The Midlothian Chamber of Commerce gathered Thursday night to honor the local volunteers who make this community a great place to live and do business.

The chamber membership listened to 2008 Chamber President Dawn Gerstenkorn thanked those who helped make her term a success and then applauded as six local volunteers stepped to the podium to accept the Midlothian’s top awards.

“When the Midlothian Chamber of Commerce closed out 2007, membership was holding strong in numbers and we began 2008 with a steady membership increase,” said Gerstenkorn. “We had 78 new members join the chamber in 2008, and we are ending the year with 497 members.”

Gerstenkorn then reeled off a list of ten chamber events and program ranging from Keep Midlothian Beautiful and Leadership Midlothian to the unveiling of a new chamber logo and a strategic plan implemented by the Chamber in 2008.

“As we end the 2008 year, your board of directors continues to solicit feedback and input from members and the community to find ways to better serve you and to provide opportunities for the area businesses and the Midlothian community to prosper – our mission,” said Gerstenkorn. “I want to thank all of you for your support, both personally and from the chamber. Without you, we could do nothing that we do. Thank you.”

This year’s award winners were:

• Gene Rodgers Community Service Award – Johnny and Sandi Grant. The husband and wife duo are involved in the Senior Citizens Center, The Cowboy Church, American Red Cross, the Midlothian Food Pantry and also serve as Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus for the Chamber Christmas Parade.

• Gene Page Ambassador of the Year Award - Kim Triplett. The Gene Page Award is presented to the chamber member who represents the Midlothian Chamber of Commerce in visible support of member recognition and appreciation. Gene Page diligently attended ribbon cuttings and chamber events for decades.

• Small Business Award of Excellence – Joe Fallis and MidTech Power and Control. The Small Business Award of Excellence is presented to a small business within the chamber membership that has demonstrated a commitment to business excellence as well as dedication to the community.

• Chamber Achievement award – Jim Owens. Owens is a longtime volunteer with the Midlothian Chamber Commerce. Owens also earned this award for his service to the chamber in 2007.

• Leadership Midlothian Alumni Award – Linda Lanier.

• Chamber Chairman’s Award – Glen Carlisle.

• Small Business Award of Excellence – Joe Fallis and MidTech Power and Control. The Small Business Award of Excellence is presented to a small business within the chamber membership that has demonstrated a commitment to business excellence as well as dedication to the community.

Recipients of other Midlothian Chamber of Commerce award for service in 2008 are:

• Linda Lanier – Certificate of Appreciation for her work on the Keep Midlothian Beautiful committee.

• Johanna Jones – Leadership Midlothian Chairman Award. Leadership Midlothian grooms local residents for positions with the chamber by educating them on the nuts and bolts of local education, civic, business and industrial sectors of the community.

• Ricky McClendon – Chamber Board of Directors Award. This award is a special recognition for someone who has worked continuously and successfully on an annual chamber event. McClendon is best known for his work on the Chamber Golf Tournament.

Gerstenkorn then handed the chamber gavel to the 2009 Midlothian Chamber of Commerce Chairman of the Board, Paul Nelson.

Nelson served as Chamber Board Chairman in 2007. He works for MidTexas International.

“As incoming chairman of the chamber board, I am so very proud to be a part of this organization,” said Nelson. “I’ve been involved with the chamber for almost 10 years and have proudly seen the chamber grow their membership and their programs.”

Nelson then introduced 2009 chamber officers and new board members:

• Chair Elect Glen Carlisle

• Vice Chairman Lisa Lemon

• Treasurer Cherie Marley

• Past Chairman Dawn Gerstenkorn

• 2009 board member Dr. David Arnott

Kevin Tobolka of Farmers Insurance Agency, will rotate off the chamber board after serving in that capacity for three years.

Midlothian Chamber of Commerce Board Members are:

• Kathy Armstrong, of First Financial Bank

• Glen Carlisle, of Gerdau Ameristeel

• Bridget Flaherty, Methodist Mansfield Medical Center

• Todd Hinton of Ash Grove

• Linda Lanier of Holcim

• Lisa Lemon, Citizens National Bank of Texas

• Cherie Marley, TXI Cement

• Ronnie Rushing of Smith Barney

• Beverly Woodruff of Coldwell Banker Americana Realtors

Ex-Officio Directors are:

• Judge Chad Adams, Ellis County

• Don Hasting, City of Midlothian

• Dr. J.D. Kennedy, MISD

• Dr. Cubie Ward, Navarro College

The chamber also recognized those who served the community as chamber officers and committee chairmen in 2008. They were:

• Paul Nelson – Vice Chairman of the Board

• Steve O’Meilia – Treasurer

• Jim Owens –Past Chairman

• Steve O’Meilia of 1st Choice Mortgage, chairman of the Ambassadors

• Bill Wheatley, of EmbroidMe Cedar Hill, chairman of the Leads to Success Leads Group

• Maurice Osborn of TXI, chairman of the Legislative Affairs Committee

• Randy Denton of MidTexas International, chairman of the Transportation Committee

• Kathy Armstrong, of First Financial Bank, chairman of the Annual Chamber Auction Planning Committee

• Beverly Woodruff of Coldwell Banker Americana Realtors, chairman of the Networking Opportunities Committee

• Jim Owens of North Texas GMAC Real Estate, chairman of the Organizational Review Committee

• Ronnie Rushing, of Smith Barney, chairman of the October FAST Downhill Dash 5K

• Cherie Marley, of TXI Cement, chairman of Fall Festival

• Mary Rustin, of Midlothian Conference Center, chairman of Business Expo

• Cynde Arnott, of Navarro College, chairman of the Spring Fling

• Lisa Lemon, of Citizens National Bank, chairman of the Annual Banquet Planning Committee

Midlothian Chamber Executive Director Amanda Miller said she was pleased with Thursday’s banquet.

“This was a great evening and it’s always the perfect opportunity to recognize those who volunteer to serve the chamber and their community,” said Miller. “This year’s slate of award winners were certainly deserving of the awards they received.”

Thursday’s banquet was catered by Hurley Smith Catering.

Members of the Chamber Banquet Committee were chairman Lisa Lemon, Glen Carlisle, Bridget Flaherty, Paul Nelson and Jim Owens.