HANNIBAL — The Hannibal Area Chamber of Commerce spotlighted several community members for their contributions during the 113th Annual Meeting and Banquet on Thursday at the Rialto Banquet Hall.
Hannibal Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director McKenzie Disselhorst welcomed everyone to the event. Sarah Deien, Riedel Foundation administrator, joined Disselhorst in recognizing all retiring and current board members, officers and ambassadors who have contributed to success and prosperity in America's Hometown. Next came the surprise announcements for the recipients of the New Business of the Year Awards, Community Betterment Awards and the Pacesetter Award.
The first New Business of the Year Award was presented to Back Pain Center. Deien noted that the business has actively engaged in the community through an immersive Trunk or Treat events featuring fellow local businesses and nonprofit organizations, toy and food drives, participating in the Senior Expo and the Hannibal YMCA Expo. Murphy is a canine member of the staff that often greets customers. Dr. Mitchell Sutter accepted the award.
"Depending on the time of year, you might also be lucky enough to leave with fresh sweet corn or a pumpkin. We love Dr. Sutter for normalizing a dog in the office and bringing back some of those rural, neighborly values like sharing fresh sweet corn," Deien said.
The second recipient of a New Business of the Year Award was the Quarry House, owned and operated by Charlie and Laurel Phillips. After the couple moved to Hannibal from Wisconsin, they spent several years restoring the historic 1902 property. They retained many historic features while adding a variety of modern amenities.
Today, the Quarry House is a popular AirBnB with four rooms and indoor and outdoor spaces — attracting more than 200 guests per year. Charlie and Laurel Phillips painstakingly researched Southside history during their efforts, and their future plans are to develop a bar into the cave on their property.
"Charlie and Laurel are among the biggest cheerleaders for Hannibal that have come here in a long time," the award nominator said.
Chariton Valley received a Community Betterment Award for their extensive investment in building modern fiber broadband networks to connect Hannibal's homes and businesses to the internet. They have remained actively involved in community activities along the way.
The Hannibal's Lakeside Technological Park now employs a state-of-the-art 100-gigabit fiber system, which is one of a handful in Missouri. Chariton Valley's continued investment in fiber buildout efforts will soon grant Hannibal designation as a "Gigabit City". Kaylie Teter and Jackie Williams accepted the award on behalf of Chariton Valley.
The second Community Betterment Award was presented to the Riedel Foundation for its dedicated support of various causes and programs in Hannibal. The foundation provided more than $330,000 in grants in 2022, with efforts including help to feed senior citizens and homeless individuals, programs to reduce teen pregnancies, support for the arts, assistance to local schools and HLGU and support for local concerts, plays, art shows and festivals.
The mission began with George Riedel, who served as president of F&M Bank. Today, the mission is carried out by board of trustees members Dr. Michael Buckstein, April Baldwin, Bill Craigmiles, Paul Richards and Michael Gaines, along with Administrator Sarah Deien.
The Pacesetter Award was presented to Katy Ayers Welch, in recognition for her tireless work to expand and improve Java Jive as a destination for crowds of local residents and visitors alike. She has also invested considerable effort in supporting staff members and has taken on a leadership role as Historic Hannibal Marketing Council President.
Welch has served on the AVENUES Board of Directors and remains active with the Hannibal Area Chamber of Commerce and Hannibal Arts Council. She became Chairperson of the Twain on Main Festival.
"In her nomination, it was noted that Katy has built not only a business but community. It is often said that the downtown is the heart of a community, and that if the downtown is economically healthy and vibrant, the community will be as well. Through her impact, Katy has enhanced Historic Downtown Hannibal’s sense of place — creating a place of belonging for locals and attracting tourists. This impact spreads through our community, adding to the quality of life we all enjoy in Hannibal," Deien said.
"I just want to say thank you. I love this community and I love our downtown, and so many of you here are big supporters of that," Welch said. "We really couldn't do it without such a supportive community, so, that's the thing I'd probably say I'm most grateful for."
The top ten Chamber Ambassadors were recognized for their roles in public relations, as they assisted with ribbon cutting events, greeted riverboat passengers, and attended programs including networking events, fundraisers, and special events. The ten who were recognized were Mary Lynne Richards, Daren Dowell, Jennifer Hinds, Jacki Thurman, Beth Knight, Sue Giroux, Andrea Campbell, Courtney Bareis, Diane Addison and Jill Miller.
The Hannibal Area Chamber of Commerce Ambassador of the Year was Jill Miller. Jennifer Hinds was named Rookie Ambassador of the Year.
Deien announced the Hannibal Area Chamber of Commerce Leadership Class of 2022 members who "learned how Hannibal works" during six sessions and over the course of three months. They exhibited leadership and represented Hannibal's various professional sectors. The members were: Courtney Bareis, Bethany Beaver, Lisa Carruthers, T.J. Denahey, Alex Dunker, Amanda Echternacht, Randy Epley, Darrin Gordon, Jessica Heintz, Dugan Lipp, Michele McCoy, Nicole McKee, Kevin Peters, Angela Peters, Julie Plattner, Katie Raney, Amber Riefesel, Carol Smith, Heather Temple, Stephanie Thewlis, Paul Trenhaile and Kayla Vaughn.
Past President Ryan Rapp received a special plaque for his service. He shared how much he enjoyed collaborating with Disselhorst and other Chamber officials and how much he learned along the way. Rapp also wished to thank his wife and family members for their support.
"We do it for the community," he said.
Current President Kara Viorel remembered how Past President and 2016 Pacesetter Award recipient Debbie Catlett had inspired her to become Hannibal Area Chamber of Commerce President one day. Viorel said God has led her on this path, and she thanked the Ambassadors, board members and others who have supported her so far.
"I'm super excited to see how our new year kicks off, coming off the Strategic Plan, with new committees, new staff and a new website... and I look forward to showing you what the Chamber can do for our citizens and our community in the next few years," she said.
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