The Woodward News

January 23, 2013

Chamber celebrates big year

Chris Cooper
Woodward News

Woodward, Okla. — For the first time, the Woodward Chamber of Commerce held its annual banquet in the Conference Center on Monday.

"This is an amazing facility. As wonderful as it is though, it's the staff that sets this facility apart from others," said C. J. Montgomery, chamber president.

That was the start of an evening of platitudes for everyone.

Montgomery went on to compliment the Woodward FFA students who were servers for the event, then turned things over to Dr. Deena Fisher, the chamber's immediate past board chairman.

During her tenure, Fisher noted the creation of a Chamber of Commerce Board planning retreat for the development of ideas, ensuring the board was in compliance with by-laws, and opening frank discussion during Chamber meetings as key accomplishments.

"I'm proud to have served as chairman of the Chamber and I'm happy to be handing it off to the new Chairman Dwight Hughes," Fisher said.

Hughes, superintendent of High Plains Technology Center, said a focus would be the strengthening of Woodward's 3 tiers of education - the local district, Northwestern and CareerTech.

"There are so many great things going on in Woodward with the partnership between its 3 tiers of education. As chairman, I plan to strengthen that bond between the three tiers. I look forward to serving as your chairman," Hughes said.

Montgomery then discussed recent chamber accomplishments and took a look back at 2012.

The chamber president noted that Crystal Christmas set new records for attendance and the chamber continued its work with education and retail development.

"The Chamber of Commerce is the most effective way to promote this great city. our board isn't afraid to roll up its sleeves and get some work done," Montgomery said.

In recapping 2012, Montgomery talked about the new Mitchell Theatres, the opening of the Conference Center and the arrival of the Siemens company to the community

Montgomery also mentioned he April 15 tornado, saying "It was undoubtedly a horrible tragedy, but the response to it and the way the community came together was nothing less than phenomenal."

As for 2013, Montgomery promised the chamber was going to work even harder to make Woodward an even better place to call home. He said one such project to do so was the upcoming renovations to the Woodward County Fairgrounds. A sales tax vote to fund the project is on Feb. 12.

"What an opportunity this will be for our community," said Montgomery.

Montgomery also mentioned the fundraising project to put on a turf field at Boomer Stadium was about halfway completed.

Following Montgomery guest speaker Executive Director of the Oklahoma Historical Society Bob Blackburn took the stage and discussed what he referred to as the tenacity, courage, and sense of community prevalent throughout Oklahoma history, specifically during the Dust Bowl and Great Depression.

Montgomery then introduced Amanda Covalt and Cole Reynolds as the Student Citizens of the Year.

Then current Citizen of the Year Steve Jones made the announcement that Bobby Alexander is Woodward's new Citizen of the Year.

"My wife really pulled one on me," said a very surprised Alexander. "This is the last thing that ever crossed my mind.

 "I couldn't have done it without my wife and family, I'm proud to be a Woodward citizen."

Alexander, owner of Power Rig, serves as the transportation commissioner from this district and is also on a number of key boards. In addition, he has quietly helped out with other projets through his time in Woodward.

When asked what it felt like to be the citizen of the year, Alexander said, "Its an unbelievable feeling. I've been sick with the flu all week, my wife made me come out to the banquet and when they announced me I couldn't believe it. I'm speechless."