Cleveland Chamber announces top awards at annual gala

Austin Bank is the Business of the Year for the Greater Cleveland Chamber of Commerce. The honor was announced during the Chamber's annual gala on Saturday, Jan. 22, at the Cleveland Civic Center. Accepting the award for Austin Bank are Terrie Manners and Tasha Childress (second from the right). Pictured presenting the award are Chamber COO Victoria Good and Will Carter with U.S. Rep. Brian Babin's office. Austin Bank was also presented with a certificate of special congressional recognition for the win.

Flappers, gangsters and bootleggers gathered on Saturday, Jan. 22, at the Cleveland Civic Center, for the Greater Cleveland Chamber of Commerce’s gala. During this annual event, the Chamber honors members who have gone above and beyond to serve the Cleveland community.

This year’s event with a Roaring 20s theme was the first to be hosted by the Chamber’s new Chief Operating Officer Victoria Good and Administrative Assistant Courtney Contreras.

Highlights from the evening were the announcements of Austin Bank as Business of the Year, Rev. Carl Williamson as Citizen of the Year, Raylene Atkinson as Ambassador of the Year, Regina Vollmer as the Jean Noble McAdams Volunteer of the Year and Sandy Williamson as the Chairman’s Choice.

Susan Ard and Steve Racciato each won first place in the costume contest hosted by the Greater Cleveland Chamber of Commerce at the annual gala on Saturday, Jan. 22. Ard won for Best Dressed Woman and Racciato won for Best Dressed Man. In fairness, however, both exhibited flair that swayed the judges in their favor.

The awards for top business, ambassador and volunteer are picked by ballots submitted by Chamber members. Citizen of the Year, which is open to any person in the community, is also voted upon by the community.

The Chairman’s Choice Award is picked each year by the outgoing board chairman. This year’s award was selected by outgoing Board Chairman West Smith. He is succeeded by incoming Board Chair Raylene Atkinson.

The event was sponsored by Emergency Hospital Systems, Entergy, Lone Star College-Kingwood, Southside Bank, HCA Houston Healthcare, McWilliams & Son, Pace-Stancil Funeral Home, City of Cleveland, Woodforest Bank, Prosperity Bank, Health Center of Southeast Texas, Liberty County Court at Law Judge Thomas “Tommy” Chambers and Whitener Enterprises, Inc.

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