DeKalb Chamber Banquet 2024

DeKalb Chamber Banquet 2024 is another great year of greeting your fellow businesses and joining together in a festive atmosphere.

We will be honoring the Business of the Year, Organization of the Year, Person of the Year, the DeKalb Alumni of the Year, and the DeKalb Noble, all for the Calendar Year of 2023.

Chamber Banquet Poster

Award Winners for the Calendar year 2023

Ted and Suzanne Prather - Noble Winner for 2023

Presented by 2022 Noble Winner - Don Moore

I would like to begin tonight by thanking the Nobles for the honor of being last year’s recipient of the heart of the community award. If I say any more about that great recognition, I would get choked up and could not finish this presentation. It is an honor to sit here with these great Noble’s tonight and reflect on those that came before us.

This award is presented to those who have devoted their lives to the betterment of this community. They are considered contributors to the foundation we build on; the pillars that hold us up when our burdens are overwhelming, the bridges that assist us over troubled waters. A Noble Heart is steadfast in their positive attitude toward our beloved community.

The DeKalb Chamber of Commerce annually recognizes an individual who has spent his or her adult “life of service” to the community and its people. Noble Bates was the first recipient. He served on the city council and was Mayor in the 1950’s and early 60’s. Thus, the Heart of the Community award is affectionately called “the Noble Award.”
We pay tribute to our past recipients…

Noble Bates 1994
• Norman Moser 1995
• Sybil Young 1996
• JC and Lois Coggins 1997
• Roy Blankenship 1998
• Norris Howell 1999
• Willie Ruth Daniels 2000
• Bill Willis 2001
• Coy Jaggers 2002
• Dan Atchley 2003
• Mary Clinton 2004
• Billy Blakeney 2005
• Vernon Shaw 2006
• A.J Cooper 2007
• Fred Gilliam 2008
• K.C. Hillis 2009
• Don Foster 2010
• Wesley McMillan 2011
• Barry Telford 2012
• Carolyn Blackmon and Virginia Wray 2013
• Robby Bates 2014
• James Louis Tidwell 2015

• Don Hodges 2016
• Mary Nell Windle 2017
• Anne Farris 2018
• Joni Haldeman 2019
• David Meadows 2020
• Chris Moser 2021
• Velma Moore 2022
• Don Moore 2023

Through the years, we have come to learn and appreciate the many definitions of “NOBLE”: worthy, righteous, virtuous, FINE. Past Recipients have indeed lived up to those words.

Tonight’s recipients did not grow up in DeKalb but they got here as soon as they could. Their first business venture in our town was in an eating establishment once known as “Raleigh Burger.” They have had two different locations since then.

The husband-wife team met in 1972 when they both worked in North Park Mall in Dallas. They have been married for over 52 years. They soon began working for a company opening restaurants across the Midwest and Colorado. Both daughters, Ashley and Stephanie, were born there; however, wanting to raise their daughters in a small town, they headed to Texas.

In 1980, the Front Street Junction opened its doors for business. Over the years, Ted and Suzanne have employed over 2000 young adults and are sincerely proud and grateful for each and every one of them. It is probably safe to say “Junction boot camp” is not for the faint-of-heart. Ted and Suzanne were so grateful that they married off their two daughters to former employees: Tommy Crouch and Matt Flanery. Now they have 5 amazing grandchildren.

Both Suzanne and Ted have served as directors of the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce and Ted has served on the DeKalb Industrial Foundation for Economic Development. They are now passing the legacy of the Junction on to Ashley and Tommy.
The Front Street Junction has become more than just a delicious restaurant; it's a cornerstone of the community.

Over the span of four decades, Ted and Suzanne have created an atmosphere where patrons don't just come for a meal, but for the fellowship and connections with friends and neighbors. Through their dedication and commitment, they have not only created a successful restaurant but also helped put DeKalb, Texas on the map.

So, the 2024 Heart of the Community Noble Award goes to Ted and Suzanne Prather.

Noble 2023

Tad Martin - Alumni Winner of 2023

The Alumni of the Year award recognizes outstanding achievements and contributions that a person has made for our community. This person is a 1987 DeKalb High School Graduate and devotes countless hours of their time to the betterment of our community and our students.

This person volunteers their time without being asked. They are hardworking and loyal to DeKalb. This person is known to jump in and help wherever needed. They are a great mentor for our students and well respected in the Ag community and supports the education of our children.

He is a well-known farmer and currently serves as the president of the DeKalb FFA Alumni.  He helped coach the DeKalb Tractor Tech team for the last 3 years, where they recently won 2nd place at state. 3 of his team members were recognized in the Top 10 out of 105 students, what an amazing accomplishment. This marks the 3rd year the team has made it to the final stage. This person is very active in the Ag community and Ag Mechanics.

Married to his wife, Cindy, with one daughter Lara, and 2 sons Logan and Landon, and the son to Don and Marie Martin, the 2023 Alumni of the Year award goes to Mr. Tad Martin.

Alumni of the Year 2023 - Tad Martin

Donna McDaniel - Person of the Year Winner for 2023

This person selflessly devotes their time to serve the community of DeKalb and wants the best for our little town. Whether it’s at a sporting event or a community gathering, this person can always be seen supporting their love for DeKalb.

Their community involvement allows them to give back to the place they call home and support the causes that are close to their heart. This person is a DeKalb graduate of 1988 and continues to give back to our community each and every day. This person is passionate about helping others. They are committed to excellence and impacting the lives of others. This person has exceptional leadership and dedication to community service and has the ability to implement positive change and GET THINGS DONE. 

In all that this person does, they are guided by their faith and love for Jesus. They are a member of First Baptist Church, and have served on numerous community organizations, including the DeKalb Professional Women’s organization, DeKalb Oktoberfest committee, DeKalb Kares, DeKalb Chamber of Commerce and the church Decoration’s Committee.

During her 28 years in education, she has held many positions and received many prestigious awards and achievements.  She has been a teacher, principal, Vice President of Instruction and most recently returned home to serve as our Superintendent. She also led the charge to help start the DeKalb Education Foundation.

In her spare time, she enjoys camping, boating, traveling, and spending quality time with her family. She is married to her husband, Jason, of 30 years. She has two sons, Warren and Christopher, and 2 precious grandchildren, Witten and Emma Kate. She is the daughter of Don and Chris Moore. Her family inspires her every day to strive for excellence and to cherish the joys of life.

The 2023 Person of the Year award goes to Dr Donna McDaniel.

Donna McDaniel - Person of the Year
Moore McDaniel FamilyMoore & McDaniel Family Witnessing Donna McDaniel's Award

Greg Hawkins - Business of the Year 2023

The 2023 Business of the Year was never planned but evolved. It began in 1982 when the original owner had a vision of phasing into a career that would allow him to retire from Civil Service but still motivate and challenge him. It grew quickly from a vision to a thriving reality and provided insurance not only in DeKalb but across East Texas.
In 2015, the next family member stepped in and bought the business. Having stated that he would NEVER own an insurance business proved to be wrong after things changed in his existing career and with the dynamics of his parents.
He graduated from DeKalb in 1978 (valedictorian), attended Texarkana College, and eventually transferred to veterinary school at Texas A&M University. He worked at a large animal clinic in Mabank to start his journey, and worked as a field vet and finally Region Director for the Texas Animal Health Commission.
His job began to require more extensive travel and his parent’s health began to decline so after 28 years with the state, he retired. With never a break between jobs, he began working with his dad to learn the basics of the business and worked at his home until he opened the store front in 2017.
Since he still resides in his home in Queen City with his wife of 42 years, his involvement in the community affairs have often been remote support with financial sponsorship to various youth organizations and clubs. He loves to donate the woodworking’s of his in-laws to local auctions as this gives him a way to help his wife’s parents as well as the organizations. He also continued his dad’s tradition of sponsoring the ice cream booth at Saturday in the Park. He participates each year in the Halloween trunk or treat and usually Oktoberfest and Christmas in the park. Even when juggling family responsibilities conflict with the events, he makes sure to contribute financially such as to the July fireworks celebration. He served a 3-year term on the Chamber of Commerce where he learned just how much work goes into all these events. 

Since he desires to see our local youth continue to be leaders in the vast array of agriculture opportunities, he also serves on the committee for the Bowie County Project Show.
Upholding a tradition set by his father of exceptional service, the business has received numerous accolades, including the Reader’s Choice award for Best Agent and Agency. He also received the Chamber’s business of the month in July of 2023.
In his spare time, he serves as deacon and teaches an adult Sunday School class at New Hope Baptist Church in Bloomburg where he and his family have been members for 33 years. Since his two sons now live in Houston and he was FINALLY blessed with 3 grandchildren, he also spends a lot of time traveling to Houston to enjoy precious time with family.
He has certainly not achieved success in his business alone. His niece, Morgan, has been with the agency even longer than him since she started out in Hubbard with Mimi and Pappy. She is able to provide service to the community with her deep understanding of the insurance markets and look for options in companies other than Germania. She is faithful to her job and to serving the client base.
Connie Daffern serves as office manager and has been with the agency since 2018. She handles a wide variety of responsibilities and with her sweet disposition, none of them ever seem like a burden. She makes the wheels turn and keeps the other two in line!
With a dedicated team including long-serving staff members and a commitment to personalized service, this business continues to navigate the challenges of the insurance industry with unwavering dedication and service to its clients.
Congratulation to the 2023 Business of the Year, Greg Hawkins, LLC DBA Jackie Hawkins Insurance

Greg Hawkins - Business of the Year

First Baptist Church - Organization of the Year Winner for 2023

Our 2023 “Organization of the Year”, is one that has been a part of our town since being organized in 1868. This organization has had many leaders, trustees and members over the past 156 years that have contributed to our town.
Most of us in this room at some point in our lifetime have benefitted from this organization because for many years, this organization allowed the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce, DeKalb Independent School District, DeKalb Oktoberfest, and many other organizations to use their facilities free of charge.
Over the past several years, this organization, through its members and leaders have started new projects and revamped old ones and have taken on several families in the community to nurture and love through difficult times. While the organization is growing and many changes are happening, their love for the people in this community has not changed.

This year we want to recognize the First Baptist Church of DeKalb for all that they do for this community.  They love the people of this town. 

In addition to all that has been stated previously, FBC has a community ESL program and serve about 150 youth and children on BIG Wednesday nights. 

FBC DeKalb leadership is Pastor James Sparks serving for 11 years; Music Minister Russell Kersey serving for 17 years; Youth Minister Josh Sciara; Children’s Director Sara King; Office Manager Kelsey McDermott; Secretary Bonita Walker and Project Manager, Gail Davis.   While there is amazing leadership in this organization, I know they would all tell you that it is about the people of the organization.  It is the members of FBC DeKalb that make all these things possible with their giving spirit to serve this town…and to God be the Glory!

Congratulations to the 2023 “Organization of the Year”, the First Baptist Church, DeKalb, Texas!

First Baptist Church - Organization of the Year

Retiring 2023 Chamber of Commerce Board Members

2023 Retiring Board MembersLR: Lisa Williams, Jody Crouch, Clayton Little, Connie Cooper, Donna McDaniel & Cole Denny

2023 Chamber of Commerce Board

All Board MembersLR: David Daniels, Leann Groom, Lisa Williams, Kelsey McDermott, Jody Crouch, Cyndi Hickson, Clayton Little, Connie Cooper, Donna McDaniel, Cole Denny, Amanda Bates, Robert Walls & Bernie Martin

Special Thanks to our Queens for Making the Auction go so Well!!

Queen Help
Queen Help
Queen Help

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Special Thanks to our Sponsors for the 2024 Banquet

Williams House MuseumWilliams House Museum

DeKalb Economic Development CorpDeKalb Economic Development Corp