Benson Chamber Hosts 74th Annual Banquet

BENSON – The Benson Chamber of Commerce held their 74th annual Banquet on February 3, 2023 at The Barn at Broadslab. A number of awards were handed includuing the Citizen of the Year.


Back (left to right) Chamber Ambassador of the Year DH Johnson, Arts Award Stephen Pfeiffer, Outstanding Woman and Volunteer of the Year Susan Wallace, Business Family of the Year Ronnie Roberts/Robco Residential, Firefighter of the Year Scott Hudson, Humanitarian of the Year Ken Tart, FRONT ROW (left to right) Board of Directors Award Beth Rogers, Outstanding Senior Citizen Janet Wilson, Outstanding Youth Carly Rae Johnson, Small Business Person of the Year Natalie Morgan, Citizen of the Year Award/Long Leaf Pine Gary Whitman, Officer of the Year Ramiro Velazquez, Public Service Employee of the Year Alan Johnson, Not pictured: Educator of the Year Stenson Lee and Large Business of the Year Bleeker Auto Group

Citizen of The Year / Long Leaf Pine

Benson Police Lt. Gary Whitman was announced as the Citizen of the Year. However, there was one more surprise in store for Lt. Whitman Thursday night — he also received the prestigious Long Leaf Pine from the State for his decades of service in law enforcement! His son, Brian Whitman, a Benson firefighter himself, made his way to the front of the room to give Lt. Whitman the Long Leaf Pine and tell some stories about growing up with a police officer for a father (which included one hilarious Mule Days story).

Photos courtesy Kendall Mariah Creative Studio