The Benson Area Chamber of Commerce will gather together Thursday to celebrate the accomplishments and achievements of the past year during its annual chamber banquet.
“The Benson Chamber Banquet is a night of celebration for our town,” chamber President Loretta Byrd said. “Civic clubs, businesses, the Town of Benson and chamber members come together to honor citizens and businesses who have worked in 2016 to make our town the best small town in North Carolina.”
The celebration gets under way at the American Legion building at 5:30 p.m. with a social hour followed by dinner at 6:15 p.m.
Town Manager Matt Zapp will be the master of ceremonies for the awards presentations. And there are plenty of honors to be handed out.
Annually, the chamber partners with several area businesses and civic groups to honor the year’s best.
This year the honors include Outstanding Woman, Outstanding Senior Citizen, Outstanding Youth and the Arts Award sponsored by the Benson Area Women’s Organization.
The American Legion will present the award for the Law Enforcement Officer and Firefighter of the Year. The American Legion Auxiliary will hand out the award for the Educator of the Year.
The Kiwanis Club of Benson will present the Humanitarian Award and the Benson Lions Club will honor the Volunteer of the Year. The South Johnston Optimist Club will present the Public Service Employee of the Year honor.
The Benson Chamber also will present several honors to its membership. They include the Ambassador of the Year, Board of Directors Award, Business Family of the Year, Large Business of the Year, Small Business of the Year and Citizen of the Year.
In addition to handing out awards, the chamber will say good-bye to board of director members Melanie Epperson, Julia Whittington, Ann Wood and Keith Neighbors.
All of their terms expired with the close of 2016 and they will make way for fresh faces.
The organization will also bid a fond farewell to current Board Chairman John Wood and welcome incoming Chairman Paul Boucher.
“John Wood, our outgoing chamber board chair, and the 2016 board of directors have done a wonderful job leading the chamber in 2016,” Mrs. Byrd said. “We look forward to Paul Boucher, incoming chair, and the 2017 board’s leadership as we move forward.”
The chamber plans a special presentation honoring DeVan Barbour III for over a half century of service to Benson. Attendees can also expect to hear Benson Mayor William Massengill give his annual State of the City address during the evening.