By Emily Banks Wooten
Dr. Joseph Goin M.D. and Ms. Angela Goin PhD. were presented the Outstanding Polk County Citizens of the Year award at the 87th annual awards ceremony of the Livingston-Polk County Chamber of Commerce Thursday.
The Goins both own and operate local businesses and have made numerous contributions to the community over the past 20 years that they have lived here. Dr. Goin’s medical practice has received many distinguished medical awards over the years. His reputation for compassionate care will long be remembered following his retirement. A scholar in her own right, Ms. Goins has also played an active role in the community through her involvement with the chamber of commerce as well as the Polk County branch of the American Association of University Women.
The Large Business of the Year award went to Timberwood Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, the only five-star facility in the Livingston/Polk County area as rated by the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid. Operational in Livingston for over four decades, the facility has been serving the community’s healthcare needs for a long time, building lasting relationships with patients and families. It is a leading healthcare provider in the skilled nursing community and is a valued community partner that truly gives back to Polk County in many ways, whether it’s hosting frequent community events throughout the year, urging its staff to participate in community events or contributing to various local organizations.
HomeGrown, a local boutique owned by Amy Hendrix and Tammi Ogletree, was the recipient of the Small Business of the Year award. HomeGrown specializes in unique treasures and gifts that center around Livingston and the lake. Their love of the community inspires the various T-shirts and merchandise they offer. Not only do the ladies give back to the community in a variety of ways, they are also known for supporting and lifting up other local small businesses. Their semi-annual porch parties continue to grow as they spotlight new, up and coming brands, local craftsmen and local vendors. They recognize that mutual community support results in mutual community success.
Sarah Ege, an English teacher and the UIL Academics Coordinator at Livingston High School, was presented the Community Service award. An alum of Livingston High School and Stephen F. Austin State University, Mrs. Ege is well-respected by both current and former students, as well as administrators. Her students say that she is kind, patient, passionate and truly cares and that she always tries to make class enjoyable and fun. She is also the teacher that many of her former students return to for assistance with college applications and essays. LISD Superintendent Dr. Brent E. Hawkins said she embodies all of the attributes of the preferred teacher for LISD and that the classroom that she teaches from is impacted far beyond the walls of the schoolhouse. He said she has a very deep relationship with her students and that they respect her both on a personal level and an educational level.
Chamber President/CEO Yvonne King presented the Chamber Directors of the Year award to Kim Jernigan and Joyce Knierim and the Chamber Ambassadors of the Year award to David Burns and Shirley Johnson.
“The board of directors and the ambassadors are the workforce behind every event and activity held by the chamber. Without these men and women giving their time and talents, the chamber would not be what it is today,” King said.
“Our mission statement is to enhance the success of business, tourism and civic interests of Polk County and to promote the quality of life for all citizens, and when I look around the audience and see you, I have to say thank you. Thank you for your time, input, support and your willingness to help with setting up, cleaning up, networking, speaking, praying, laughing and being representatives for the chamber. Most all of you help with our mission. You take time from your work and personal business to be with me and Brenda (Clifton). I feel blessed and very grateful to each and every one of you,” King said.
Outgoing Chamber Board Chairman Craig Jones recognized retiring directors Dan Ellis and Kim Jernigan.
“It’s been an exciting year and I want to thank all of the board members and the ambassadors for their support and hard work. I also want to thank all of the members. Without you, we wouldn’t have a chamber of commerce. I’m happy to report that we gained 67 new members over the past year, in addition to hosting 27 ribbon cuttings,” Jones said.
“I especially want to thank Yvonne for stepping up in her new role. She has been an open book and easy to work with, making for a seamless transition. I also want to thank John Frank Clifton for all his guidance and support when I became chairman of the board. I’m looking forward to the new leadership that Andrew Boyce will capably bring. I truly believe our chamber and chamber board have a bright future with a lot of good things coming,” Jones said.
Following the ceremonial passing of the gavel, Incoming Chamber Board Chairman Andrew Boyce addressed the crowd.
“I’m really looking forward to serving as chairman and want to continue building on the growth and progress we’ve made. I want to recognize Yvonne. She’s just completed her first full year in this position, although she has served the chamber in another capacity for over 20 years. She has provided tremendous leadership for us. We really have an awesome staff in place, for which I’m grateful,” Boyce said.
“I want to continue with the mindset that Yvonne has put into place and that is, ‘What can the chamber do for you?’ We are here for you and want to support you and receive your feedback on how we can better grow and succeed together. I’m really excited about two new events that we have planned for this year. One is a poker tournament and the other is a business expo. I want to recognize and thank Craig Jones for his leadership over the past year. I also want to emphasize how much I’m looking forward to working with the new board this year,” Boyce said.