Pauls Valley Democrat
It was like a double whammy with a cherry on top as two citizens of the year were named this week by the Pauls Valley Chamber of Commerce to go along with a corporate honor.
A humble gratitude filled Thursday night’s annual chamber banquet as past winners announced two individuals would share this year’s top citizen honor, Ronnie Patton and Lucille Ensey.
The spotlight also went to Sharpe’s Department Store for its honor as 2013’s corporate citizen of the year.
Even with Patton out of the country and unable to attend the ceremonies, his surprise on learning of the honor was right up front in the form of comments read by last year’s winner, Richelle Humphrey.
“Surprised is not even the word,” Patton said in the statement. “I was truly honored. I humbly accept this honor and hopefully we can continue working together for the betterment of the Pauls Valley community.
“I will always cherish this moment. I’m just sorry that I couldn’t be there.”
The second top honor started with a Bible verse as Humphrey pointed out Ensey used to teach at nearby Whitebead, volunteers at the local hospital and was the “main force” in bringing the Backpack for Kids program to PV and many Garvin County schools, which works to provide kids in need with food.
She added 88 young students in Pauls Valley were helped by the food program this past school year.
Ensey’s acceptance of the honor came with a brief touch of modesty.
“My heart is to give to those who for whatever reason don’t have the blessings I have,” Ensey said.
“I’m just so very proud to be from Pauls Valley.”
The surprise with the corporate honor came when Humphrey, longtime leader at Sharpe’s, had store manager Julie Wilkerson come up to the podium to accept the award.
“I was floored by this,” Wilkerson said.
“Richelle has always been a big supporter of the toy museum, the community and the chamber,” she said. “She has done anything to better the community.
“This is very unexpected but it’s a real honor.”
As the local chamber is nearing its 100th year of working for Pauls Valley a number of others were honored for their volunteer service over the past year.
Helping to lead that charge was Janet Moore, the outgoing chamber board chairperson.
“It’s been my honor and privilege to serve as the chair this past year,” Moore said.
Coming in as the new board chairperson is Howard Grider.
“Although the name designates chamber of commerce we really are more about the community of Pauls Valley,” Grider said.
“When companies or families are looking to relocate they call the chamber of commerce to get information,” he said.
“We’re also a chamber of industrial and economic development. We’re also a chamber of tourism. We’re a chamber of the community.”
Grider said since moving here in 2001 to work for Covercraft he’s seen the “energy and drive” of the PV residents working to get things done.
He gave plenty of thanks to chamber President Della Wilson and others for “making all this possible.”