Categories: General
      Date: Apr 22, 2009
     Title: Chamber of Commerce Banquet a slam dunk

The annual banquet of the Dalhart Area Chamber of Commerce was held Monday evening, April 20th at the Rita Blanca Coliseum. The banquet was held to announce and honor the citizen of the year. In attendance at the gala were several past recipients of the prestigious award.

Wayne Porter served as Master of Ceremonies and welcomed the guests. In attendance was keynote speaker, Marsha Sharp of Lubbock Texas.



By Robin Scott

 

The annual banquet of the Dalhart Area Chamber of Commerce was held Monday evening, April 20th at the Rita Blanca Coliseum. The banquet was held to announce and honor the citizen of the year. In attendance at the gala were several past recipients of the prestigious award.

Wayne Porter served as Master of Ceremonies and welcomed the guests. In attendance was keynote speaker, Marsha Sharp of Lubbock Texas. Ms. Sharp is the championship winning former coach of the Lady Raiders basketball team for Texas Tech University. After the Pledge of Allegiance, Miss Jasmine Bohlender, a Dalhart High School Senior, beautifully sang the "National Anthem." Jeff Ratliff gave the invocation.

Brian Gaskill, the current Chairman of the Board for the Chamber, announced that the website for the Chamber of Commerce received more than 21,000 hits during the period from April 1, 2008 through December 31, 2008 and that 60% of those visiting the site were new visitors. The success of the revamped site has launched it into 3rd place for Chamber of Commerce sites for cities of similar size to Dalhart; a huge accomplishment for the Chamber.

Entertainment during the dinner was provided by Debbie Weld playing fiddle, and Mr. and Mrs. Allen and Diane Thompson who recited poetry. The first poem, recited by Mr. Thompson and written by Mrs. Thompson, gave thanks for the many things in Mr. Thompson’s life. While he spoke, Mrs. Weld accompanied him by playing "Amazing Grace." Mrs.

Thompson recited another poem that she wrote about her husband and his love of his horse and his strong desire to ride his horse just one more time. The couple recited a last poem together that had the audience laughing and clapping. The entertainment was quite entertaining.

After dinner Mrs. Des Anderson spoke and announced the 2009 Citizen of the Year, Mr. Rodney White. Mr. White graciously accepted the honor and award, which included a flag that was flown at the capital building in Austin the day before, then carefully folded and sent to Dalhart for presentation to Mr. White.

Mr. White briefly spoke and noted, "I have two reasons that I didn’t know this was for me. One was that I sent around a petition for someone else; and second, my wife can’t keep a secret, she must not have known!" The reasons Mr. White was so affectionately nominated instantly became clear as he spoke and his commitment and dedication to the Dalhart community is far-reaching. He couldn’t help but tease with keynote speaker, Marsha Sharp by saying, "I was driving through Lubbock last weekend on Marsha Sharp Highway. I thought to myself, Lubbock has a Buddy Holly highway, and he’s dead; and a Martin Luther King highway, and he’s dead. I hope she’ll still be alive for Monday’s banquet." Then he looked at Ms. Sharp and added, "You’ll be dead before they finish it!"

DISD Superintendent had the honor of introducing the keynote speaker. He commented that he and Ms. Sharp both graduated from Wayland Baptist College together in 1974, he stated, "She was Magna Cum Laude, and I was Thank you Laude." Long time friends of Ms. Sharp, Mr. and Mrs. Foote were delighted when they learned that she would speak at this year’s banquet.

Ms. Sharp began by commenting on "her" freeway in Lubbock. She stated she hadn’t known anything about it until it is was in the works. During her travels talking with different groups she visited an elementary school and spoke with 4th graders. She mentioned that one of the little girls seemed quite perplexed, and at the end of the talk, the little girl threw her hand up in the air and proclaimed, "Her family named her after a freeway!"

The plains and prairies of west Texas and the Texas panhandle is the best place in the world to live, according to Ms. Sharp. She commented on how she enjoyed working with the "kids" in the basketball program at Texas Tech during her 24 years as head coach of the Lady Raiders basketball team. She stressed how the encouragement of a child as they are growing up can make all of the difference in what they may achieve in their lives. She relayed a story of one such young woman who had been encouraged by leaders in the Girl Scouts organization when she was a very young child, and how that lead her to believe she could do something special with her life.

The enjoyment of the evening was enhanced by the students in Mr. Hutchison’s Economics classes who served the meal prepared by the Dalhart Country Club. From beginning to end, the entire evening was enjoyable and meaningful, and all of the effort that went into its preparation was a slam dunk!