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Chief Tim Scott at City Hall shortly after receiving his award for 2019 Officer of the Year. Photo by Laura Rex, Courtesy City of Big Sandy

Chief Tim Scott was awarded 2019 Officer of the Year in a special surprise presentation by Mayor Sonny Parsons at the 2019 Big Sandy Chamber of Commerce Banquet held Thursday, January 17, at the Church of God. Mayor Parsons noted the many accomplishments that the police department has enjoyed under the direction of Chief Scott when he presented the award.

2019 Firefighter of the Year, Ken Denapas with Chief Jeff Jones. Photo by Andrew Kirby.

Additional awards of recognition were presented to Ken Denapas, Assistant Fire Cheif, for Firefigher of the Year and Amanda Mullins, Elementary Special Education Teacher, for Educator of the Year. Heart-felt speeches that highlighted the recipients’ many accomplishments were given as Fire Chief, Jeff Jones and Principal, Donna Varnado presented the awards respectively. Congratulations!

2019 Educator of the Year, Amanda Mullins accepts her award from Principal Donna Varnado. Photo by Andrew Kirby
2019 Man and Woman of the Year, Andrew and Kate Kirby. Photo by Becky Desborough.

Kate and Andrew Kirby were honored to accept the designation of Man and Woman of the Year, although thoughts and prayers were with Linda Baggett, the award presenter, who was called away to deal with a family emergency. We checked in with Linda and all was well at the time this article was published.

2019 Miss Big Sandy Katie Parker with 2018 Miss Big Sandy Haylee Cook.
Photo by Andrew Kirby

Katie Parker was selected to represent the Big Sandy Chamber of Commerce as 2019 Miss Big Sandy. As Chamber Board and School Board Director, George Strub said as he introduced Katie, she was one of more than a dozen well-qualified candidates that applied for the honor. Katie’s was presented with a tiara along with a sash and long-stem rose bouquet that were made by the Big Sandy FFA. Outgoing Miss Big Sandy 2018, Haylee Cook, was on hand to help present Katie with her tiara. You will see Katie representing the Big Sandy Chamber of Commerce at many events throughout the spring of and fall months including the Easter Egg Hunt, 4th of July Parade, Yamboree, Pecan Festival and Christmas Parade. Congratulations, Katie!

In addition to welcoming remarks and notable guests greeted by President Dwayne Canup, attendees were blessed with an Invocation by Dr. Tim Levendusky from the ALERT Academy and an outstanding a’capella performance of ‘God Bless America’ by vocalist Laura Kelley.

During the delicious dinner, provided by Longhorn Smokehouse, the Award-winning Wildcat Band performed 4 pieces under the direction of Mr. Grant Woodson. The music was excellent! Thank you to Mr. Woodson and students for joining us. And special thanks to Uncle Mike’s Italian Cafe’ for feeding the nearly 80 students who performed, and/or served with the FFA earlier that night.

Keynote speakers were Superintendent Jay Ratcliff and Math Teacher Linda Reaves. Mr. Ratcliff gave an exceptional speech about how the school, residents and businesses partner together to build a better community and further our local economy. Mrs. Reaves speech included a reciting of “Advice, like youth, probably just wasted on the young,” commonly known by the title “Wear Suncreen” an essay written as a hypothetical commencement address by columnist Mary Schmich, originally published June 1997 in the Chicago Tribune. The speech was delivered in a classic dry wit for which Mrs. Reaves is known. She was marvelous.

Local businesses and individuals supported the event by purchasing ads in the program, purchasing corporate tables, donating silent auction items, and baking cakes and desserts for the lively “cake auction” excitingly presented by Big Sandy’s own, Joe Don Saxon of Saxon and Associates, Inc. the Auctioneers. The highlight of the silent auction items was a 50-person catering event worth up to $750 donated by Circle M Crawfish. The highlight of the “cake” auction was the a Pecan Pie made by Melody Payne, who won Best Pecan Pie at the Pecan Festival in October. That pie went for $1,000!

Big Sandy FFA cleaning up after the banquet. Photo by Delaney Davidson.

Special thanks goes to the Big Sandy FFA, under the direction of Teacher Delaney Davidson, who helped usher guests to their tables, served drinks and helped elderly attendees through the buffet, and cleaned dishes and tables after the event. Students from the Big Sandy Athletic Department, under the direction of Athletic Director Coach Larry Minter, helped set up all the tables and chairs the day before, and tear down / re-set the room for church services, the day after the banquet. To all the student volunteers and their teachers, this event simply can not be done without your help. Thank you.

Thank you to the following individuals and business who donated items for the auctions: Circle M Crawfish, JR’s Outdoor and More, The BSH Journal, Dwayne Canup, Norma Penney, Cindee Kirby, Pat Kirby, Andrew Kirby, Johnny Magic and Linda Baggett.

Thank you to the following business who placed ads in the program: Saxon Auctions, Ozarka, Brookshires, City of Big Sandy, New Beginnings Fellowship, Two Rivers Grocery, Maxi-Lube, Hill-Tex Insurance, Vital Earth, Austin Bank, Michael and Linda Baggett, Garland’s Indoor Comfort, SFG and First National Bank.

Thank you to the following organizations that purchased corporate tables: Alert Academy, Austin Bank, Big Sandy Fire Department, Big Sandy ISD, Big Sandy Lions Club, Big Sandy Police Department, Church of God, Circle M Crawfish, City of Big Sandy, Davis/Baggett, Dwayne Canup, First National Bank, Hetzel & Hetzel, Inc., New Beginnings Fellowship, Norma Penney, Rick Peterson, SFG, Strub Family, The Kirbys, Treasure Church, and Vital Earth

Thank you to the dignitaries from Hawkins Chamber of Commerce, Congressman Ghomert’s Office and Commissioner Berka, as well as all the citizens who purchased tickets, auction items, ads, provided services and donated their time and energy to this event.

For incredible photos of this event, please see the gallery at Carol Faulkner Photography, and be sure to order your favorites. Thank you, Carol for taking such wonderful photos!

Congratulations on a great celebration of our community. See you next year!