Chamber of Commerce presents awards at annual dinner

Officers of the California Area Chamber of Commerce are, from left, Melissa Bonecutter, Treasurer; Norris Gerhart, President; Melanie McDonald, Secretary; Becky Lawson, vice president.

Officers of the California Area Chamber of Commerce are, from left, Melissa Bonecutter, Treasurer; Norris Gerhart, President; Melanie McDonald, Secretary; Becky Lawson, vice president.

Three awards were presented at the annual dinner meeting of the California Area Chamber of Commerce Jan. 26 in addition to honoring the California Volunteer fire fighters.

The event at the California Nutrition Center began with a social time during which Phil Lewis entertained on piano while guests sampled appetizers, bid on silent auction items and checked out live auction items.

At 6 p.m. Chamber President Norris Gerhart welcomed everyone and introduced those presenting the awards.

Richard Schroeder presented the 2012 Business of the Year Award to Rackers Manufacturing, Inc. The award was accepted by founders and owners Charles and Carol Rackers. The business was started in 1972. Expansions of the product lines have led to international marketing and sales.

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From left, Carol and Charles Rackers are presented the California Area Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year Award for Rackers Manufacturing, Inc., by Richard Schroeder at the annual dinner meeting Saturday, Jan. 26.

Morris Burger presented the 2012 Citizen of the Year Award to Roberta Rothstein, a longtime chamber member, volunteer and spearhead for the Ozark Ham and Turkey Festival.

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Roberta Rothstein, left, is presented with the california Area Chamber of Commerce 2012 Citizen of the Year Award by Morris Burger. The award was presented at the chamber annual dinner Saturday, Jan. 26.

Brad Baer presented a new award, 2012 Chamber Volunteer of the Year. Baer explained that in mid-2012 the chamber had decided to begin presenting this new award. When Brenda Opel died, Baer said the board's opinion was that her long-standing volunteer efforts for the chamber and its activities, such as the Easter Egg Hunt and the Ham and Turkey Festival, made her the obvious recipient of the first volunteer award. Receiving the award on behalf of Opel, were her brother David and Steve Wieland.

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At the annual chmaber of commerce meeting Saturday, Jan. 26, Brad Baer, left, presents the first plaque for Volunteer of the Year, awarded posthumously to Brenda Opel. Accepting the award are Steve Wieland and David Opel.

The Rev. Tim Burgher, on behalf of the California Ministerial Alliance, led the invocation before the meal. Catered by California Eagles Auxiliary 4027, the meal included ham, chicken, scalloped potatoes, corn, rolls, salad and a large selection of desserts. The Eagles Auxiliary also provided the appetizers with Coca-Cola sponsoring soda.

Ben Dugan served as auctioneer for the live auction. Larry Higgins, Kenny Kunze and Charlie Roll were bid takers with Becky Lawson and Marla Wright displaying the bid items. All of the auction proceeds go to the Chamber Scholarship Fund. Proceeds were in excess of $4,000 for both live and silent auctions.

After the auction, the chamber annual meeting was convened. The minutes from the 2011 meeting were approved as well as the treasurer's report. Gerhart gave the president's report. A report of the 2012 Ozark Ham and Turkey Festival report followed. Gerhart reported the donation of funds to the Moniteau County Historical Society towards the new Genealogy addition. This came from profits from the Ham and Turkey Festival.

Next, 2012 Chamber Board Directors were approved including Baer, Melissa Bonecutter, Becky Lawson, Robin Ratcliff and Dwight Sanders. Chamber Board officer nominees for 2012 were elected which included President Norris Gerhart, Vice President Lawson, Secretary McDonald and Treasurer Bonecutter.

In honor of the California Volunteer Fire , Dolores Burger spoke of the origin of the California Volunteer Fire Department in 1911, and some of the advances over the last 100 years. Gerhart introduced the fire fighters as a group and presented them with individual certifiactes.

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