The Greater Killeen Chamber of Commerce hosted its annual awards banquet Thursday night, honoring two local businesses and one individual for their work in the community.

“Thank you for joining us as we celebrate another wonderful year of serving you, our investors, in the greater Killeen area,” said Carlyle Walton, CEO of Metroplex Health System and the chamber’s chairman of the board, as he welcomed those gathered at the 80th award celebration.

The chamber awarded the Roy J. Smith award to Wallace Vernon, a retired CPA and general partner for Centex Technologies.

“I’m honored,” said Vernon, who did not know he was getting the award until his name was announced Thursday night.

The award is given to individuals for outstanding community leadership and a “lifelong contribution to improving the Central Texas area.”

Walton and others praised Vernon for his work in a video presentation, lauding him for fundraising efforts and volunteer work with numerous charities and nonprofit organizations in the greater Killeen area.

“Wallace is always focused on making his community a better place,” Walton said.

Walton characterized Vernon as a hard-working humble servant of the community. True-to-fashion, Vernon asked his family and those who worked with him on his various service projects to stand and be recognized during his acceptance speech.

“Nobody does all that you saw on the screen by themselves,” Vernon said. “I’ve been blessed with a great deal of help.”

In addition to Vernon’s award, the chamber also honored the small and large businesses of the year.

Texas A&M University-Central Texas received the 2013 Large Business of the Year award, which is given to a local business with more than 50 employees. Chick-fil-A Killeen was selected as the 2013 Small Business of the Year, which is given to a local business with less than 50 employees.

Contact Chris McGuinness at or (254) 501-7568. Follow him on Twitter at ChrismKDH.

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