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Callaway County luminaries recognized

Callaway County luminaries recognized

January 11th, 2017 by Helen Wilbers in Local News

Garry, left, and Rebekah Vaught, center, received the evening's highest honor, the JH Atkinson Award; Marty Martin-Forman, right, announced.

Photo by Helen Wilbers /Fulton Sun.

Tuesday evening's Callaway Chamber of Commerce dinner saw local business leaders and luminaries gathering to enjoy good food and socialization.

"We've all had a great year at the chamber and it's because of you — the Chamber members," said Tamara Fitzpatrick, the Chamber's executive director.

The Chamber hosts two dinners per year. As befitting the Hollywood award night theme, awards were given out to local figures and entrepreneurs who have contributed to the community.

The JH Atkinson Award, which recognizes outstanding community service, is the highest of these honors.

Garry and Rebekah Vaught, owners of Beks, were co-recipients of the award. According to Marty Martin-Forman, who was announced as the new board president at the dinner, the couple's work has contributed significantly to the revitalization of downtown Fulton.

"Fulton is a better place today because of their commitment," Forman said.

For example, Garry helped found the Morels and Microbrews event, and the two also guaranteed some of the Art House's debt in order to help them open.

"Wow," Garry said, laughing, while accepting the award. "Is this a good time to ask for volunteers for Morels and Microbrews?"

He went on to say he does the work he does so that his 10-year-old son will have an even better place to grow up.

Doc Kritzer, former Callaway County commissioner, received the Loyal Subject Award. This award also recognizes someone who has worked to better the community. As a county commissioner from 2005-16, the Chamber believes he fits the bill.

Kritzer helped pass the half-cent sales tax which improved the county's economy, established the firefighter memorial in Kingdom City and is involved in the Honor Flight program.

"This really is a big honor," Kritzer said. "It means a tremendous amount to me. We do things because we care, not for the honors."

Michael Westerfield, former president-elect of the Chamber's board and vice president of academic affairs at William Woods University, received the Chamber of Commerce Leadership Award. The Leadership Award goes to individuals who've dedicated significant time to serving the Chamber and the community at large.

Westerfield was instrumental in bringing together the Fulton Area Development Corporation, the Show-Me Innovation Center and the Chamber of Commerce. He assisted in the hiring of Tamara Fitzpatrick and helped focus the organization's vision.

"I've enjoyed serving this chamber," Westerfield said.

Finally, the Fulton High School Student Council was the recipient of the Allen Conner Youth Award. The award goes to future leaders of Callaway County. The student council was heavily involved in the community this year, participating in multiple fundraisers and organizing events like the homecoming parade.