Last year, the Killeen Civic and Conference Center was transformed into South of the Border for the annual Harker Heights Chamber of Commerce Banquet, but this year’s event was all about “Hometown Heroes.”
The 31st annual Chamber of Commerce Awards Banquet and Celebration on Monday night was a chance for city and economic leaders to network and celebrate heroism in the community in ways large and small.
“Each year we pick a theme but we’ve never done anything before honoring our hometown heroes,” Gina Pence, president of the Harker Heights Chamber of Commerce, told the Herald. “When we think of heroes, we think of fire, police and the military, but so many people do extraordinary things that we want to recognize.”
The most prestigious award, the Kern-Cox Award, went to Dr. James Anderson, former chancellor of Central Texas College and a member of the Chamber’s board of directors.
In addition to the six awards presented by the Chamber, the city also recognized two of its life-saving heroes, Officer Melissa Wolfe, Police Officer of the Year; and Kellie Mozek, Firefighter and Paramedic of the Year.
About 500 people attend the Harker Heights Chamber of Commerce Banquet every year, Pence said, with Monday’s event continuing that trend.
The 2019 honorees are:
Chamber Ambassador of the Year — Chentell Merriman, author of Zoe Books of Life
Small Business of the Year — POP! CornUtopia
Large Business of the Year — Smile Doctors Braces
Outstanding Community Partner Award —American Veterans Mission (AVM)
Tourism Partner Award — Texas Boat World
The 11th Annual Kern-Cox Founders Award — Dr. James Anderson