Dayton Chamber of Commerce picks top businesses, citizens at annual gala

Bear Plumbing, owned by Jimmy and Samantha Cullars, is the Service Business of the Year for the Dayton Chamber of Commerce. The award was announced during the Chamber's annual gala on Friday, March 24, at the Dayton Community Center. In addition to a trophy from the Chamber, they received a congressional citation from U.S. Rep. Brian Babin, represented at the gala by Will Carter (left).

The Dayton Chamber of Commerce hosted its annual gala on Friday, March 24, at the Dayton Community Center, complete with a “whodunit” murder mystery game. The party was abuzz with intrigue as gala guests searched for clues and sleuthed out the alleged murder suspect.

Guests feasted on a dinner catered by Rooster’s Bar and Grill while solving the mystery and discussing their findings. The main event sponsor was Sterling Funeral Home of Dayton. At the end of the night, awards were handed out to the most distinguished members of the business community.

This year, the award for top retail business went to Khala-Jades, a boutique in Dayton. Top service business was awarded to Bear Plumbing, which also was the entertainment sponsor for the evening. The volunteer of the year award went to Theresa Abner and ambassador of the year award was presented to Tera Aguero. Employee of the year is Kevin Ferrell with JTT Towing Service and Storage.

Four longtime residents of Dayton – Alan D. and Mary Ellen Conner, and Larry and Denise Wilburn, were named to the Dayton Chamber of Commerce’s Hall of Fame.

Serving as emcee during the awards ceremony was Chamber Board President Howie Howeth, who is also pastor of Journey Fellowship Church of Dayton. Meadow Noyer of Meadow Noyer AllState in Liberty was recognized as an outgoing board member. New board members are Alisha Dale with JLA Realty, Juan Carranco with State Farm Insurance, Jennifer Gray Richardson with The Vindicator and Stacy Brown with Health Center of Southeast Texas.

These new board members join the other board members: President-elect Dr. Constance Onemany of Cardinal Dental Group, Secretary Sherry Schmidt with Texas Diamond Realty, Sherisa Hoy with The Broken Plank Photo Boards and More, Gabrielle Keen with August Blush Boutique, Jimmy Cullars with Bear Plumbing, Jeff Johnson with JTT Towing and Storage, Jennifer Garcia with Lee College and Stacy Herrington with MobilOil Credit Union.

Other sponsors were Thriftee Food Center, Resource Credit Union, Enterprise Products, MobilOil Credit Union, Coco’s Bakery, CNC Railroad, Dayton Community Development Corporation, Health Center of Southeast Texas, JLA Realty, JTT Towing and Storage, Prosperity Bank, D.R. Horton Homes and Mainframe 24-Hour Wrecker.

Staci Wise and Norma Stephens, who staff the Dayton Chamber office, helped to organize the event with volunteers.

Below are photos from the “Whodunit” murder mystery:

The “FBI Team,” representing the Dayton Community Development Corporation, won the murder mystery challenge by solving the crime and providing the best explanation as to the alleged killer’s motives. The murder mystery was part of a night of entertainment at the Dayton Chamber of Commerce’s annual gala on Friday, March 24.
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Before creating Bluebonnet News in 2018, Vanesa Brashier was a community editor for the Houston Chronicle/Houston Community Newspapers. During part of her 12 years at the newspapers, she was assigned as the digital editor and managing editor for the Humble Observer, Kingwood Observer, East Montgomery County Observer and the Lake Houston Observer, and the editor of the Dayton News, Cleveland Advocate and Eastex Advocate. Over the years, she has earned more than two dozen writing awards, including Journalist of the Year.

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