By Jeff Harrison
The Midwest City Chamber of Commerce celebrated local businesses and individuals last week during its annual awards banquet.
The banquet was held at the FNB Community Bank Ballroom at Rose State College with hundreds of businesses and community leaders in attendance.
Midwest City Chamber of Commerce President Shaina Bennett highlighted accomplishments and events over the past year. Last year, the Chamber welcomed 35 new businesses and hosted 14 ribbon cuttings, three sunrise socials and 15 programs. Bennett said they partnered in events to support local schools, businesses, nonprofit organizations, and Tinker Air Force Base.
The Chamber presented five awards to local leaders.
Jason Chartrand with Healthcare Express received the Presidential Service Award, which is given to someone who exceeds the standards of a volunteer and puts clients and the community first.
The Visionary Leader Award was presented to Joel Bain, executive director of Mid-Del Group Home. The award honors someone who advances goals and ideas of growth and economic development.
Zachery Chalender, ZxC Media, was the winner of the Rising Star Award, a new honor that highlights new entrepreneurship and businesses. Chalender launched his business in 2021 with a mission to tell the stories of nonprofits and businesses through video.
The Henry Croak Initiative in Business Award was given to Shane and Stacy Willard of Willard Group – Century 21. Bill Croak presented the award which is named after his grandfather Henry Croak who founded what is now FNB Community Bank in 1954.
The final honor of the night was the Legacy Award presented to David Hudiburg, a longtime business leader with Hudiburg Autogroup. Hudiburg was commended for his “servant leadership” and support of numerous causes in addition to running a successful family business. Hudiburg recently sold the company to Cavender Auto Family.
Following the awards presentation, Kimberlee Adams, 2022 Midwest City Chamber chairperson, commended the Chamber staff and board for their support during the past year. The chamber experienced a few bumps along the road including a change in leadership. Former president Marcy Jarrett resigned in August and was later replaced by Bennett.
“Our chamber staff very simply persevered in 2022 and man, did they shine,” Adams said.
Bennett said the Chamber was blessed to have Adams leading the board in 2022.
“[Adams’] dedication to the Chamber was unmatched. It was a tough year as a board chair, but she handled it with grace, fairness and most of all with the future of the Chamber in mind.”
Clay Franklin will serve as the chair of the Midwest City Chamber of Commerce Board for 2023. He was unable to attend the banquet.
The evening concluded with a live auction.