Breckenridge Texan

Breckenridge Chamber of Commerce presents annual awards at banquet

Breckenridge Chamber of Commerce presents annual awards at banquet
March 13
14:53 2022

By Carla McKeown/Breckenridge Texan

Saturday’s annual Breckenridge Chamber of Commerce banquet and awards ceremony was an evening of accolades, auctions and announcements as the organization’s members gathered and were joined by guests, including local and state leaders.

The highlight of the event at Chandelier Ridge was the awards presentation, which included:

  • Citizens of the Year — Darrell and Susan Shortes
  • Business of the Year — Pit Stop Bar-B-Q
  • Ag Citizen of the Year — Jerry Toland
  • Educator of the Year — Linda Sims
  • Civic Organization of the Year — Café Love

The Shorteses were introduced as the Citizens of the Year by Chamber CEO and Executive Director Colton Buckley, who talked about their hard work and dedication to the Breckenridge and Stephens County communities, as well as to their own business ventures. They are the owners of Raydon Inc., a construction company based in Breckenridge. They also are involved in ranching and other activities in the area, including the Stephens County Junior Livestock Show.

After accepting the award, Darrell Shortes thanked everyone and talked about the importance of being respectful to everyone who works for a business.

When the Business of the Year award was announced, the staff of Pit Stop Bar-B-Q, including owner Rodney Hartfield, was busy putting away the remnants from the meal they had just served as the banquet’s caterer. In addition to other community contributions, Hartfield and Pit Stop stepped up during the height of the coronavirus pandemic and fed local children who were at risk of going hungry because the schools had closed and they didn’t have access to the school breakfasts and lunches.

“I’d just like to say thank you, thank you to this town and to the Chamber,” Hartfield said after accepting the award. “We made it, but it’s all because of all of you people. I really appreciate all y’all have done for me and for my family. Any time I asked and needed anything, everybody came out and supported us. And, I’d just like to say thank you.”

In introducing Jerry Toland as the Ag Citizen of the Year, Sally Satterwhite, last year’s recipient, detailed his long record of services to the community, including his years in the classroom, his volunteer efforts with numerous, local organizations and boards, such as the Stephens County Tax Appraisal District and agriculture-related boards. Additionally, he served more than 20 years in local, elected office and has been dedicated to the promotion of Stephens County’s agriculture industry and the next generation of ag leaders.

Even after 50 years dedicated to education, the Educator of the Year, Linda Sims, continues to teach, serving as a Title-1 Math Teacher at South Elementary. She was introduced by last year’s award recipient Latisha Bartley. Sims’ list of accomplishments includes developing math games to assist her young students to find their love of arithmetic, providing musical support to the students who attend First Baptist Church, receiving accolades from the National Teachers Association, serving as a Junior High Principal and as an administrator with the school district.

Charles Evers accepted the Civic Organization of the Year award on behalf of Café Love. The project is hosted by First United Methodist Church. Volunteers provide warm meals, as well as socialization, once a week for the community’s homeless citizens, as well as for anyone in need of a meal or company.

State Rep. Glenn Rogers attended the event and presented plaques to outgoing Chamber board members Chris Curtis and Cindi Woodward.

In addition to the awards presentation, the event also included a live and silent auction to raise funds for the Chamber. Jonathan Newton, president of the Chamber, held a brief business meeting for the Chamber to reduce the number of directors on the organization’s board from 15 to seven. The change will make the Chamber a more focused and impactful group, Newton said.

Buckley also made an announcement about the organization of the Chamber and several other local organizations. Click here to read more about that announcement.

Rodney Hartfield received the Business of the Year Award on behalf of his restaurant Pit Stop Bar-B-Q. He was presented with the award by Carla McKeown, the editor of the Breckenridge Texan, which won the award last year. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

Jerry Toland was named the Ag Citizen of the Year and received his award from last year’s award winner Sally Satterwhite. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

Linda Sims was named the Educator of the Year, accepting her award from last year’s recipient Latisha Bartley. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

Charles Evers accepted the Civic Organization of the Year award on behalf of Café Love. He received the award from Yuri Huntington, who received the award last year on behalf of the Rotary Club of Breckenridge. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

Darrell and Susan Shortes accepted the Citizens of the Year award from Colton Buckley, CEO and Executive Director of the Breckenridge Chamber of Commerce. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/ Breckenridge Texan)

Cutline, top photo: Darrell Shortes says thank you to the crowd at the Breckenridge Chamber of Commerce’s annual banquet and awards presentation. Darrell and his wife, Susan, were presented with the Citizens of the Year award by Colton Buckley, CEO and Executive Director of the Chamber. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)


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