Roy Hark has held a number of titles, including Hannibal fire chief and currently mayor for nearly 12 years. On Saturday, Jan. 26, Hark received another title - 2013 Pacesetter - from the Hannibal Area Chamber of Commerce for his lifetime of service to the City of Hannibal.
Hark was honored during the Chamber's annual meeting and banquet at the Quality Inn & Suites. Before presenting the award, Dr. Woodrow Burt, the 2012 Pacesetter winner, reported Hark served in the U.S. Navy before his 32 years with the fire department. He noted that Hark's first day as fire chief was "literally a baptism by fire" as he led the department in fighting the historic fire on June 22, 1989, that destroyed the administration building at Hannibal-LaGrange University.
Burt also listed several boards on which Hark has served or is currently a member. Among them was being a founding member of the Hannibal and later Marion County 9-1-1 board.
Additional awards presented by the Chamber included:
• New Business of the Year to Tony and Mary Glenn Bowman, owners of Chocolaterie Stam at 103 N. Main. It features Belgium chocolates and many flavors of gelato.
• Civic Contributor Award of Blaine Mundle, representing the Hannibal Pirate Family Foundation. In only five years, it has provided thousands of dollars for various needs of school children, such as the Buddy Pack, DARE and Kids in Motion programs.
• One Community Betterment Award to the Great River Honor Flight, received by Board Chairman Carlos Fernandez. This organization has made 16 flights since April 2010, taking 376 World War II veterans to Washington, and after completing that waiting list, taking 113 Korean War veterans.
• A second Community Betterment Award to Jim Humphreys of the Hannibal Board of Education for opening two new schools, Mark Twain Elementary and the Early Childhood Center.
Earlier in the evening, McKenzie Disselhorst, Chamber executive director, honored many members, including volunteers, board members, retiring board members and new board members.
A special recognition went to Dick Rupp for serving as chairman of the Transportation Committee for several years.
The Ambassadors Team of the Year was honored. Members were Mary Gibbons (team captain), Connie Benson, Dr. Woodrow Burt, Larry Craig, Fred Cruse, Dave Dexheimer, Dr. Phillip Foreman, Ron Hendren, Darin Redd and Stephanie Thomeczek.
The large crowd filling the banquet room also viewed a video of activities of the Chamber's official Tom & Becky for 2012-2013, Lucas Cline and Brooke Burton.
Outgoing Chamber President Ron Hendren, co-owner of Hendren Financial Services LLC, was introduced as having 20 years experience in financial services after 25 years in broadcasting. He also served for 21 years on the Ralls County R-2 School District.
Hendren said "lots of people supported me" during a "year of challenges," adding that in 2012 the Chamber added 39 members and lost seven members (from businesses closing or moving away.)
Page 2 of 2 - New Chamber President Debbie Catlett was introduced as executive director of the Hannibal Nutrition Center for the past 22 years. She also serves on several boards. For 15 years Catlett has been Emergency Food and Shelter Grant Administrator and District 13 coordinator of Marion County.
Catlett said she was proud to be the fifth woman to serve as Chamber president, following Naomi Gottman, Judge Mary Rhodes Russell, Sally Poole and Dr. Jill Janes.
Emphasizing she wants Hannibal "to be the best we can be," Catlett quoted the year's theme, "Together We Can."