The 82nd annual Chamber of Commerce Banquet on Thursday recognized individuals and businesses in Alice for their contributions to the workforce and the community.
The 2018 Citizen of the Year was Silvestre "Silver" Rodriguez. He attended Alice Independent School District and is a supporter of many organizations in Alice with contributions to many local events.
Rodriguez is the owner of Silver Star Foods and has been in business of approximately 20 years. He is also a chamber member. He served his country as a Marine for four years. He married Melinda and together they have one daughter, Amanda and three grandchildren.
"We just try to give back," Rodriguez said. "We know what it is to come from the bottom. We don't do it for (awards). We do it because we are blessed and help when we can."
The 2018 Junior Citizen of the Year was Brooke Lassman. She is the daughter of Buddy and Lamar Lassmann. Earlier this year, Lassmann stated on her Alice High School Teen of the Week profile that she is planning on majoring in biomedical science and neuroscience at either Texas A&M, Rice or Baylor. She plans on becoming a neurologist. She is currently ranked first in her senior class.
Junior Citizen of the Year finalists were Jacqueline Barrera, Ty Carbajal, Nicole Cuadra, Jacqueline Guerra and Lia Salazar. Sixteen Alice High School seniors were nominated including Haley Battice, Haley Kress, AJ Moreno, Ivan Perez, Haley Perez, Myra Perez, Christopher Rios, Taylor Tijerina, Megan Vasquez and Cindy Vo.
The 2018 Ambassador of the Year was Ofelia Hunter. Hunter was presented the award by Nena Pitts who stated the award goes to the ambassador who goes above and beyond to help the community.
Jacqueline Barrera received the Lowell Hunt Alice Newspaper Inc. Award. Barrera is the daughter of Joey and Mari Barrera. She participates in school related activities such as senior class vice president and National Honor Society, and community services like Relay for Life volunteer and rising star youth basketball camp coach.
Small, big and longevity businesses were recognized for their importance.
The Small Business of the Year Award was presented to Johnny's Bloomingshop.
This award is presented to a Chamber member that employs less than 21 employees and recognizes the vital contributions made to Alice's local economy by smaller businesses. Other nominees were 19th Hole Grill, Pitts Trucking, Quickstart Business Services and Silver Star Foods.
The Large Business of the Year was presented to Walmart 791.
This award is strictly for organizations that employ more than 22 people. They are genuine champions of diversity and take positive steps to open up their job opportunities to all sections of the community. The recipient demonstrates innovative approaches to recruiting, retaining and developing their workforce. They set benchmarks for employers, are role models for industry and demonstrate exemplary community involvement. The nominees were also selected by the Board of Directors. The other nominees were Meridian Care of Alice and Mi Casa Home Health Agency.
The Organization of the Year went to The Beta Pi Chapter of the Delta Kappa Gamma Society International.
Organization of the Year award recognizes organizations that not only give back to the community but understand the commitment they make as non-profit organizations for the betterment of Alice. Other nominees were Alice Memorial VFW Post 8621, Hispanic Heritage Committee and the Jim Wells County Republican Party.
Two local business leaders, Linda and Eugene Nash, were inducted into the Hall of Honor. The Nash family owns a landscaping business in Alice. The family business has thrived in the Alice community.
The Hall of Honor Award was created to honor those citizens who have participated in civic and social activities over many years. These citizens must be at least 50 years or older and may be awarded the Hall of Honor Award posthumously.