The Mount Ida Area Chamber of Commerce announced their award winners during their annual banquet held at the Lake Ouachita Baptist Church Activity Center, Thursday, April 16.
Chris Ray was the emcee and many of last year’s winners were on hand to present the 2015 awards to this year’s winners.
Robert Cavanaugh was presented the 2015 Man of the Year award by last year’s winner David Anderson.
Cavanaugh, a former chancellor at Louisiana State University at Alexandria has been instrumental in the creation and upkeep of many of the trails in Montgomery County. He is also involved with the Ouachita Artist Gallery and is a member of many boards regionally, state-wide and nationally.
Dr. Barbara Holt was presented the 2015 Woman of the Year award by Jennifer Warden, the 2014 winner.
Holt is a Mount Ida native who was involved in education for most of her life. She has taught in several places across the country and has been involved in the Peace Corps and United Nations education efforts around the world. She is one of the founding members of the Ouachita Artists Gallery and has served as their president and currently sits on the board.
Jenn’s Gourmet Galley was presented with the 2015 Business of the Year award by Lisa Wilson who represented last year’s winner Bates Sales and Service.
Jenn’s has been open less than a year, but her gourmet twist on down-home cooking has made her restaurant a favorite destination for local residents and tourists in the area.
Quilts of Valor was awarded the 2015 Non-Profit Organization of the Year award by Edwenna Rowland.
Quilts of Valor provides quilts for area veterans, servicemen and organizations.
Arkansas Game and Fish Commission Law Enforcement Officer Greg Rae was the keynote speaker for the event.
He spoke about how much the AG&FC has changed since he began working for them in the 1990’s. He also talked about his start in law enforcement, working with the now defunct Mount Ida Police Department.
He closed by showing a video that reflected on the 100th anniversary of the AG&FC.
Pati Brown shared some numbers regarding the effects tourism has on Arkansa,s and more specifically, on Mount Ida and Montgomery County.
In 2014. total travel expenditures for Montgomery County was $33,031,087. Travel-generated state taxes was $1,942,909 and travel generated local taxes was $1,025,43.
Travel generated employment provided 271 jobs and the travel-generated payroll for the county is $4,964,329. All this on 118,955 trips to the county.
Gar Eisele spoke to banquet goers about what Arkansas Regional Coalition of the Ouachitas (ARCO) was doing to help promote Montgomery County and surrounding counties.
They are in the middle of a branding campaign that will help promote the tourism industry in the area.
The meal was prepared by Jenn’s Gourmet Galley and auction items were donated by an assortment of local businesses and dignitaries.