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The Ava Area Chamber of Commerce recently held its annual Membership & Awards Banquet at the Ava Middle School cafeteria, with approximately 120 people in attendance. The room displayed colorful tables decorated and sponsored by local businesses and organizations. The American Legion Color Guard began the evening by presenting the American flag and leading the Pledge of Allegiance. Chamber Director, Judy Shields, welcomed everyone, thanked the banquet sponsors, and encouraged participation in the silent auction. Dan and Betsy Herrell provided musical entertainment and played a variety of songs during the evening meal to everyone’s enjoyment.
As the evening proceeded, special appreciation was given to Max and Wanda Murphy, owners of United Country Area Land Realty, for donating the office space that the Chamber resides in for the past 20 years, and several comm
unity awards were announced.
The John N. Dickison Award, established in 1989, recognizes a Douglas County citizen, outstanding in longevity in community service and dedication to the people of Douglas County. The nominees for the 2023 John N. Dickison Award were Dawn Cox, Joshua Browning, and Robert Sorensen.
Marie Bristol spoke fondly of her father, John Dickison, for whom the award is named, and then read nomination letters honoring the three nominees. Marie then announced that the Awards Committee, comprised of past Dickison Award recipients, had chosen Robert Sorensen to receive the 2023 John N. Dickison Award.
The next award to be given was the Will McFarlin Youth Award, established in 1995. This award recognizes a high school youth of good reputation and character for his or her leadership and involvement in our community. Nominees for this year’s award are Ava High School students Ivy Nelson, Madalyn Russell, and Reagan Stillings. Will McFarlin, for whom the award was established, honored the nominees by reading each student’s nomination letter. Due to the nominees being unable to attend the Banquet, Will plans to announce the at the Senior Awards Ceremony on May 17th.
The evening continued with the recognition of outgoing Chamber Board Members, Wes Davis, Mindy Johnson, and Patty Nelson, and the announcing of the Tasty Dish contest winners. Best Casserole went to Gail Huffman, Best Veggie/Fruit Dish went to Wanda Murphy, and Best Dessert went to Jamie Dry. Best Dressed contest winners were Sherry Wallace for her 60’s vibe and Logan Little for his western-wear, complete with handlebar mustache.
Many door prizes were given away throughout the night, and Best Decorated Table went to Pro Design Screen Printing for their Roaring 20’s themed table.
The Chamber Banquet also had a large and successful silent auction wi
th approximately 140 gift cards, certificates, and various donated items.