Mills Shallene was named the Outstanding Citizen at the Bridgeport Area Chamber of Commerce Annual Banquet Saturday. Shallene works for First Financial Bank in Bridgeport and serves on the board of directors of several local organizations including the Chamber, Lions Club, 4-H Livestock Task Force, Butterfield Stagecoach and Bridgeport Education Foundation.
“He is no stranger to the volunteer world,” said Susan Miller, the recipient of last year’s award. “I’m so excited to be giving this award. A few weeks ago, we met to discuss the many, many nominations. The number of nominations is a great testament to the commitment so many of you in the communnity have to volunteer hours to the community.”
But Shallene’s contributions stood out, she said, in particular the spearheading of the Wise County Firefighter Relief Benefit held last spring. The dinner and auction raised more than $190,000 for local departments.
“It is an event that I’m proud of, but it was the work of a great group of people, not me,” Mills said. “It’s easy to give back to such great people; the same great people who welcomed our family when we moved here. I’m honored by this award.”
(Read more about Bridgeport’s citizen of the year in an upcoming edition of the Messenger.)
During the banquet , the Chamber also presented Dr. Jeff Williams of Bridgeport Animal Hospital the Dr. Hunter Humanitarian award. Named after a former Bulls team doctor, the award recognizes an individual who provides outstanding support for the youth of the community.
“This year’s winner is no exception,” said Colby Shawn, a former chamber director.
For more than 20 years, Williams has coached football, baseball, softball and has been involved in 4-H and FFA with his children, Chase and Payton.
Chamber President Will Carpenter presented Sylvia Elenburg of The Community Bank with the Presidential Award and named Jeff Smith of Brookshire’s Director of the Year.
Smith, who has since relocated, was a former manager of the local food and pharmacy store – which was recognized as the Corportate Business of the Year for the second-straight year.
“He was dedicated, dependable and enthusiastic,” Carpenter said. “We wish he was still here. We value what he contributed and how involved with the Chamber he got the store.”
Ink ‘N’ Stitch was named Individual Business of the Year. For more than eight years, the business has offered design services, screen printing, embroidery, sign, decals, vinyl letterings, business cards, other promotional products and is an authorized FedEx ship center. Its owner, Shawn, has served as chamber president.
Chamber Executive Director Tiffany Evans recognized Carpenter, who was elected to his second term as president, for his contributions last year, namely his prank calls to the Chamber office.
Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace Terri Johnson installed this year’s new chamber directors – Elenburg, Shawn Mann of Mann Made Construction, Mark Tate of T-Top Manufacturing and Fred Meyers of Meyers Agency – and incoming officers – Carpenter of C&O Communications, president; Gilbert Horton of Devon Energy Corp., first vice president; and Kim Lawson of Angels Home Health, second VP. They join Shallene, David Correll of State Farm Insurance, Paula Terry of Bridgeport Country Club, Jonathan Cortez of Edge Fitness and Pam Lanfear, who decorated the Decatur Civic Center for the casino-night themed event.
In addition to a live and silent auction and dinner, attendees attempted to maximize their funny money at slot machines and craps and blackjack tables. Winnings – or losses – were converted into raffle tickets for chances at various donated prizes including boots, a liquor basket, designer sunglasses, a fire pit, an iPad mini and a case of 10-ounce filets. In a separate raffle, Marci Craddock won a trip to Las Vegas, sponsored by Select Energy Services.