DeKalb Chamber Banquet 2021

DeKalb Chamber Banquet 2021 was a wonderful occasion for all. We have community Awards and an Auction with a great meal. Want to give a special thanks to Colton Daffern for taking these great photographs for us!

DeKalb Chamber of Commerce Banquet 2021

Award Winner's Speeches for 2020

Business of the Year

His journey began traveling throughout the United States, working in cities that endured catastrophic storms, learning, and experiencing different walks of life from his own. Being on the road for 10 years, nothing compared to the feeling of coming home. With that desire to set up roots, his wife and their three sons moved to DeKalb a few years later.
In August of 2018, He seized a business opportunity, bought a store, and began yet another journey. He took his hard-earned money and determination and poured right into the heart of this town. He and his team began the process of remodeling and rebranding what had long been a staple in the community.
Since the purchase, he and his team have worked long and hard to meet the needs of their customers which are made up of citizens of the surrounding areas, businesses, farms, schools, and homes. He and his staff lead by example and are compassionate and loyal to their customers. They are the heart and soul of the store.
He is also continuously learning how to improve what his store has to offer its customers. He has attended conventions for the past several years in Las Vegas and Chicago to learn more about inventory management, meet with vendors in person to build business relationships, and learn about new products that he can bring back to serve his customers.
Hagen Knox and his now family of six, are a real treasure to this town and to this area. With their honesty, hard work, and commitment to this town, we wish them many more great years and a successful business. The best is yet to come.

Congratulations to 2020 Business of the Year… DeKalb Hardware!

Person of the Year

Born and bred in DeKalb, Texas in 1959. He grew up working in vegetable gardens and on the farm raising livestock with his family, particularly with his grandfather. At DeKalb High School, he participated in the DeKalb FFA Chapter, was elected to and served as a Chapter officer and Texas Area Vice President, placing at the state level in several individual and team competitions.
After graduating from DeKalb High school, he attended Texas A&M University in College Station, and upon graduation, he took a job as a Mechanical Engineer at Red River Army Depot, later promoted to an Industrial Engineer Supervisor, and was commended for his service through being awarded the Department of the Army's highest Civilian Service Medal.
His many volunteer activities include serving as DeKalb Chamber of Commerce, President by soliciting donations and the overseeing of roof replacement for Chamber Building and Williams House. He planned and hosted Oktoberfest, before it was its own entity, and Christmas in DeKalb.
He has served as …PTA, President Oktoberfest Volunteer and State Theater Volunteer for repairs and maintenance. DeKalb Youth Baseball League, President and T-Ball & Little League Youth Baseball Coach, Little Dribblers Basketball Coach, Tiger Cub, Webelos, & Boy Scouts Assistant Scout Master (12+years), Bear Booster Club, including President (2 years), Band Booster Club, Member, Ag Booster Club, Member
He has served his church in so many ways by assisting with youth and children’s education, music and choir ministry, church camp and mission trips, community outreach, bible drill coach, Sunday school teacher, and deacon. First Baptist Church De Kalb is blessed to have his servant leadership involved in so many areas.
He has also served the DeKalb ISD board of trustees for the past fourteen years, serving as President for the past several years.
From the past to the present, he is a perpetual volunteer for repairs, maintenance, and everything else. If you need something done, just ask him and he is always willing to help with a smile and kind spirit. He is one of a kind. Friend to all and one of the most genuine, kind, God-loving, men I know,
The 2020 Person of the Year is Douglas Blake Hodges.
On a side note, did you know he played Jesus in an Easter show at the DeKalb ISD gym?

Organization of the Year

Our 2020 “Organization of the Year”, is one that has been a part of our town for many years. Established in 1831 near its present location in a one room log cabin, this organization has been the center of our town. Many of us in this room have been a part of this organization; it is one that unites us all.
While this organization, within itself has many organizations, we want to honor them for all that they bring to our community. They embody all aspects of the very existence of our town. This community is based on pride in family, church and country and this community has a strong spirit of camaraderie which prevails within this organization.
This past year during the pandemic and a world of uncertainty, this organization kept what seemed like a crazy world…somewhat normal by continuing to support our community each and every day through education, activities, volunteerism, and a general pride and promotion of the DeKalb Community. Showing a love of our DeKalb community, this organization brings us all together.
This year we want to recognize our staff, our teachers, our administrators, our board members and our students for all that they do for this community. They have shown dedication and unwavering determination in working to do good things for DeKalb.
Congratulations to the 2020 “Organization of the Year”, the DeKalb Independent School District!


Every year we have Board of Directors terms that expire and new members that are voted in by our Chamber Members. This year we have three Board Members whose terms are expiring have all full filled their entire term. Please come up and receive your plaque as a token of our appreciation for your dedication to our community.

Our outgoing Members are:
President - Carrie Flannery
Treasurer - Sharell Jackson
Juanita Moore

All of these members have been on the Board the entire 3-year term and I have been pleased and honored to work aside them. Please give our outgoing BOARD MEMBERS a round of applause.

This year we welcome a new group of electees onto the Board of Directors. Please stand when I call your name. We would like to welcome Jody Crouch, Clayton Little, as our newest members of the De Kalb Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. Thank you all for volunteering your time and I look forward to working for our community and businesses with you. Let’s give a warm welcome to our new 2021 Board Members.

Previous Year Speeches

Alumni of the Year - 2016

It’s been said if you want to know who a man is, look at his friends. This years Distinguished Alumni has a great group of friends. They have known each other all their lives. They grew up together. They played T-ball together and then Little league. They started kindergarten together in Mrs. Kristi Hawkins’ class. They went all through school together. A favorite middle
school teacher, Sue Farris Atkinson, says she’d loved to have had 30 kids just like him in class. She said He was always polite and well behaved because that’s what his parents expected of him. She always wanted to give him a big hug and remembers his huge laugh. He still has that same laugh today.
After graduation from Dekalb High, many of this group of friends went to college together. In fact, this alumnus attended 5 different colleges. He started at Henderson State University. He then spent some time at Texarkana College then on to Blin before finally settling in College Station at A&M. An Aggie for sure! He got His bachelor’s degree in political science.
He then decided that the Law was his calling. So, he was off to Texas Tech School of Law in Lubbock. While in law school, he won the Jurisprudence Award for receiving the highest grade in both Personal Injury Litigation and Trial Advocacy. He was selected to the Mock Trial Team and was honored with and early induction to the Board of Barristers where he received a scholarship for his work as the Vice Chairman of Administration.
While most of his friends settled down here in Dekalb, his first job out of law school took him to Tyler Tx. He married and immediately went to work as an Assistant District Attorney for Smith County In just under a year he successfully tried over 20 jury trials. He then accepted the position of Senior Briefing Attorney to the Hon. William H. Stieger, Senior United States District
Judge. He remained in that position for 6 years.
In 2006, he joined his long-time friend and law school classmate Darren Grant to form the law firm of Grant and Flanery. Judge Stiegers influence on his life can still be seen today. Matt patterns his work ethic and relationships to his staff after Judge Steiger. The firm has been named “Best Attorneys in Tyler” 3 times.
The only thing more important to him than his firm is his family. He and wife Stephanie Prather are busy raising 3 young, very active children. Maddie, Ozzie and Raylan. They are very involved with them and their many activities.
In his down time, he is well known for his many “Projects”. Many weekends these projects lead him to numerous trips to the local Home Depot…….and occasionally the nearby Emergency Room.
He’s a great brother. Travis, probably his biggest fan, will tell you that he’s always been there for him. Whether to help him get him into or out of trouble.
To say he is a great husband and father…… That’s clearly evident.
To say his parents are proud of him…... absolutely!
To say his town is encouraged by him… is an understatement!
We would like to Congratulate the 2017 Alumni of the Year…. Matthew Flanery

                                   Organization of the Year - 2017

Our 2017 “Organization of the Year”, is one that has been a part of our town for many years. Incorporated in the 1960’s, the original board consisted of directors well-known to most residents of that era: Otto Moser; H.R. Meadows; W.C. Wooldridge; David Norris; J.M. Dunn; J.W. Smith, Jr; and W.B. Russell. The Articles of Incorporation were signed on December 15, 1965, and the group has never looked back.
On August 11, 1997, the City Council approved the purchase of 40 acres, west of town, to be the site of the new Industrial Park. In 2014 another 64 acres were added with the purchase of adjoining land from Billy Don English. The Industrial Park currently has two businesses on site, as well as our Volunteer Fire Department. In the past couple of years, more activity has been
seen at the site with the extension of Liberty Drive, from Grizzly Drive. This extension runs south to a point where it meets a completely new road running east and west and providing 259 access to the park on the west end, and DISD access on the east end. The next phase in this particular project is the surfacing of the new roads. This opens up the park to many new possibilities, including the hopes of a truck center and hotel. Not only does this creates prime real estate fronting Hwy 259, but provides an entrance to the Industrial Park, the City Park, and additional access to DISD. In the process of digging a dirt pit to provide them with the necessary dirt to build new roads on the property, and due to a large underground spring, the bonus of a
roughly 5-acre fishing pond, soon became apparent. This new pond is surrounded by about a mile of walking trail which will join another section of trail to be built in and around the City Park. It will also connect to the DISD grounds.
This Foundation also sponsors the Mike White Pasture Roping Event which is coming up next weekend. This will be its 9th year. This event donates proceeds to “Ropin’ Dreams” and local needs, for those who are facing difficult illnesses. This Foundation is also a supporter of the annual Oktoberfest, our 4th of July celebration, and other local events.
This group is presently researching a grant which would help to further develop this property. Future plans include a covered multi-use, ag-related event center/show barn. There is nothing of this nature in our area and they believe it would be a much-needed addition to our town.
Additionally, there are plans for RV hookups which would provide a lodging option for those attending ball tournaments, festivals, or events held at the new venue.
As you can see, this is a dedicated and very busy group. They are always focused on the needs of our town, always with an eye to the future. No one could be more deserving and we commend you folks for your devotion to De Kalb, and to all of those who live here. Today’s board, led by Ted Prather, also contains those well-known and respected by the residents of DeKalb and surrounding areas: Steve McMichael, Aaron Calvit, Jana Ford, Barry Telford, Howard Watson, and Mitch Stone; people who have shown dedication and unwavering determination in working to do good things for De Kalb.
Congratulations to the 2017 “Organization of the Year”, the De Kalb Industrial Foundation!