Fairbairn, Parks, Thurner & Aguilera Honored at Lamar Chamber Banquet

The Lamar Eagles Lodge #3898 held a capacity crowd for the 93rd annual Lamar Chamber of Commerce Banquet this past Thursday evening, January 30. The audience saw awards presented for Citizen of the Year, the Humanitarian Award, the Honker of the Year and a special observance from Voces Unidas for Janea Aguilera and presentation of their Spirit Award by Gerry Jenkins.

Past President, Denise Carder thanked her board members for all theie work, with a special thank you included for Bobbi Ketels, the Chamber’s new office manager. Carder praised her as being a “God send” for all her work, as the two of them “learned, struggled and laughed together” through the year. Carder noted in her address some highlights from the past year including adding 17 new Chamber members, the 9/11 Remembrance Tribute and parade from downtown Main Street to the Prowers County Fairgrounds, the Pedal the Plains bike ride which came to Lamar and the community logistics that went into playing host for over 800 riders and she turned her focus to 2014, thanking Shawna Hodge, Lamar Main Street Director, for securing Lamar as host city for the American Legion State Conference.

Incoming Chamber President, Lisa Thomas, noted that although she has been a Lamar resident for only five years, she knew there was a special quality about the town that made it different from any other place she had lived. Thomas said the theme for the annual banquet is “Community, Commitment, Challenges and Change”. She told the audience we are all partners through our commitment to creating a healthy and prosperous economic future for Lamar and that we are no strangers to challenges, asking the audience to challenge themselves to grow and open their minds to innovation. She added that, “Our roles as individuals and business owners are to guide change for the betterment of our community and our families.”

The annual awards presentation is one of the highlights of the banquet, as citizens are honored for their exceptional abilities which they commit to making their community a better place in which to live. Linda Fairbairn, former Director of the Prowers County Department of Social Services, was honored as Citizen of the Year for her accomplishments in that area in a career that spanned four decades. Fairbairn announced earlier last year that she would retire at the end of 2013. Betty Park, the director of the Mary and Martha Food Pantry in Lamar, was honored as Humanitarian of the Year. She served in that capacity for 12 years, ending in November 2013. The Pantry closed its doors at the end of that year as no one was willing to assume the chores and responsibilities and work for free as Betty had. Axel Thurner, owner of C.F. Maier in Lamar, was selected as Honker of the Year. Thurner was selected for his constant dedication to the organization, often volunteering and donating materials and equipment from his business to aid the Honkers in their yearly activities, welcoming new businesses and managers or owners to the Lamar area.

The Voces Unidas Spirit Award was presented to Janea Aguilera. The young teenager has shown tremendous courage and resolve in combating several forms of cancer, diagnosed when she was 12 years old. Janea made some difficult choices regarding her treatment and changes in her quality of life that resulted from those decisions. The letter describing her numerous operations, also displayed an unwavering spirit and resolve to meet whatever obstacles she encountered in her young life. Janea thanked the audience and the Lamar community for their on-going support, emotionally and through numerous donations.

This year’s board of directors includes: Lisa Thomas as President, Laurie Larrick as Vice-President, Kevin Swanson as Treasurer, Tera Bender as Secretary, directors Norma Swanson, Lance Maggart, Sherry Walls, Kynlee Emick, Letisia Garcia, Michelle Crown, Mark Carrigan, Vickie Dykes, Jenna Davis, Denise Carder as Past President and Bobbi Ketels as Office Manager.

By Russ Baldwin

Brought to you by: Colorado East Bank & Trust


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