BY MELANIE BUCK –
The Mena/Polk County Chamber of Commerce Banquet and Membership Celebration was presented to a full house at the CMA Iron Mountain Pavillion on Thursday, April 6. The Chamber raised a record-setting $10,000 through their annual auction, which provides funding for their scholarship program.
Former Razorback Quarterback Tyler Wilson was the guest speaker and was ‘sold’ as a table guest by ‘always-fun’ auctioneer Shannon Hunter, who kept the action hopping. Won by Tracy Hensley, she was honored to have Wilson as their guest for the evening and the record-setting Razorback proved to be great company.
Entertainment was provided by Brothers & Sons, a three-member group comprised of the Vacca Brothers (Scott and Johnny) and Jared McPherson. A tailgate-style BBQ meal was served up by Chicollo’s Food Emporium, and served right off the tailgates of brand new trucks provided by Mena Ford. Stewman’s Flowers provided the table decorations that kept true to the ‘jeans and jerseys’ theme.
The 2016 Community Awards were presented at the banquet to recognize the outstanding achievements of citizens and businesses in the area.
Donna Montgomery was honored as Volunteer of the Year. Montgomery currently serves as the President of the Rich Mountain Community College Foundation and has served on many civic boards over the years.
Carla Vaught was recognized as Citizen of the Year. Vaught serves as the county’s Extension Agent and provides citizens with valuable agricultural information and resources, and also heads up the 4H program.
The City of Mena was awarded Best Renovation/Beautification for the completion of the Downtown Streetscape Project. The multi-year project was completed in 2016 with the installation of new sidewalks, benches, and trash receptacles on North Mena Street.
Best New Construction was given to The Crossing Church for their new Children’s Building. The massive addition was completed in 2016 and expanded the church by 5,100 sq. feet. The new addition provides more than three times the space for children than previously.
University of Arkansas – Rich Mountain was honored as Business of the Year. In 2016, Rich Mountain Community College joined the University of Arkansas’ system and became UA-Rich Mountain.
Mena/Polk County Chamber of Commerce Board President Matt Thomas presented Tammy Young with the Chamber’s Past-President award for her leadership in 2016.