Cameron Chamber celebrates at annual banquet
The theme for the Cameron Chamber of Commerce’s 85th annual banquet was on display and evident in the entire evening – working to move Cameron forward. The Chamber honored outstanding members and residents during the banquet and heard from a Texas legend – Bob Phillips of the Texas Country Reporter – about his travels across Texas. Chamber President Julie Sulak handed out awards for the evening to: Circle S BBQ and owner Sam Berry for Business of the Year; Cameron Volunteer Fire Department Chief Henry Horelica and his wife Penny as Volunteers of the Year; Cameron City Manager Rhett Parker for Chamber Member of the Year; Old Town Cameron and Railroad Museum and director Jamie Larson as Organization of the Year; and former Milam County Judge and Cameron Mayor David Barkemeyer as the Citizen of the Year. The Chamber also added a few new awards this year for excellence and honored three Yoe High seniors for their achievements. Phillips spoke about everyday heroes and told the story of how he became the Texas Country Reporter speaking of his own heroes and how they shaped his life including Tom Landry and Charles Kuralt. He also touched on the revolution happening in Texas of young people moving to small towns and leaving the city as they graduate from college and said that Cameron is at a prime spot to capture those new residents. The theme of the evening – Moving Cameron Forward – was evident throughout the night. Cameron Chamber Director Melanie Reed said there have been 31 new members join the Chamber this year and she thanked those new and old members for the support. “Moving Cameron Forward is our theme for 2019,” Reed said. “That is what we want to do this year. There are so many wonderful things in the city, economic development and in the county that have started this past year. Several new buildings are being renovated downtown, so there is activity going around.” Reed hit on the development going on downtown including the new 44 Farms renovations and the work recently to the Milam County Livestock Exposition building the past year. We need to continue to unite as a community to attract new business, entertainment and families moving to our city, community and county,” Reed said. “We have some great treasures here. It is really warming that we have some opportunities to explore here in our city. Those opportunities are knocking on our door, so we need to open our doors, our hearts, and our desires and passions to what we would like to see in Cameron.” Milam County Judge Steve Young also stressed moving Cameron and Milam County forward. “The Chamber has done some great things for this community this year,” Young said. “Just look around – Steaktoberfest, the Trunk or Treat event, Melanie’s email blast that goes out every week, the basketball tournament, business of the month. These are all great things to put Cameron on the map.” Young said the county is also getting on the map. “The number one thing we are working on is economic development,” he said. “All of you are business and community leaders, you know that is what we need. We are expecting a big announcement of new things to come at the old Alcoa site in the next six weeks. We are this close to closing a deal on a new solar farm in the county. We have new tax revenue from the pipeline construction and oilfield drilling action in Gause.” Young said we embrace economic development and will get that done with the community’s help. “All of us together working together as a village will get things done,” he said.