The Harker Heights Chamber of Commerce transformed the Killeen Civic and Conference Center into an opulent stage Monday night for the 25th annual Awards Banquet and Celebration.

Rich with hues of red and black and crystals hanging from elaborate centerpieces, the banquet honored several awardees. More than 400 people attended the silver anniversary banquet, with the theme “Life is Grand.”

“This is our way of telling our members that we had a great year and they are the reason we had a great year,” said Bill Kozlik, chamber president. “Since everyone gets pulled in five different directions this serves a great social opportunity and allows our people to mix, mingle and network.”

Randy Sutton, president of the First State Bank Central Texas in Harker Heights, was named the fifth recipient of the Kern-Cox Founders Award. Named for city founders Pinckney R. Cox and Harley Kern, the annual award is given to a resident who has made substantial contributions to Harker Heights’ development.

“I can tell you this, I don’t deserve this, but I really appreciate the honor,” Sutton said. “I will continue to work hard for this community as long as I am here.”

Before making his way onto the stage to claim his plaque, a video about Sutton played for banquet guests before the award presentation said he “made Harker Heights into the bright star of Central Texas.”

Community activist and avid volunteer John Reider, owner of John Reider Properties, was presented with the 2013 Linda Neault Citizen Award for Community Service.

The community service award was named for the late Neault, who also was an avid volunteer and considered to be an exemplary member of the Harker Heights community.

Other awards

Police Officer of the Year was presented to Community Services Officer Dave Haley, who has worked for the Harker Heights Police Department for more than 15 years.

Paramedic/Firefighter Jacob Cardona, a member of the fire department since 2008, was named Firefighter of the Year.

Central Texas College was named Large Business of the Year, and Eva Keagle, owner of Eva Sells, was presented with the Small Business of the Year award.

Chamber Ambassador of the Year was presented to Travis Knight, associate executive director for the Armed Services YMCA in Killeen.

“There is so much that happens behind the scenes to make this event happen,” Kozlik said. “I want to thank everyone who had a hand in the overall success of the event and to everyone who came out.”

Contact Vanessa Lynch at or 254-501-7567.

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