Chamber Honors Businesses, Individuals at Banquet

Dr. Jerry Williams who logged 64 years of service as an optometrist here in Winnfield was surprised and pleased when his name was called out for the Winn Parish Chamber of Commerce & Tourism “Distinguished Achievement Award” by president Kristan Green.

The Winnfield Civic Center was the scene of celebration of accomplishments of businesses and contributions to the community by individuals as the Winn Parish Chamber of Commerce and Tourism held its 2023 awards banquet Oct. 12.

Describing the Chamber’s role, president Kristan Green explained that while there is a large and active board, “anyone can be involved in the work in a community-focused atmosphere.”  Looking at the list of nominees, she added that “It’s good to have young men and women interested in putting in new businesses.”  The president also outlined the Chamber’s recently launched website with a user-friendly platform that individual may use to add upcoming community events.

Kristan Green also announced the winner of the Distinguished Achievement Award as Dr. Jerry Williams.  At the time of his 2022 retirement, Williams was recognized as the longest-serving optometrist in the nation.  He had been in Winnfield since 1958, for 64 years of service, with two years in practice prior to that time.

Sondra Walker made the presentation of the People’s Choice Award, with the winner being a local restaurant that started out as a food truck before moving to its present West Court Street location, Chaddy Shack.  On hand of accept the award was co-owner Kim Vines.  Mrs. Walker explained that there had been a large public response to the category, with five other businesses selected for consideration.  Named were Geaux 318, Lagniappe Bingo, Scentsational Scents by Jennifer (Gaudy Gals), Vintage Belles Boutique and Winn Parish Medical Center.

A special bouquet of flowers was given by Winona Harrell as “Recognition of Years of Service to the Chamber” to Jane Purser.

Amanda Taylor gave the presentation for Business of the Year, with the winner being Bank of Winnfield which has served the community since 1901.  Accepting were president Buddy Heard and senior vice president Kim Nevils.  Also nominated were Winn Parish Medical Center and All Hours Fitness.

Dwayne Kilpatrick made the presentation for the New Business of the Year Award.  That honor went to Winnfield Physical Therapy, with Ashley Britt accepting.  Also nominated were Family Eye Care and Precious Moments Children’s Shop.

Gail Shelton made the presentation for the Business Person of the Year Award.  The winner was longtime pharmacist Steve Shelton.  Also nominated in that category were Tony McManus and Teddy R. Price.

Logan Elliott gave the presentation for the Volunteer of the Year Award.  That honor was given to Karly Stewart.  Also considered for the award were Mary Lou Blackley and Kristan Green.

The “Spirit of Myrtis Allen Award” presentation was made by Kim Futrell.  That award was won by the “Crazy Catholic Ladies” that has expanded to a group of 39 of different faiths.  A representative group stood to accept the award.  Also considered for the honor were Shannan Checallier and the Winn Parish Library.

Guest speaker on the night was Shane Smiley, president of the Ouachita Parish Police Jury.