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  • Chamber 2020 award winners recognized at banquet (GALLERY)

    IMG 8027ALTON PORTER | HCC Chamber Board Chairperson Carey Minter and Executive Director Liza Clark presented a Chairman’s Award of Excellence certificate to a representative of each member organization of the chamber.

    By Alton Porter

    Members of the Crockett Area Chamber of Commerce held their 2021 Membership Awards Banquet, themed “A Starry Night,” Tuesday, March 23, at which several chamber members, ambassadors, sponsors and volunteers were recognized for their support and service to the organization last year.

    2020 chamber awards presented at the banquet included Volunteer of the Year to William Clark; Ambassador of the Year to Carolyn McKnight, Crockett Economic & Industrial Development Corporation executive assistant; and Director of the Year to Carey Minter, who is chairperson of the chamber’s board of directors and Houston County Appraisal District chief appraiser.

    In addition, the chamber’s Citizen of the Year award went to Pastor Audice Leon Wallace, of Good Shepherd Fellowship Church and the Business of the Year award was presented to Good Shepherd Fellowship Church.

    New chamber members Tiffany Wiggins-Blackmon of Crockett Printing, Chip Miles of Styles by Miles and Joshua Hamelinck of Hamelinck Guns each were presented a Rising Star award, a new chamber award that recognizes outstanding businesses that joined the chamber in 2020.

    These award winners were also presented certificates of recognition Congressman Trent Ashby (R-Dist. 8) of the Texas House of Representatives.

    A Chairman’s Award of Excellence, another new chamber recognition certificate honoring chamber members for their outstanding service and contributions to the chamber, was presented to representatives of each member organization of the chamber.

    Minter also recognized former chamber board member and former Houston County Courier Managing Editor Toni Browning for the superb service and support she contributed to the chamber for many years before recently resigning from the chamber and Courier to relocate to Italy.

    The banquet also featured chamber fundraising auctions, raffle drawings, dinner prepared by chef Margaret Broughton and her staff, a video presentation about the Covid-19 pandemic and Governor Greg Abbott’s response to it, a moment of silence for persons who were impacted by the virus, an invocational prayer by Pastor Darryl Bennett of Eastgate Family Church and live music performed by East Texas artist Levi Kitchen.

    Crockett Medical Center was the event’s sponsor and the Piney Woods Leo youth organization, with advisor Ellen Brooks, served as event volunteers.

    ALTON PORTER | HCC Chamber Executive Director Liza Clark presented the Volunteer of the Year award to William Clark.
    ALTON PORTER | HCC Chamber Executive Director Liza Clark presented the Volunteer of the Year award to William Clark.
    ALTON PORTER | HCC Chamber board member Leanne Henson presented the Ambassador of the Year award to Carolyn McKnight.
    ALTON PORTER | HCC Chamber board member Leanne Henson presented the Ambassador of the Year award to Carolyn McKnight.
    ALTON PORTER | HCC Chamber Executive Director Liza Clark presented the Director of the Year award to board of directors Chairperson Carey Minter.
    ALTON PORTER | HCC Chamber Executive Director Liza Clark presented the Director of the Year award to board of directors Chairperson Carey Minter.
    ALTON PORTER | HCC Chamber board member Greg Beaver presented a Rising Star award to Joshua Hamelinck.
    ALTON PORTER | HCC Chamber board member Greg Beaver presented a Rising Star award to Joshua Hamelinck.
    ALTON PORTER | HCC Chamber board member Greg Beaver presented a Rising Star award to Chip Miles.
    ALTON PORTER | HCC Chamber board member Greg Beaver presented a Rising Star award to Chip Miles.
    ALTON PORTER | HCC Chamber board member Andrea Hill presented the Citizen of the Year award to Pastor Audice Leon Wallace.
    ALTON PORTER | HCC Chamber board member Andrea Hill presented the Citizen of the Year award to Pastor Audice Leon Wallace.
    ALTON PORTER | HCC Chamber Board Chairperson Carey Minter and Executive Director Liza Clark presented a Chairman’s Award of Excellence certificate to a representative of each member organization of the chamber.

    ALTON PORTER | HCC Chamber Board Chairperson Carey Minter and Executive Director Liza Clark presented a Chairman’s Award of Excellence certificate to a representative of each member organization of…

    ALTON PORTER | HCC Chamber board member Carole Martin, right, presented the Business of the Year award to representatives of Good Shepherd Fellowship Church. Pictured, from left to right, are Najah Forehand, GSF Associate Pastor Ron Forehand, GSF Pastor Audice Leon Wallace and Martin.

    ALTON PORTER | HCC Chamber board member Carole Martin, right, presented the Business of the Year award to representatives of Good Shepherd Fellowship Church. Pictured, from left to right, are Najah…

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  • Helping Hands (GALLERY)

    042221 fundraiser 1TONY FARKAS | SJNT Volleyball players helped raise $480 that went toward senior scholarships at the Shepherd Chamber of Commerce Scholarship Fundraiser on Saturday.

    Shepherd Chamber raises funds for scholarships

    By Tony Farkas

    SHEPHERD — Townspeople, volleyball players, chess masters and singers were among the throngs of people who turned out Saturday to give toward a worthy cause — high school seniors.

    Chamber President Yvonne Cones said there were upwards of 25 vendors selling everything from food to toys, and entertainers Eddie B of Albuquerque, N.M., and the band Crosstown Renegades provided musical interludes.

    Chamber member and master of ceremonies Brenda Myers said 12 eight-member teams signed up for volleyball at $5 a head as part of the fundraiser; and 20 cornhole teams at $20 a pop lent close to a third of the $3,000 raised.

    Cones said she was pleased with the turnout, and offered her thanks to everyone.

    TONY FARKAS | SJNT 

Shepherd ISD cheerleaders outclass their male counterparts in tug of war at the Shepherd Chamber of Commerce Scholarship Fundraiser on Saturday.
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    TONY FARKAS | SJNT Shepherd ISD cheerleaders outclass their male counterparts in tug of war at the Shepherd Chamber of Commerce Scholarship Fundraiser on Saturday.
    TONY FARKAS | SJNT 

The competition on the pad in chess was fierce at the Shepherd Chamber of Commerce Scholarship Fundraiser on Saturday.
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    TONY FARKAS | SJNT The competition on the pad in chess was fierce at the Shepherd Chamber of Commerce Scholarship Fundraiser on Saturday.
    TONY FARKAS | SJNT 

Eddie B, a Christian singer from Albuquerque, N.M., entertains the crowd at the Shepherd Chamber of Commerce Scholarship Fundraiser on Saturday.
    042221 fundraiser 6
    TONY FARKAS | SJNT Eddie B, a Christian singer from Albuquerque, N.M., entertains the crowd at the Shepherd Chamber of Commerce Scholarship Fundraiser on Saturday.
    TONY FARKAS | SJNT 

Children and their parents participated in a Hula Hoop contest at the Shepherd Chamber of Commerce Scholarship Fundraiser. For every child that brought a parent to the event, a dollar was donated to the cause.
    042221 fundraiser top

    TONY FARKAS | SJNT

    Children and their parents participated in a Hula Hoop contest at the Shepherd Chamber of Commerce Scholarship Fundraiser. For every child that brought a parent to the event, a…

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  • San Jacinto Chamber celebrates cream of the crop (GALLERY)

    9TONY FARKAS | SJNT Terry Holcomb was third in Volunteer of the Year.

    By Tony Farkas

    COLDSPRING — The Coldspring Chamber of Commerce honored the top businesses and organizations in the area, as well as its own volunteers, at its annual banquet on Saturday.

    Chamber President Barbara Justice said that even though 2020 was an unprecedented year, the chamber and the county managed to make it through by learning to innovate.

    “We figured out how to social distance, how to mask, and all the other COVID-19 precautionary measures,” she said. “Zoom became our secondary method of meeting, and email became our primary mode of communication.”

    For the first time in memory, annual events were canceled; however, alternate arrangements were made for scholarships, however, Justice said.

    “We had various sponsors, and were still able to give scholarships for students,” she said.

    The first event attended in 2020 was the Christmas Parade, which was exciting as residents were able to get out of the house; there were more than 30 floats and more than 120 vendors, which put the town at max capacity, Justice said.

    In 2021, plans are to have more in-person events, including lunch-and-learn events held monthly, she said.

    Winners of the annual Best of Coldspring awards are:

    • Grand Business: Bullet Grill House, first; Brookshire Brothers, second; Sheco, third.
    • Large Business: The Mason Jar, first; Browders Marina and Store, second; Eastex Title Co., third.
    • Medium Business: Hilltop Ice House, first; People’s State Bank, second; Wolf Creek Air, third.
    • Small Business: Camp Jason RV Resort, first; Sittin’ Pretty Pet Spa and Boutique, second; and The Dam Liquor Stor, third.
    • Non-profit: American Legion Post 629, first; Republican Party of San Jacinto County, second; Heaven’s Army of Resources, third.
    • Volunteer of the Year: Barbara Creel, first, Michelle Haylock, second; Terry Holcomb, third.
    • Citizen of the Year: Phyliss Powdrill, first, Larissa Sustaita, second; Alvin Wyatt, third.
    • Lifetime Member Award: Kathleen E. Mathieu.
    • Board Member of the Year: Barbara Justice.
    TONY FARKAS | SJNT Bullet Grill House was named top Grand Business.
    TONY FARKAS | SJNT Bullet Grill House was named top Grand Business.
    TONY FARKAS | SJNT Eastex Title Co. was named third for Large Business.
    TONY FARKAS | SJNT Eastex Title Co. was named third for Large Business.
    TONY FARKAS | SJNT People’s State Bank was named second for Medium Business.
    TONY FARKAS | SJNT People’s State Bank was named second for Medium Business.
    TONY FARKAS | SJNT Sittin’ Pretty Pet Spa and Boutique was named second for Small Business.
    TONY FARKAS | SJNT Sittin’ Pretty Pet Spa and Boutique was named second for Small Business.
    TONY FARKAS | SJNT Camp Jason RV Resort took top honors in Small Business.
    TONY FARKAS | SJNT Camp Jason RV Resort took top honors in Small Business.
    TONY FARKAS | SJNT Heaven’s Army of Resources was third in Non-profit Organizations.
    TONY FARKAS | SJNT Heaven’s Army of Resources was third in Non-profit Organizations.
    TONY FARKAS | SJNT Republican Party of San Jacinto County was second in Non-profit Organizations.
    TONY FARKAS | SJNT Republican Party of San Jacinto County was second in Non-profit Organizations.
    TONY FARKAS | SJNT American Legion Post 629 was first in Non-profit Organizations.
    TONY FARKAS | SJNT American Legion Post 629 was first in Non-profit Organizations.
    TONY FARKAS | SJNT Terry Holcomb was third in Volunteer of the Year.
    TONY FARKAS | SJNT Terry Holcomb was third in Volunteer of the Year.
    TONY FARKAS | SJNT Barbara Creel was first in Volunteer of the Year. (front)
    TONY FARKAS | SJNT Barbara Creel was first in Volunteer of the Year. (front)
    TONY FARKAS | SJNT Larissa Sustaita was second as Citizen of the Year. (front)
    TONY FARKAS | SJNT Larissa Sustaita was second as Citizen of the Year. (front)
    TONY FARKAS | SJNT The Lifetime Member Award, accepted by her daughter, was presented to Kathleen Matheu.
    TONY FARKAS | SJNT The Lifetime Member Award, accepted by her daughter, was presented to Kathleen Matheu.
    TONY FARKAS | SJNT Board Member of the Year was presented to Chamber President Barbara Justice.
    TONY FARKAS | SJNT Board Member of the Year was presented to Chamber President Barbara Justice.
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  • San Jacinto County Chamber celebrates new businesses

    032521 chamber rhjTONY FARKAS | SJNT Relson Gracie JiuJitsu celebrated its grand opening with a ribbon cutting on Saturday.

    By Tony Farkas

    SHEPHERD — Three businesses new to the community were honored by the Greater Shepherd Chamber of Commerce on Saturday, two with ribbon cuttings and one named Business of the Month.

    Fierce Nutrition, a store that specializes in nutritious smoothies, shakes and herbal teas, was named Business of the Month for March and April.

    032521 chamber fierceTONY FARKAS | SJNT Fierce Nutrition was named Business of the Month for March by the Greater Shepherd Chamber of Commerce.

    Texas Glam Girlz celebrated its grand opening with a ribbon cutting, although owner Misty Slawson says they’ve been open since October.

    Slawson, who’s been a Shepherd resident most of her life, offers several different services: there’s a boutique that offers women’s and girls clothes, shoes and accessories; a tanning salon, which has tanning beds or spray tans available; and a dry cleaning business.

    032521 chamnber tggTONY FARKAS | SJNT Texas Glam Girlz celebrated its grand opening with a ribbon cutting on Saturday.

    The grand opening was delayed, Slawson said, because of damage done to the building during the severe winter weather, requiring remodeling.

    Hours are from 8 a.m.- 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m.- 2 p.m. Saturdays.

    At Relson Gracie JiuJitsu, owner Bruce McKinzie said he’s been open eight months, but has been teaching for 10 years.

    He has been practicing the discipline for 16 years, but has been into martial arts for 38 years and holds multiple black belts. Currently, he has top belts in kenpo karate, taekwon do, jeet kune do, and kali, a Filipino martial art, to which he holds a rank of full instructor, the highest available.

    He also holds full instructor ranking for jeet kune do, a discipline started by Bruce Lee, having trained with Bruce Lee’s friend Ted Wong.

    McKinzie said he teaches jiujitsu because of his age and his retirement from competitive matches, and the art is less violent, but will teach other disciplines on a one-on-one basis.

    “What I teach kids is to be bully-proof,” he said. “I teach students not to fight if they don’t have to, but to control the situation and holler for a teacher.”

    Instruction is offered Monday through Thursday; kickboxing is from 6:15 - 7:15 p.m., children’s jiujitsu from 7:15 - 8 p.m.; and from 8 - 9 p.m. for adults.

    Fierce Nutrition is at 11104 TX 150 Suite 300, and can be reached at (832) 946-4615.

    Texas Glam Girlz is at 1281 S. Byrd Ave., and can be reached at (334) 429-0545.

    Relson Gracie JiuJitsu, next door to Fierce Nutrition, can be reached at (281) 387-8782.