Chamber honors Citizen of the Year

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Tonight, the Greater Poplar Bluff Area Chamber of Commerce will hold its 81st annual banquet with a record crowd and recognize its Citizen of the Year.

Each year since 1976 a deserving citizen, or two, has been honored by the Chamber for their work to make Poplar Bluff a better place to live.

This year is no different.

So who will it be?

“We really like to keep it quiet from the community,” said Steve Halter, president of the Chamber. “It’s a lot more special when they don’t know.”

Right, mum’s the word.

Former honorees have included leaders in business, government, public safety, education and civic stewards. The Chamber sends out a request for nominations and gets anywhere from 10 to 20 from its members. Halter pulls together a group of five past winners of the honor and they choose the next person, or persons, to be honored.

Sharon Kissinger was honored last year. Gerard L. Saracini was the first person honored in 1976. More than one person was honored three years, meaning a total of 46 have been named Citizens of the Year.

Other people will be honored tonight as the Chamber also recognizes its Gateway to Leadership graduates, 18 this year, outgoing board members while a few extra thank yous are handed out.

There’s also a Volunteer of the Year award.

The Chamber does a lot of work promoting the area with its three-person staff that includes Halter, who said having volunteers is crucial.

There were six volunteers helping to set up the banquet that will feature over 530 guests at the Black River Coliseum, more than the record crowd that saw Joey McLane honored in 2014.

“We’re blessed with having a lot of good people in our community,” Halter said.

We agree and congratulate the honoree.

The Citizen of the Year, should be an easy choice.

Over their lifetime, they should be a champion for this area.

During this past year, they must be a leader in their field.

Does that sound like anybody you know?

— Daily American Republic

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