Chamber banquet honors volunteers, businesses and organizations

Ronnie King receives the Volunteer of the Year award from Crossett Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Mandy White at the Chamber’s banquet Jan. 24.

Whether giving his time as a member of the Crossett Search and Rescue Unit or helping promote the Crossett Area Chamber of Commerce’s Buddy Bass Tournament, Ronnie King is giving of himself selflessly.

That’s what Chamber President Lindsey Meeks had to say about King when he was named the Volunteer of the Year at the Chamber’s awards banquet Thursday. The banquet is an annual dinner to celebrate accomplishments, challenges and opportunities in the community.

The volunteer of the year award goes to someone who does a lot of things without being asked and never boasts or seeks recognition, Meeks said.

“You will see (King) around town in “little red”, and more times than not he’s on a mission,” she said. “He always has a kind word, smile and hug.” 

During the banquet, the Chamber gave two awards that are only given on a merited rather than annual basis, the Ambassador Award and the Crossett Spirit Award.

The Ambassador Award, “is given to someone who serves and builds new relationships in the region, state, and anywhere they find themselves. They are an outstanding advocate for Crossett bringing positive attention from outsiders to our community,” Meeks said.

Crossett Schools Superintendent Gary Williams received the Ambassador award.

“You might not would ever know that this man is not a Crossett native,” Meeks said. “Since moving here with his family in 2015, he has been an advocate for education and an example of our ‘tradition of excellence’. He was an instrumental leader in obtaining the funding for a brand new, much needed high school that is sure to expose our children to a new level of learning. He can be seen at all of our school and other community events proudly wearing his maroon and white. His positive attitude and his eagerness to succeed ensures us that as superintendent, the Crossett School District has no boundaries.”

The Spirit Award is one that is “a friendly one that looks at each event or activity as an opportunity to shout “I’m from Crossett and I’m proud of it,” Meeks said.

The Crossett Riding Club received the Spirit Award for 2018 for its contributions to the community, notably the Crossett Rodeo.

“You won’t only see them during Rodeo week, though,” Meeks said. “They sponsor numerous events as fundraisers for annual scholarships.  They support and promote community events such as The Buddy Bass Tournament and Project Graduation.  This club works hard, and it’s been recognized by the PRCA as a Top Five Medium Rodeo of the Year for two years in a row.  The efforts of this club brings tremendous value and bragging rights to our small town.”

The Chamber’s other annual awards — Outstanding Director of the Board and Business of the Year — were awarded to Venda White and First National State Bank, respectively.

White contributes much of her time to the community, Meeks said.

“She has a passion for Crossett and a willingness to serve,” she said.

FNBC traces its roots to the beginning of Crossett, and sponsors many community activites, Meeks said.

The business has more than 40 employees and expends countless volunteer hours, she said.

During the banquet, Chase Outlaw of Hamburg — who is the No. 3 ranked bull rider in the world — spoke as the guest of honor. He told the audience he had always wanted to be a bull rider, and thanked the community for its support through the years, especially in light of serious injuries he received in 2018.

The next Chamber event will be a networking breakfast for members at Country Vittles Feb. 5.

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