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Award recipients honored at Metrocrest chamber banquet
DAN EAKIN / STAFF PHOTO - Among those receiving awards at the 44th Annual Metrocrest Chamber of Commerce Awards Banquet Friday night were, front row from left, William Webb, Ambassador of the year; Donnay Youney, 2012 Ambassador Chairman; Tino Patel and Ivan Hughes, Rising Star Award winners; and back row from left, Ben Cunningham, Citizen of the Year; Jason O'Quinn, Rising Star Award winner; and Jamie Robertson, representing Plains Capital Bank, Business of the Year.
It was no surprise to several award winners at Friday night’s 44th annual Metrocrest Chamber of Commerce banquet.
It had already been announced that Ben Cunningham would be presented with the 2012 Milburn Gravley Citizen of the Year Award, and that William Webb would be named David E. Oldfield Ambassador of the Year. Plains Capital Bank people knew their bank would be Business of the Year and Ivan Hughes, Jason O-Quinn and Tino Patel knew they would be honored as Rising Stars.
But no one had told Tracy Eubanks that he would receive the Golden Eagle Award.
That honor came to the man who has been serving as chamber president since 2011, and who will become the CEO of Metrocrest Social Services at the end of April.
Coppell Mayor Karen Hunt, who received the Golden Eagle Award in 2003, presented Eubanks with the award. A Selection Committee composed of previous Golden Eagle Award winners had selected Eubanks from a list of people who have been dedicated to and supportive of chamber activities in the past.
“It came as a complete surprise to me,” Eubanks said. “When Karen said the award would go to someone from the 2007 Leadership class, I started trying to think who was in that class with me.”
In addition to Hunt, three other mayors were also on hand to make presentations. Carrollton Mayor Matthew Marchant, Farmers Branch Mayor Bill Glancy and Addison Mayor Todd Meier took turns in presenting Rising Star awards to Hughes, O’Quinn and Patel.
Charles Heath, outgoing chamber board chairman, recognized members of the 2012 board of directors, and Jamie Robertson, incoming chairman, recognized the 2013 board of directors.
Sylvia Gravley, wife of longtime Carrollton city leader Milburn Gravley who died last fall, accepted a plaque in his honor as outgoing board member.
Ben Cunningham told the crowd that he felt honored to be the first recipient of the Milburn Gravley Citizen of the Year Award.
“Milburn had an impact on all of us,” Cunningham said. “His commitment to the community for over 30 years after retirement. I think we would all be hard pressed to match such devotion.”
He added, “During my nearly 37 years in the Metrocrest, I’ve been blessed to know many people, serve alongside many of you in this room, great people who are making a difference.”
Cunningham told the story of an elderly man who had planted a durian tree for people to enjoy after he is no longer alive.
“There are a lot of planters in this room, people who are investing in this community to make it a better place to live, work and play,” Cunningham said.
Robertson, as incoming board chairman, said, “2012 was the year of engagement. We accomplished many things in 2012 such as an increase in attendance to the general membership luncheons, a revitalized leadership program which completely sold out this year and is almost sold out for next year, and a better accounting for our budget and the overall cash flow of the organization.”
He added, “So if 2012 was our year of engagement, 2013 is our year for growth. Growth in membership, growth in programs, growth in leadership and growth in business. It’s our job to reach out to those in our community, in our workplace in our social lives and bring those people to the chamber and let them know how great our organization is.”
Mike Doocy, a longtime Channel 4 sportscaster and resident of Carrollton, made a repeated performance as master of ceremonies for the banquet. The Rev. Willie Rainwater gave the invocation and State Rep. Bennett Ratliff led the crowd of 250 people with the Pledge of Allegiance.