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November 19, 1996

Last week's Chamber of Commerce membership banquet was a splendid affair in every way. A capacity crowd filled the Elks Lodge ballroom and the roast beef dinner served by the Elks and Elkettes was just a tasty beginning for what proved to be a veritable avalanche of well-deserved tributes.

Art and Evelyn Brown were revealed as the chamber's joint winners of the Citizen of the Year award. This is the first time that title has been presented to a husband wife team, and no more deserving people could have been chosen. Dr. Brown's years of service to this community in the role of a general medicine practitioner have enabled him to exercise compassion along with the traditional healing arts, and Evelyn, his helpmate and a registered nurse, has been no less a part of that ministry. Though officially retired, you would not know that if you followed them around on a typical day. The folks at Operation Blessing, among others, are well aware of how Art and Evelyn have channeled their time and energies into new fields.

Carol McPeek of LJR Enterprises was announced as the Employee of the Year award winner. Portions from several letters that nominated her for this honor were read and they showed clearly that she was a good choice. Our friend Milo W. Watson, in absentia, was presented the chamber's first Lifetime Achievement Award, and the C-C directors certainly made no mistake in creating that form of recognition for this fine gentleman. It was an emotional moment when Milo's daughters, Carolyn Adkins and Mary Lee Streller, accepted the honor on their father's behalf.

Lloyd Brown, a past president of the chamber and a previous recipient of the Citizen of the Year title, was called forward to receive a Sam Walton Business Leader Award, the first of its kind to be bestowed upon a Perry resident. The award, made possible through the Wal-Mart company, which Walton founded, carries with it a $500 donation to the chamber in Brown's name.

In addition to the awards, announcement was made of the sale of The Perry Daily Journal to Ken and Phillip Reid of Weatherford. They were here for the banquet, with their wives and Phillip's daughter, Hayden. You will be hearing much more about these folks and this transaction, but let me just say that I have known Ken Reid for several years and he is highly regarded in Oklahoma newspaper circles. With his son, Phillip, as a partner, he will bring a sound business, professional and ethical philosophy to our Perry newspaper. Milo also knows the Reids and I am sure he is pleased that they will be picking up the baton that he recently had to lay down because of his health.

Thanks to Cheryle Leach's fine job of coordinating the myriad of details needed to arrange an affair such as this, everything went off as scheduled. The after-dinner speaker, Dr. Lee Manzer of the Oklahoma State University college of business administration, gave just the right touch to the evening by combining wit and wisdom to his remarks, and dinner music by Elroy Goe filled the hall during the dinner. Gary Lawson again showed his dexterity as the community's all-purpose master of ceremonies in a most excellent way.

Congratulations to retiring C-C president Mike Doughty and his board of directors for their service and commitment, and best wishes to Paul Green and his board as they go about the job of keeping Perry on the road to growth and development. With the new year being launched in such a posČitive way, they have a running start on success. We are fortuČnate in this community to have such a wide-awake, hard-working crew of people banded together in an organization like the Chamber of Commerce. If all of us pitch in to help, it cannot fail to achieve its goals, and that is good news for all of us in Noble county.