The​ Hispanic-American Chamber of Commerce-Central Texas will show its appreciation for community support while recognizing excellence in the business community during its seventh annual gala Saturday at the Courtyard by Marriott in Killeen.

The event starts at 6 p.m. and tickets cost $50 per person or $400 for a table of eight.

“The HACCCT board of directors serves with pride as they represent a diverse group of industries who see the value of promoting and sustaining entrepreneurship,” said Geri Schwartzman, director of public relations for the chamber.

This year’s award winners include:

Business of the Year: LeaderOne Financial Corporation.

Businesswoman of the Year: Deborah Huddleston, Gateway Mortgage.

Businessman of the Year: Luis Wilmot, owner, Coffee Beanery.

Outstanding Public Service: Jim Kilpatrick, Killeen mayor pro tem, City of Killeen.

Chairman’s Award: Brett Williams, executive director of community services, city of Killeen.

President’s Award: Rafael Ortiz Martinez, general manager, Courtyard by Marriott.

President’s Award: Myrna Banzon, office manager, Gateway Mortgage.

Two awards for Ambassadors of the Year will be revealed at the event.

Marc A. Nigliazzo, president of Texas A&M University-Central Texas, is the keynote speaker and will speak on the gala’s theme of Building Bridges Between Business and Education.

While the banquet is not a fundraiser, it did bring in about $4,000 in 2016. The chamber’s biggest annual fundraiser is the Battle of the Food Trucks held each June.

The chamber began when some local businessmen discussed the need for a Hispanic Chamber.

Councilman Juan Rivera and several community members received training for Chamber of Commerce administration from the Texas Association of Mexican American Chambers of Commerce.

Currently the chamber has 70 members, but members do not need to be business owners or Hispanic to join.

For ticket information, go to

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