An appreciative audience packed Occasions special events center, Monday night, for the annual awards banquet of the Nashville Chamber of Commerce.
There was the usual official handoff of the chamber board presidency from Carlos Martinez to Michelle Boone, and there was a special handoff of the post of chamber executive director from Mike Reese to Tim Pinkerton.
The evening also included awards for lifetime achievement, new businesses, and memorials for eight citizens who died in 2022.
It was a special evening for Michelle Barger Boone who officially took the chamber reins, but was also recognized as co-owner of a new business, and was named Woman of the Year. The latter award was presented by last year’s winner, Stephanie Harrison. Dr. Boone has been active in the community through her Compassion Health Clinic, and activities in the Junior Auxiliary and the chamber of commerce.
Man of the Year was Ricky Kesterson who was recognized for his support for youth activities and on the parks and recreation commission. The award was presented by new chamber executive director Tim Pinkerton. Kesterson drew the biggest laugh of the evening when he said he ‘grew up’ in the north end of the county, always rooting for the Dierks Outlaws, the Umpire Wildcats and “whoever was playing Nashville.”
The master of ceremonies for the event was former chamber president Loren Hinton of UA-Cossatot.
New businesses of 2022 were recognized. Nashville Pharmacy was recognized, and the award was accepted by owners Tyler and Jordan Tollett.
Impact Counseling’s business award was presented to Dr. Boone and co-owner Priscilla Faulkner. Also recognized was Nashville Jewelry.
The Orange and Black Education Award went posthumously to Leslie White who was honored earlier during the memorials.
Memorial plaques were presented to families of citizens who died during the year. The presentations, and responses, were often emotional. Memorial recognition was for Robert Chism, Sandy Stanley, Joe Goodrum, Phyllis Honea, Becky Ray, Hix Smith, Jr., Verna Hockaday and Lesley White.
The Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Larry Teague who has served the community in both the Arkansas House of Representatives and the Arkansas Senate for a combined total of 20 years.
Emcee Hinton noted that the meal was catered by Patacakes and was served by local 4-H members.
In the audience was the county’s new state senator, Mike Hickey of Texarkana. In a presentation to outgoing executive director on his birthday, the chamber board sang “Happy Birthday” and gave him a cake. He said he intended to stay active in the chamber and support Pinkerton, himself a retired banker and past Man of the Year winner.
The chamber board for 2023 includes Michelle Boone, president; Aaron Tollett, vice-president; and directors Susie Berruquin, Annette Brown, Tina Carver, Lisa Chandler, Leslie Cole, Bill Craig, Priscilla Faulkner, Dennis Guzman, Loren Hinton, Carlos Martinez, Tammy Lansdell, Cole Law, Kristen Stavely and Kristi Strong.