Betty Hixon, owner of H&H Realty, and Ralph Carlson, seen around town doing everything from tree trimming to playing music on his guitar, were presented with the Keystone and Mayor's Citizenship awards, respectively.
In presenting the literal stone to Hixon, chamber board chairman Bryan Holt said Hixon's "optimism and enthusiasm never wane." A videotaped interview with Hixon was shown where she described the start of her career, starting with Mutual of Omaha and deciding that she wanted to get into real estate. H&H started in 1980 when interest rates were in double digits.
Introduced by Fort Scott Codes Manager Brent Crays, Carlson was called up for the Mayor's Citizenship Award, the recipient of which is selected by the city commissioners and staff. In a slide presentation, Crays described Carlson as caring, concerned and willing to help others.
He said Carlson is interested in trees, historic homes and buildings, flying and, of course, music.
He is also a member of the U.S. Highway 69 Frontier Military Scenic Byway Committee which works to educate people about the scenic byway and promote artifacts along the roadway.
Recognized in November 2011 by the city, this award was a surprise to Carlson. His wife, Saundra, attended the event with him.
"I live here not by necessity, but by choice. I could have lived a lot of different places," Carlson said, noting he has homes on Widbey Island in Washington State and in Milton, Fla., but he has family in Parsons and Kansas City that keep him rooted here.
From financial advisers to livestock auctions and young professionals, the chamber honored them all for what they bring to the town.
The annual dinner and awards gathering, with the theme of "Celebrate Good Times ... Come On!," was held in a packed River Room.
Fred White, director of broadcast services and alumni for the Kansas City Royals, was the featured speaker. White is a former sportscaster who called Royals games for 25 years, from 1973 to 1998.
He was also the voice of the Kansas State Wildcats for many years, as well as being the sports anchor at WIBW-TV in Topeka.
He has also called events for ESPN, CBS, NBC, and TBS.
In his current position, he works with radio affiliates and former players. He also conducts broadcast seminars for Royals Radio affiliates and hosts youth baseball clinics with former Royals players, according to a bio provided on White.
Holt presented the awards with the help of chamber Executive Director Lindsday Madison. They included:
* New Business of the Year -- Cobalt Medplans, a subsidiary of Blue Cross Blue Shield Kansas City, which opened in the former CIGNA Healthcare building in July 2011.
This is given to a business that has been in town at least three years that exemplifies the business practices for which all businesses strive.
* Young Professional of the Year -- Jamie Armstrong. This award goes to a professional 35 years of age or younger who personifies the traits desired in a "great" business person.
* Community Spirit Award -- Diehl, Banwart, Bolton CPAs. This award is given to a business that goes above and beyond for the community; participating, contributing and adding to the overall enhancement of the Fort Scott area.
* Agribusiness of the Year -- Fort Scott Livestock Market. This award goes to the agribusiness that has contributed to the overall economy and benefit of the Fort Scott community.
* Small Business of the Year -- Shirt Shack. This award is presented to the small business that has proved itself to be a strong, sustaining entity in the community.
* Business Person(s) of the Year -- Des and Amanda Hale, Fort Cinema. This award is presented to professionals who personify all the traits desired in a "great" business person: a dedication to their business, their community and their family and friends.
* Business of the Year -- Labconco Corp., maker of lab equipment for research facilities and government agencies. This award goes to the business that continually expands, improves and benefits the Fort Scott area through its achievements and accomplishments.