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In addition to the meal and presentation of special awards, the evening included judging of the best dessert, casserole and vegetable; and the selection of the best costume keeping with the “Flashback to the 50s Theme.”
Following drawings for door prizes and naming of winners in the silent auction, the evening was closed out with a few minutes of “Name that Tune” with all the songs being from the 1950s.
A highlight of the banquet each year is the naming of the recipient of the John Dickison Award. This year’s award went to Don Pinckney, recently retired University of Missouri Extension youth specialist.
Following is the biography that was read at the banquet, explaining why Pinckney is worthy of the award that is given for a lifetime of service to the Ava community:
“Donald Pinckney is a lifelong citizen of Douglas County and has dedicated many years to our community, through countless hours of volunteer service and his 36 years of work with the Douglas County University Extension Office, before his retirement last year.
“The following are some of the involvements that Don has had, or continues with today: Missouri Ozark Community Health since its inception, chair for Douglas County FEMA Board, Food Harvest board for 15 years and Douglas County Fair board for 36 years.
“Don has been the Camp Director for DOW Camp for the last 36 years. Before that he attended the camp as a youth and later as a camp counselor. Don was a 4-H leader before being employed with Extension and served the 4-H Clubs in Douglas, Ozark and Wright counties for 36 years. He has participated with the Douglas County Health Department Advisory Board, the United Way Organization, Douglas County School After-School Programs, and was a Douglas County chairman of funding for energy assistance/food for impoverished families in Douglas County.
“Don was also active in the Permanency Planning Team, and the Missouri Division of Family Services, working with youth who are in foster care.
“Don continues to be an active participant in Douglas County, making it a better place to live and laying a path for others to follow.”
The Dickison award was presented by Marie (Dickison) Bristol, daughter of the late John Dickison, assisted by her grandson, Dominick Bristol.
Will McFarlin Youth Award
The Will McFarlin Youth Award was presented by Will McFarlin. This award is given to a youth of the community who gives unselfishly for the betterment of the community.
This year’s winner is Lucas Tabor.
Lucas is a senior at Ava High School, is an excellent student, and endeavors to always do his best and excel in whatever task is before him. He has been involved in community clubs and activities including the Ava Area Chamber of Commerce as student representative for two years. He served as swim team coach for four years and worked with the Ava Parks and Recreation program. He has been involved with Leaders of Community Service for two years through a charitable project known as Friday Feast which provides food for kindergarten through second grades in Ava R-1 Elementary who are in need of food to be taken home for the weekend. He has worked for several years in the elementary classes as a tutor in reading and math.
In addition, he has taken part in many school clubs and activities during his elementary and secondary years and has been given numerous academic awards. He was Student Council parliamentarian during his junior year, and served as Student Council President this year. He is well liked by all ages and is looked up to by his peers as a role model.
This next award, Volunteer of the Year, is given to an individual who has dedicated their time and energy in support of the Chamber of Commerce.
Chamber Volunteer of the Year
The volunteer of the year award was presented to Bill Jones.
Bill has been volunteering at the Chamber office each Friday since last September. He is originally from the Seymour area and has been a resident of Ava for a little over a year. He likes his job at DoCo, Inc., and loves his volunteer work with the Chamber.
In his spare time, Bill enjoys cooking, video games, volunteering, and is a big fan of the Twilight movies.
Bill is very serious about completing his work at the Chamber office and pays close attention to detail. Nothing gets by Bill, and he certainly gives the office printing machine a run for its money.
Last week, when his caretaker arrived early to pick him up, he kindly said to her, “I still have 13 more minutes of work.”
One last special award given by the Chamber of Commerce went to Max and Wanda Murphy. For the past several years, the Murphys have provided office space to the Chamber rent free adjacent to their real estate business on Highway 5.