— By BRIAN SMITH
Weatherford Chamber of Commerce members spent Thursday evening celebrating “home.”
The 93rd Annual Chamber Banquet theme of “There’s No Place Like Home” was selected because, in the eyes of Chamber President Tammy Gazzola, there “simply is no place like Weatherford.”
“What makes Weatherford home is going to Downtown Weatherford Café on a Saturday morning and seeing six people that I know,” Gazzola said. “It’s going to the cleaners and having your stuff waiting for you because they know your name.”
A number of individuals and businesses were honored during the evening. Gail Tilley introduced Ambassador of the Year Kim Laws, saying Laws, who moved to the area about 20 years ago from Mesquite, had attended more than 160 ribbon cuttings during the past year.
Laws, who is also a division chair for the United Way and active within the Weatherford Independent School District, admitted that while it took here a while to get here, she was proud to call Weatherford home and to be a part of the area.
Julie Lundy presented the Athena Award, given by the women of the Chamber board to someone who exemplifies leadership, to Debra Smith, president and co-owner of Pulliam Pools. Lundy, a former award recipient herself, said Smith supported a number of organizations, including the Parker County Health Foundation, Meals on Wheels and others, including being a past Chamber board president.
Smith said she is simply trying to train the next generation of leaders by being involved herself.
James H. Doss Award winner Don Allen said winning the award was an honor but admitted he also had a good mentor to live up to, “knowing what Mr. Doss stood for.” Presenters Charlie Gilchrist and Mayor Dennis Hooks said Allen had the qualities of a true community leader, practiced solid business principles and was a giving philanthropist.
Wayne Garrett of Snow Garrett Williams was named Citizen of the Year. Garrett said he had pulled back from his endeavors in recent years to focus on his business. The award was truly a humbling honor in his eyes.
“I think of who is ahead of me on this list, and I am humbled,” Garrett, a former Weatherford city council member, said.
Plains Capital Bank was named Large Business of the Year. Bank President Pat Hamilton said working among friends helps make for a successful business. Hamilton said also practicing business principles like James Doss did also aided in the bank’s success.
Bowie Drive Dental Care was named Small Business of the Year. Parker County Judge Mark Riley said Dr. Fred Potter, his wife Beth and their staff all “believe their work is life changing” and take pride in it.
Dr. Potter, who recently celebrated the 30-year anniversary of the business, gave all the credit to his wife, whom he admitted is his “better half and takes care of me.”
Sunny Street Café took home Newcomer Business of the Year, awarded to a business in operation for less than two years. Father-sons trio of Cliff, Daniel and Patrick Bowling have made a commitment to be involved in the community and look to be here for a long time, according to incoming Chamber Board Chairman James Plowman.
In his remarks, Plowman, who was born and raised in Weatherford, admitted he pulled back from his hometown for some time but is glad he is back.
“Weatherford is the type of town that envelops you and pulls you in,” Plowman said. “Here, it’s all about being part of the community.”
Or being part of “home.”