Breckenridge Texan

Griffiths honored as Citizens of the Year at annual banquet

Griffiths honored as Citizens of the Year at annual banquet
February 18
11:43 2020

As last year’s Citizen of the Year, Barbara Thornton, described this year’s honorees to the attendees at the Breckenridge Chamber of Commerce Awards Ceremony, a small group of people began to sneak into the banquet hall. When Cassie and Mike Griffith were revealed as the 2019 Citizens of the Year, their family came out of their hiding place and joined the crowd in congratulating the couple.

Breckenridge ninth grader Montana Fade reads her award-winning essay at the ceremony. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/ Breckenridge Texan)

Joining the Griffiths as honorees at the annual awards ceremony on Thursday, Feb. 13, are Jackie Grissom, 2019 Ag Citizen of the Year and Copperleaf Properties as 2019 Business of the Year.

In addition to awarding the traditional honors, this year the Chamber added two new awards to the ceremony. Robert Burchett was named the 2019 Educator of the Year, and Meals on Wheels was the 2019 Civic Organization of the Year.

In her lead-up to the announcement, Thornton described the Griffiths. “This year’s Citizen of the Year goes to two people. They both grew up in Breckenridge, graduated from Breckenridge High School, moved away but returned to raise their three kids in Breckenridge and begin to strive to make Breckenridge a better place,” she said.

Thornton went on to describe their involvement in many organizations and activities, including Friends of Historic Breckenridge and the National Theatre, Dr. Goodall’s House mentor program, Meals on Wheels, Fine Arts Center and many others.

“This couple works well as a team, and also individually in so many areas, both publicly and privately, to make Breckenridge a better place,” Thornton said.

The Griffiths went up on stage to receive their award, and Mike addressed the standing ovation. “I’m just blown away,” he said. “We totally weren’t expecting this. Thank you very much.”

Sixth-grader Alyssa Seabourn reads her winning “What I Love About Breckenridge” essay at the Chamber awards banquet. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

Chamber President Chris Curtis presented the other awards. In introducing Copperleaf Properties as the Business of the Year, he said, “It’s hard to go anywhere around Breckenridge and not see somewhere they have left their sign, literally. This business consistently supports our community in lots of ways. This business contributed greatly to helping ensure the success of our local CrimeStoppers program, which has already been a positive program and is helping make our community a better place.”

Carolyn and Steffan Moore, Copperleaf owners, accepted the award. “I’m humbled, number one, and I’m very thankful,” Carolyn said. “Thank you for recognizing us. We love our little town, and we want to do everything we can to make it better.”

The 2019 Ag Citizen of the Year was Jackie Grissom. In making the announcement, Curtis said, “Breckenridge is fortunate to have a lot of people in the background, doing things to improve our community, who never expect any recognition for their good deeds. Some things said about this recipient (include): You can tell from his ranch holdings that his first love is agriculture. Drive by any of his ranch properties, and they are some of the best taken care of properties in Stephens County. … For several years, he has provided ag students with project show animals at little or no cost to the students. … He gives back to his community year after year.”

Jackie Grissom couldn’t be at the ceremony, and Brett Grissom accepted the award on his behalf.

The awards ceremony included two new awards, the Civic Organization of the Year and the Educator of the Year. The honored organization is Meals on Wheels, which provides meals to home-bound residents of the community. Peggy Holder, who runs the organization couldn’t be at the ceremony, so J.B. Sparks, who helps deliver the meals, accepted the award for the organization.

BHS math teacher Robert Burchett accepts the first Educator of the Year Award, presented by the Breckenridge Chamber of Commerce at the annual banquet. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/ Breckenridge Texan)

As he introduced the Educator of the Year, Curtis said, “The teacher selected this year embodies what a successful educator is. He is very, very invested in the success of all of the students at BISD. This teacher is at all of the school activities, cheering our kids on, volunteering his time at various school events and just really being our children’s biggest cheerleader.”

Robert Burchett, a Breckenridge High School math teacher, received the award. “We have some very, very awesome kids in this town,” he said. “Sometimes, they get a bad rap, but don’t we all sometimes. Just to let you know, the Breckenridge community, the Chamber, there’s good things happening in Breckenridge in regards to these kids, and I’m just glad to be a very, very small part of it. Thank you very much. Go Bucks!”

In a special presentation, Virgil Moore, on behalf of the Breckenridge Economic Development Corporation and the Breckenridge Industrial Foundation, honored R.E. Dye Manufacturing Corp. for its 100th year in business.

Virgil Moore presented an award to Coby Dye, president of R.E. Dye Manufacturing, in honor of the company’s 100th year in business. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

“There are few manufacturers in the United States – in fact, in the entire world – that started a company, that have been headquartered in the same city and have been continuously and successfully owned and operated by the same family for more than 100 years,” Moore said. “Tonight, the Breckenridge Economic Development Corporation and the Breckenridge Industrial Foundation would like to borrow the Chamber’s stage just for a second to honor a local manufacturer that has recently reached this amazing milestone, R.E. Dye Manufacturing.”

Moore presented the company with an award for being Stephens County’s longest, continuously operating, same-family-owned employer. “Breckenridge is extremely fortunate to have R.E. Dye Manufacturing in our community,” Moore said. “Over the past 100 years – we don’t know an exact number – but we know they’ve employed thousands of employees, many of whom spent their entire careers, spanning 30 to 60 years, at Dye.”

Accepting the award on behalf of the company and the Dye family was Coby Dye, president of R.E. Dye Manufacturing

“I want to thank you, Virgil, and the Breckenridge Economic Development Corporation and the Breckenridge Industrial Foundation for taking the time to honor us in this 100th year,” Dye said. “One of the things I spoke about when we had a celebration at the company, was who all had helped us get here. And, you couldn’t name just individuals. What it came down to was that nearly everybody in the town had touched our lives or they had worked for us or knew somebody who had worked for us. And, so, I would like to thank the Chamber, the citizens of Breckenridge and Stephens County and all of the employees we’ve had over the past 100 years. Thanks for making the last 100 years possible.”

Also, this year’s awards banquet included an essay contest on the topic of “What I Love About Breckenridge” for local students. The two winners, ninth grader Montana Fade and sixth grader Alyssa Seabourn, read their essays at the event.

The guest speaker at the event, which was held in the First United Methodist Church Christian Life Center, was Cleo Stewart Jaton, a yoga and meditation instructor from Woodville. She spoke to the crowd about using the yoga in everyday life.

Carrie Holson, Chamber Executive Director, welcomed everyone to the event, and Pit Stop Barbecue catered the meal. The banquet committee included Curtis, Cayce Malcuit, Luke Grider, Jenny Coffee, Shelly Jackson and Cindi Woodward.  Diane Williams, a representative of U.S. Rep. Mike Conaway’s office, presented each of Thursday night’s winners with a certificate from the congressman.

Carolyn and Steffan Moore receive the Business of the Year Award and a certificate from U.S. Rep. Mike Conaway at the Breckenridge Chamber of Commerce’s awards ceremony. Pictured with the Moores are Diane Williams from Conaway’s office and Chamber President Chris Curtis. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/ Breckenridge Texan)

Brett Grissom, center, accepts the Ag Citizen of the Year Award on behalf of Jackie Grissom, who could not be at the ceremony. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

J.B Sparks, right, accepts the 2019 Civic Organization of the Year Award on behalf of the local Meals on Wheels program. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

Cleo Stewart Jaton, a yoga and meditation instructor from Woodville, was the guest speaker at the awards ceremony. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

Carrie Holson, executive director of the Chamber, welcomed guests and introduced the guest speaker at the event. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

Story by Carla McKeown/Breckenridge Texan

Cutline, top photo: Mike and Cassie Griffith, center accept the 2019 Citizens of the Year Award at the annual Breckenridge Chamber of Commerce awards ceremony. Last year’s Citizen of the Year, Barbara Thornton, right, presented them with the award. Diane Williams, left, representing U.S. Rep. Mike Conaway’s office, presented them with a certificate from the congressman. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

 

Editor’s note: This article was updated at 6:15 p.m. Feb. 18 to correct Brett Grissom’s name.

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