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Dixie Jarrott, left, accepts the “Citizen of the Year” award from Tyler County Chamber of Commerce president Cathy Bennett. For more photos from the banquet, please see page 2B. MOLLIE LASALLE | TCB
By Mollie LaSalle
WARREN – Black Creek Ranch in Warren was the setting for the Tyler County Chamber of Commerce’s annual awards banquet, Saturday evening, Sept. 23. The theme was “Hats off to Tyler County,” and attendees came out to enjoy a good party, decked out in their most fashionable headwear.
Chamber president Cathy Bennett presided over the evening’s activities. The flag was presented by VFW post # 2033, and the Kara Wade, daughter of Caroline Wade, of Colmesneil, did a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem. Joe Blacksher, Commissioner of Pct #1 gave the invocation and Kevin Stark, with Country Boys Smoking, provided the catered meal for the guests.
Eddie Hopkins, with the Jasper Economic Development Corporation was the speaker for the evening. Hopkins relayed a history of Tyler County and other interesting facts for the crowd, and then it was time to begin the awards ceremonies.
Bennett introduced the Chamber’s board members and gave a special shout out to executive director Holly Wells, for spearheading the event, and making everything come together so seamlessly.
Wells and members of the Chamber board worked tirelessly to make this year’s event a memorable one. A special thanks was given to Victory Camp Colmesneil for the loan of extra tables and chairs.
Also on hand were Linda Parker, with Trent Ashby’s office, and Sarah Blacksher and Rachel Iglesias with Brian Babin’s office to hand out certificates. First up were the teachers of the year awards.
WISD Superintendent Lisa Meysembourg presented Kayla Conner the award for Woodville, Jeff Burnthorn, superintendent from Spurger ISD presented Shelby Saulsberry her award, and Warren ISD’s Tyra Storie presented Natalee Foret the award for Warren. Chester ISD was not able to attend; their teachers of the year are Kaliegh Powell and Autumn Handley. Colmesneil ISD did not submit a teacher for their district this year.
Carletta Cramer presented the “Business of the Year” award to Ronnie Walling, with Walling Signs and Jordan Wilson presented the “New Business of the Year” award to Kevin Stark with Country Boys Smoking. Chris Edwards presented the “Future of Tyler County” award to Kamryn Grammer, WISD senior, citing all of her accomplishments to date, as well as her “Crowns for Change” platform she has adopted through her involvement in pageants.
Shannon Benton presented Kay Timme, director of the Allan Shivers Library and Museum with the “Chamber’s Choice” award, citing the long and storied history of the complex.
One of the newer awards, the “Spirit of Tyler County” was presented to Brian Smith of Sleep in Heavenly Peace. The final two awards of the evening were the most anticipated. Cathy Bennett presented the award for “Outstanding Service” to Jacques Blanchette. In her remarks, she stated, “in addition to his kind and caring service to those who’ve lost loved ones, he has served as our county judge for 16 years. In that capacity, he not only served our county, he did an outstanding job representing us on a regional level.” Blanchette remarked, “there are so many in this county that I know are more deserving of this distinction”.
The evening’s big award was the “Citizen of the Year”, and it was presented to Dixie Jarrott. Bennett stated that” Dixie is a lifetime resident of Tyler County, and her family roots date back to 1837. Dixie and her husband George opened Jarrott’s pharmacy and she began to grow a gift shop. George liked to joke that it started as a pharmacy with a gift shop but evolved into a gift shop with a pharmacy. Dixie has served her community in many different ways. She has been very active in the Methodist church, has been a member of the Women’s Study Club for over 50 years, has served on the Tyler County Hospital auxiliary, and her and George have supported the Dogwood Festival for over 50 years, hosting a parent’s reception in their home for a many years. After a short retirement, she transformed Jarrott’s pharmacy into Dixie’s Vintage Vogue in the summer of 2022”.
Upon accepting her award, Jarrott addressed the audience: “This ward is decided on by the people of Tyler County. George’s father opened Jarrott’s Pharmacy in 1952, and it was an established business when we moved back here from Austin”. After running the pharmacy for many years, the Jarrott’s decided it was time to retire. “We sold the business, not the building”, Dixie said. After a couple of years, she was ready for something else, so with the support of family, friends, and the community, Dixie’s Vintage Vogue was born. She added, “as you get older, you can do anything you want to do, We look forward to what is going to happen in Tyler County”. She closed out her remarks by saying “I never thought I would have this honor, as a person who does not feel worthy, let me tell you, I am humbled, I am honored, and I am truly grateful for this award”.