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Smithville businesses, citizens honored at Chamber banquet

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    Former Chamber president Adena Lewis (left) and Smithville Mayor Scott Saunders (center) present 2020 Chamber chair Jill Strube with the Citizen of the Decade Award. Photos by Dock Jackson
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    A&S Electric won the Business of the Year award.
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    The Smithville Empty Bowl Project won the Organization of the Year award.
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    Dorothy Richards was the recipient of the second annual Renee D. Blaschke Keep Smithville Beautiful Award.
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    The family of former city council member and veteran Charles Harris receive an award of special recognition on his behalf, since he earlier was recognized by the French Legion of Honor with the Chevalier de la Legion of Honor Award.
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    Outgoing Chair Ana Murray (left) thanks members for their support during her year as chair Chamber President April Daniels and 2020 Chair Jill Strube look on.
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    Janice Bruno was named Citizen of the Year.
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    From left to right: Smithville Education Foundation Art Enrichment Program president Nancy Towry, Lost Pines Art Guild president Brandy Royster, Smithville Education Foundation Art Enrichment Program secretary Melanie Summerall and 2020 Chamber of Commerce chair Jill Strube accept the Artist of the Year Award.
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    Chamber president April Daniels presents Betty Kahanek with one of the Chamber Spotlight Awards.
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    Kenneth Ladd of Kragh’s Jewelers receives a Chamber Spotlight Award from Chamber president April Daniels.
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    The Smithville ISD TCE Program receives a Chamber Spotlight Award for excellence in workforce development.
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    Calbri Logistics received the Growing Business Award for continued support of job growth and economic development.
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    Bella’s Cottage Antiques received the Growing Business Award for its growth and economic development contributions to Smithville.
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    Grammy Award nominated musician Hannibal Lokumbe performs at the banquet.

The Roaring Twenties was the theme for Saturday’s 97th annual Smithville Chamber of Commerce banquet as the chamber looked back nostalgically at that period in time in anticipation of the twenties of

The event kicked off with a special recognition to retired city secretary Brenda Page. Page served with five mayors, four city managers and hundreds of employees during her 33 years of service. She was not able to attend the banquet but was recognized with a resolution from the state of Texas, presented by State Representative John Cyrier to city manager Robert Tamble for Page.

A key to the City of Smithville was given to Chamber President April Daniels by Saunders for her hard work in promoting the city.

Highlights of the banquet included a musical number performed by the Chamber board and staff, tributes and a memorial dedication to Smithville’s Film Commission President Harold “Skeeter” Sewart, who unexpectedly passed away. The commission was posthumously named the Harold “Skeeter” Sewart Film Commission in his honor.

Council member Bill Gordon gave special recognition to former city council member and veteran Charles Harris, who was recognized by the French Legion of Honor with the Chevalier de la Legion of Honor Award. Harris was unable to attend but his family accepted on his behalf. Gordon also recognized Grammy-nominated musician Hannibal Lokumbe, who honored the crowd with a musical selection.

A silent auction benefitting the Chamber and a live auction raising scholarships for Smithville students were also held during the evening.

Other awards presented to the individuals, businesses and organizations included Citizen of the Decade, Jill Strube; Citizen of the Year, Janice Bruno; the Renee D. Blaschke Keep Smithville Beautiful Award, Dorothy Richards; Organization of the Year, Smithville Empty Bowl Project; Business of the Year, A&S Electric; Growing Business Awards, Calbri Logistics and Bella’s Cottage Antiques; and Smithville Chamber Spotlight Awards, volunteer Betty Kahanek and Ken Ladd of Kragh’s Jewelers.