Breckenridge Texan

Michael Roach named Breckenridge Citizen of the Year at annual Chamber awards ceremony

Michael Roach named Breckenridge Citizen of the Year at annual Chamber awards ceremony
April 09
20:16 2021

By Carla McKeown/Breckenridge Texan

Stephens County Judge Michael Roach thought he was at the Breckenridge Chamber of Commerce’s annual awards ceremony on Thursday evening just to give the benediction concluding the event, but as Cassie Griffith, one of last year’s Citizens of the Year, read the description of this year’s honoree, he began to realize there might be more to it.

Michael Roach addresses the banquet crowd after being named the 2020 Breckenridge Citizen of the Year. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

“This person is someone who has dedicated his life to service. He works endlessly and tirelessly to care for our community and make Stephens County a great place to live,” Griffith said before revealing the award recipient’s name.

Griffith, who was the 2019 Citizen of the Year, along with her husband, Mike Griffith, went on to describe the work that the honoree had done throughout the COVID-19 crisis, arranging for coronavirus testing, gathering the latest medical news to keep the community informed, advocating for local businesses, and securing vaccines for area residents. She also mentioned the severe winter storm that hit this area in February and all of the work the award recipient did to help the citizens.

“However, it’s not this long, long list of good things he has done, and undoubtedly will continue to do…the thing that makes this recipient most deserving is the attitude and spirit which he serves. He is joyful and sincere. He lives by the Golden Rule and is dedicated to make our town a great place to live,” Griffith continued. “This person exemplifies loving your neighbor, he just does this so well. Finally, and most importantly, he demonstrates the heart and love of Christ daily in all that he does. We’re so thankful for this person. So it is with great pleasure and such happiness that I award Judge — and friend — Michael Roach, as this year’s very worthy (Citizen of the Year).”

As the banquet crowd gave a standing ovation, Roach accepted the award from Griffith and thanked the attendees, as well as his wife, Cori, and his parents, Frances and Winston C. Roach, and other family members, friends and community members.

“I was raised as a little kid in a pastor’s home, watching my mom and dad serve other people. And I just thought (helping others was a) response of being somebody who loved Jesus, and treating your neighbor as yourself,” Roach said. “And it’s been so refreshing to be able to live that out in county government. And it’s been an honor and pleasure.”

The awards ceremony took place Thursday, April 8, at First United Methodist Church’s Christian Life Center and included a meal catered by The Water Store.

Yuri Huntington accepts the Civic Organization of the Year award on behalf of the Rotary Club of Breckenridge. J.B. Sparks presented the award. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/ Breckenridge Texan)

In addition to naming the Citizen of the Year, the Chamber also announced the following 2020 awards: Civic Organization of the Year, the Rotary Club of Breckenridge; Educator of the Year, kindergarten teacher Latisha Bartley; Ag Citizen of the Year, Sally Satterwhite; and, Business of the Year, the Breckenridge Texan. Each year, the awards are presented for the previous year’s service.

The event also included a speech by Kevin Tutt of Tuscola and a presentation by the 2020-2021 Breckenridge TMCN Leadership team.

Tutt spoke to the crowd of mostly business owners and community leaders about the need to look at things from a different perspective and to welcome newcomers into the community, along with their ideas that may be new and different from what’s been done in the past.

Then, Breckenridge High School seniors Kayla Wood, Caroline Turner and Thomas Hamilton showed the improvements they made to the park on the southeast side of Breckenridge. The project is part of the Texas Municipal Community Network’s Leadership program, which invites teams from area high schools to take on projects that will improve their communities.

Before the traditional awards were presented, the Chamber and Jeff Hinkson, representing State Rep. Glenn Rogers, honored Virgil Moore, who recently retired as the executive director of the Breckenridge Economic Development Corporation. Hinkson read a letter from Rogers congratulating Moore on his retirement and presented him with a flag that had flown over the Texas Capitol building in Austin. Additionally, Lisa Echols and Cayce Malcuit, president of the Breckenridge Chamber of Commerce, presented Moore with an appreciation plaque for his guidance and support of the Chamber over the past 14 years.

J.B. Sparks, representing last year’s Civic Organization of the Year, Meals on Wheels, presented the 2020 award to the Rotary Club of Breckenridge, represented by Yuri Huntington, president of the organization. “This local organization has been a constant civic club in our community since 1929 with a motto that is ‘Service above self,'” Sparks said in introducing the winner. “Meaningful lunches at a local restaurant every Tuesday at noon is not the only thing this club does. Through their philanthropic visions, the organization strives to provide support for those in need, and works hard to make Breckenridge a better place to live.”

Kindergarten teacher Latisha Bartley accepts the Educator of the Year award from Breckenridge Chamber of Commerce President Cayce Malcuit. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/ Breckenridge Texan)

Next on the schedule, Malcuit presented the Educator of the Year Award to kindergarten teacher Latisha Bartley, who thought her husband would be getting an award at the ceremony. She was surprised when Malcuit began describing her, instead.

“This individual was described as kind, compassionate, dedicated, and as having so many amazing traits,” Malcuit said. “From our own Chamber board members to friends, colleagues and her superiors, our recipient was praised, especially for having a positive loving attitude. She is known for juggling many tasks with perfection. One co-worker said, ‘I don’t know how she gets all the things done she does.’

“As a wife, mom of three, and then active church and community member, she still manages to devote herself to educating her students. She makes learning fun for both students and fellow staff. She is also known for her endless creative activities that make learning assignments come to life. From dressing as a dinosaur to having students bring their teddy bears for hibernation day, she always goes a step above,” Malcuit continued. “One of my favorite stories is how during the school closings due to COVID, this amazing educator drove from home to home with a book, spread her blanket in the students’ yards and read a story to each of them. She truly goes the extra mile.”

Bartley expressed her thanks and said, “I’m very honored and blessed to be a part of Breckenridge and to work for our school district. I love my job, and I love my amazing team.”

Then, Echols presented Sally Satterwhite with the 2020 Ag Citizen of the Year award.

Sally Satterwhite accepts the Ag Citizen of the Year Award from Lisa Echols at Thursday night’s ceremony. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

“A hard working rancher ever mindful of the fact that conservation of our resources is a heritage, one that she has received, but also one that must be instilled in both her children and grandchildren,” Echols said about Satterwhite. “Working independently, rarely asking for help, you will see her helping others whenever their need arises. Staying up to date with market trends helps her know when her calves are ready to market.

“Sundays, however, are the Lord’s Day and you’ll find her at St. Andrew’s Anglican Church, where she serves on the vestry, a deaconess delegate, the altar guild director, youth groups sponsor, Sunday school teacher, choir member, or working at their local Bargain Box,” Echols continued. “Serving as the lone female on both the USDA Farm Service Agency and tax appraisal boards for over 10 years. She advocated for ranchers, both men and women. An avid supporter of Friends of Breckenridge, the Swenson Memorial Museum, Breckenridge Library, Stephens County Humane Society, local junior livestock show and band boosters fills her day beyond her BS Cattle Company. Most of all, our Ag Citizen, born and raised in Stephens County is a Buckaroo through and through. But mostly, she is a godly woman who willingly shares her faith and her heritage with others, making them better for having known her. It is my profound pleasure to award Sally Robertson Satterwhite 2020 Ag Citizen of the Year.”

Following the presentation of the Citizen of the Year Award to Roach, Traci Bounds presented the 2020 Business of the Year Award. Bounds was representing Copperleaf Properties, which was the 2019 Business of the Year.

As Bounds approached the podium and started speaking, Breckenridge Texan Publisher Tony Pilkington stood on the side of the large room, as he had for most of the night, scanning the crowd, prepared to snap a photo of the winner when it became evident who it would be. As the Breckenridge Texan editor, I was still seated at our table, taking notes. We had no idea who had been chosen as Business of the Year.

Traci Bounds with Copperleaf Properties presents the Business of the Year Award to Tony Pilkington and Carla McKeown with the Breckenridge Texan. (Photo courtesy of the Breckenridge Chamber of Commerce)

When Bounds mentioned that the business was relatively new, having started in 2017, I thought, “That’s a coincidence. That’s when we started the Breckenridge Texan.” As she continued to talk about how the business’ employees seemed to be at every event in town, I began to wonder. Tony and I exchanged glances across the crowded room when she got to the part about how “When COVID-19 began, this duo worked diligently to keep Breckenridge informed with unbiased, sustainable event coverage. With so many uncertainties, this business kept everyone informed and educated with solid information, often alleviating anxiety.”

To say that we were surprised and honored is an understatement. We truly did not expect it at all. Even our daughter, Anna Pilkington, had kept the secret and sneaked in the back door of the event to be there for us.

We do our best and hope that what we produce is not just noticed by others but also useful to others. So, it was gratifying to hear Bounds say, “Throughout 2020, if it happened in Breckenridge, they would be there to report it. Furthermore, they did the research and reported factual data … very hard to come by these days. This team defines themselves in quality and dependability, proven by their clear and concise information that is not inflated to generate anything other than the truth. As their mission states, they make a difference in the lives of people by informing and educating as a source for news, entertainment, and sports coverage.”

Once again, we would like to say thank you to the Breckenridge Chamber of Commerce for the honor and to the community of Breckenridge and Stephens County for the support of the Breckenridge Texan. We enjoy what we do and are honored to be award recipients along with the Rotary Club, Latisha Bartley, Sally Satterwhite and Michael Roach.

Virgil Moore accepted a plaque from the Breckenridge Chamber of Commerce and a flag from State Sen. Glenn Rogers’ office in honor of Moore’s recent retirement from the Economic Development Corp. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/ Breckenridge Texan)

 

Caroline Turner, Thomas Hamilton and Kayla Wood gave a presentation to the audience at the Breckenridge Chamber of Commerce’s annual awards ceremony about their recent project to renovate the park in southeast Breckenridge. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

Guest speaker Kevin Tutt of Tuscola talks to the banquet crowd about the need to look at things from a different perspective. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

First United Methodist Church pastor David Ferguson gave the invocation and led the audience in the pledges of allegiance. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

To see more photos from the Breckenridge Chamber of Commerce’s annual awards ceremony, click here to visit the Breckenridge Texan’s Photo Gallery.


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