NEIGHBORS >> Chamber banquet
Leader staff writer
IN SHORT: Lonoke honors top citizens yearly event
Peggy Anderson was chosen as the Citizen of the Year, and the Order of the Oakleaf award was conferred upon state Rep. Lenville Evans and state Sen. Bobby Glover on Friday night when the Lonoke Chamber of Commerce celebrated the town’s 135th birthday.
Balloons and birthday cake helped mark the occasion and a timeline, with photographs and period dress, adorned the walls.
Local businessman Bill Ryker donned a period tux and top hat as he recounted many historical Lonoke highlights and introduced those who presented the various awards.
In the absence of chamber director John Garner, Ryker said Monday the catfish and chicken supper was served to about 285 people.
The town was born Jan. 22, 1871, according to Ryker.
The twin themes of the banquet were the birthday party and “Lonoke: Our town, our lives, moving forward.”
The Scott Mitchell family, which tends crops about two miles north of Lonoke on state Hwy. 31, was recognized as both county and district farm family of the year.
A pair of 4.0-plus grade point average Lonoke seniors each received a $600 Future Business Leaders of America scholarship.
Sissy Fletcher presented the scholarships to Ashley Lynch and Charlotte Muse.
Lonoke School Supt. Sharron Havens presented the Educator of the Year award to Karen Burgess, who came to the district 18 years ago as a student teacher and stayed to teach 350 first graders before moving on to teach middle school.
Havens, quoting a parent, said Burgess “Takes the time to work one-to-one and takes as much time as needed.”
Melissa Coefield turned over the chamber gavel to Gary Elmore, who will serve as president for the next year. Seven Lonoke students won awards for their original posters dealing with the town’s birthday, its history or current events.
Primary school winners were Mallory Moore and Drake Adams, elementary school winners were James Chambless and Austin Red, middle school winners were Dylan Elmore and Tim Liebig and the high school winner was Christie Huffman.