Agostino. She continued, “He and his family gave their time to so many events to make Corsicana a better place.”
In closing, Capehart presented the Past Chairman’s Award and the Chairman’s Address and Closing. The Award Sponsors for this annual event included Centex Citizens Credit Union, Courtney Neiman of Premier Realty, and Navarro Regional Hospital. Silver Sponsors included Congressman Jake Ellzey, Old Mexican Inn Restaurant and Cantina, PROPERTY TECH Realty, Ebby Halliday, Republic Services, and True Value Company, as well as other Table and Walk of Fame Sponsors.
For more information about this and other upcoming events presented by the Corsicana and Navarro County Chamber of Commerce, visit www.corsicana.org.