By Kim Steele

Killeen Daily Herald

The Harker Heights Chamber of Commerce added a new award during its 23rd Annual Awards Banquet and Celebration earlier this week.

The Linda Neault Citizen Award for Community Service was given posthumously to its namesake as the start of an annual award. Neault, 55, who died in March, was a former H-E-B store manager and served several years on the chamber board. She was its chairwoman from 2001 to 2003, a position normally held for one year.

"Linda provided extraordinary leadership and service to Harker Heights by forging strong relationships between Harker Heights and its citizens through voluntary service and community involvement," said banquet emcee William Selby.

"Linda Neault's life was exemplified as an example of caring and concern for the citizens of Harker Heights and a spirit of cooperation in the city."

Each year, the Harker Heights Public Safety Commission will accept nominations from the community for the award. Nominees must be residents who have distinguished themselves above their peers by fostering partnerships, activities and cooperation between the community and the city.

Special emphasis will be placed on those who have supported the city's public safety programs and, by their efforts, have improved the quality of life for the citizens, as modeled by the past efforts of Neault and those like her.

The chamber also honored several locals with awards during the banquet, themed "Reaching New Heights." It focused on the growth of business in Harker Heights and thanked those who have worked hard to make it happen. The banquet featured a safari theme, complete with an exotically named menu.

Lois Anderson was named the recipient of the Kern-Cox Award, given annually to the person a committee judges to have contributed the most to the city through the year. Anderson, who died in July, was dean emeritus of Central Texas College and a staunch supporter of the chamber.

The Large Business of the Year Award went to First State Bank Central Texas, whose president and chief executive officer is Randy Sutton. The bank was honored for financially supporting businesses in Bell county's communities.

Freedom Urgent Care in Harker Heights was given the Small Business of the Year Award for its contributions to residents in the area through a much-needed service. The business is owned by Anna Marie McKenna.

The Ambassador of the Year Award went to Gina Pence, who works at The National Banks of Central Texas. Pence, a member of the chamber's ambassador committee for a year now, has been instrumental in bringing in new chamber members.

The Firefighter of the Year Award was presented to Harker Heights Deputy Fire Chief Glenn Gallenstein, who has served as a volunteer and full-time firefighter and paramedic since 1987.

Gallenstein has been the department's deputy fire chief for 12 years.

Harker Heights Police Cpl. Randy Stefek received the Police Officer of the Year Award. Stefey, who joined the department in 2000, serves as the Special Weapons and Tactics assistant team leader, and as leader of the department's motorcycle and canine unit.

Kim Steele can be reached at or (254) 501-7567.

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