Chamber salutes leaders in 'can do' town
A handful of top citizens were honored at the 98th Annual Fredericksburg Chamber of Commerce Banquet, held Thursday, March 1 at the Gillespie County Fair Grounds Exhibition Hall.
Brad Hardin, a banking executive, and Audelia de la Garza, a community healthcare worker, were honored as Outstanding Chamber Man and Woman, respectively.
Hardin, the son of a Secret Service agent for President Lyndon B. Johnson, is community bank president of First United Bank.
“It’s an honor to be in this community,” Hardin said. “It’s such a service-oriented town, and I feel like it’s an obligation to give back.”
De la Garza works at The Good Samaritan Center to help locals get needed medical care.
“I see so much need in this community, but as Mother Theresa said, ‘Together, we can do great things,’” de la Garza said. “Together, as a community, we can help so many people.”
These awards recognize longtime service, influence in the town’s growth and/or business acumen.
Wayne Reeh, owner of Reeh Plumbing and chairman of the Chamber of Commerce board of directors, kicked off the banquet. He introduced emcee Richard Lee of The Ranch Radio.
Former Fredericksburg Independent School District Superintendent Eric Wright was brought back to town as a surprise to receive the Community Achievement Award. He served the local district from 2014-2017, before accepting a position to lead the 20,000-student Hays Consolidated Independent School District.
“I hope to retire back to Fredericksburg someday,” Wright said. “This is the most ‘can-do’ community I have ever been associated with.”
Yvonne Gerhardt was recognized with the Outstanding Public Servant Award. Gerhardt runs the City of Fredericksburg Animal Shelter and was instrumental in planning and now operating the new shelter. The Chula Vista, California native said the award was “truly unexpected.”
Volunteer of the Year was Dixie Dankworth Cope, who moved here in 2013 with her two daughters. The Paint Rock native runs Dankworth Dry Goods and has been heavily involved in parent and support roles for the Gillespie County 4-H and FFA Livestock Show, the Gillespie County Wild Game Dinner and other ag-related activities. She also has played major roles in the Boys & Girls Club of Fredericksburg and the re-dress program, an initiative to give prom dresses to girls at little to no cost.
Chamber Ambassador President Kelly Musselman presented Debbie Farquhar with a 25-year plaque for supporting the organization. The ambassadors help coordinate and participate in ribbon cutting and other Chamber events.
Other ambassadors recognized were: 10 years, Cindy Harrison, Cynthia Scroggins, Edward Stroeher and Joanne Martin; 5 years, Ann Weinheimer, Arah Campbell, Dee Schumann, Emaly Baehr, Hetsy Pickard, Jayne Elliott and Jim Crowhurst.
Daylon Nebgen and Carlie Crenwelge were honored with the Student Achievement Awards. Both students have been heavily involved in student organizations and ag-related activities during high school.
The event also featured live and silent auctions, and catering by Coach’s Country Store. The live auction alone raised more than $14,000 for the organization.
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