Chamber awards community leaders, businesses for service
Themed around ‘Havana Nights’ replete with Cuban attire, cigar bar and decorations tripping members back to the 1950s cabana era, the Dayton Chamber of Commerce handed out their annual community awards to deserving residents who exemplified the Dayton spirit with their lasting service.
Greeted with a 1964 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible, sponsored by Frank’s Collision, members entered the ball room wearing their C-Crown Fedora straw hats and pleated guayabera shirts and dresses.
Chamber members and their guests were treated to special entertainment by the Salrica dancers, doing their traditional salsa moves on the ball room floor.
The real fun came when they invited guests seated next to the dance floor for some impromptu dancing.
The night, however, was focused on honoring the citizens in the community who have tirelessly devoted their lives to serving the city of Dayton.
Here’s a list of the honorees and a brief bio for each.
HALL OF FAME INDUCTEES
Arlene Langham is a Senior Vice President at Allegiance Bank, successor-in-interest to Post Oak Bank. She has been in the banking industry for more than 30 years offering excellent customer service to all that she encounters. She is very active in the Dayton community serving as director for numerous organizations throughout Liberty County. She has been with the Dayton Chamber of Commerce since its inception serving as Chamber President in 2005. She’s a devoted and loving mother of two and grandmother of four.
Leslie Herndon has been working for Edward Jones since 2000. Prior to entering the private sector, she served as an educator for many years. She is involved with her church, Street Reach and the Liberty Education Foundation. She currently serves as President of the Dayton Rotary Club. She, too, has been a charter member of the Dayton Chamber of Commerce and served as its president in 2006. She is married to her husband Mark and they have two children, a girl and a boy. (Photo unavailable)
ROTARIAN OF THE YEAR
Following graduation, Kory Whitley started working for Frank’s Collision Repair in Baytown while attending college for a degree in business. After working every position available at the Baytown location and graduating with a bachelor’s degree from UH Clear Lake in 2008, he helped Frank open the Dayton location on Winfree St. in January of 2009. After outgrowing the Winfree shop and moving to the current location on Hwy. 90 Kory, joined the Rotary Club in 2011. At the Chamber Banquet in January 2013 he was awarded the Outstanding Sales Achievement for 78 percent sales increase. Since then, Kory has continued to give back to the community serving as a board director for the chamber, and Sgt. Of Arms, director, and President-Elect for the Rotary Club for 2019-2020.
DAYTON NOON CLUB LION OF THE YEAR
Wes Williamson was born and raised in Dayton and is the son of Chuck and Betty Williamson. He attended college at Texas Tech University in Lubbock and graduated with a political science degree. After working in church administration at a church in College Station for 18 years, Wes moved back to Dayton in 2011 to help in the family propane business that was started by his grandfather in 1953. Wes has been a member of Lions Club for over 20 years and is currently club secretary. He also creates the printed materials for the club including tickets, flyers, and other promotional items and handles the website during the annual radio auction fundraiser. Wes has served as president of both Dayton Noon Lions Club and Wellborn Lions Club. He’s also a member of the Dayton Historical Society and First United Methodist Church of Dayton. Wes’ hobbies include traveling to Europe and the Western United States, hiking the Colorado Rockies, teaching Sunday school, and listening to good music. Wes will be taking his fifth trip to Italy this summer so he can attend the International Lions Club convention in Milan.
DAYTON POLICE OFFICER OF THE YEAR
Officer Tyler Head is 33 years old and grew up in Midwest City, Oklahoma. Tyler graduated high school in 2004 and shortly after graduation he enlisted into the Marine Corps Infantry where he served for almost nine years and endured three combat deployments to Iraq and one to Afghanistan. Tyler held different jobs but none like the military brotherhood he once had until he joined the Peace Officer academy at University of Houston-Downtown in 2016 and upon graduation was employed with the Dayton Police Department in the early months of 2017. Tyler fell in love with his career change. Tyler sees a long-lasting career with the Dayton Police Department for him and his 8-year-old son, Skyler.
DAYTON VOLUNTEER FIRE FIGHTER OF THE YEAR
Josh Alley joined the Dayton Volunteer Fire Department in 2009. During the last 10 years, he has demonstrated an outstanding work ethic and an unwavering positive attitude towards both fellow firefighters and the citizens of this community. He loves to teach students about fire safety at our local schools. He is part of the 1st Responders and Liberty County Haz-Mat, serving not only Dayton but Liberty County as well. He has assisted in the clean-up following the storms and restoring the devastated communities. His leaders say he possesses all the qualities of a leader with a heart in the right place. He demonstrated his sense of humor when he accepted his award with his personal dance move called “The Joshua.”
LIBERTY COUNTY EMT OF THE YEAR
J. Oliver has worked for Liberty County EMS as an in-charge paramedic since April of 2014. In 2018, he was promoted to step-up supervisor and now assists with the clinical operations within the organization. He has been a paramedic for 8-and-a-half years and has also obtained his EMS Instructor as well as American Heart Association Instructor. Over the course of his career, he has worked for various 911 ambulances services and an emergency room as a paramedic, as well as a flight paramedic for a fixed-wing air ambulance service. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his family and riding horses, as well as serving the county as a deputy constable and a volunteer firefighter.
DAYTON CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AMBASSADOR OF THE YEAR
Mandy Wessels graduated from Dayton High School in 1997 and has been married to her husband Danny for 18 years. They have two children, Tyler and Blake and she works as a realtor with Texas Diamond Realty.
DAYTON CHAMBER OF COMMERCE VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR
Tammy Alexander grew up in Dayton and graduated from Dayton High School in 1986. She is married to Shane Burleigh and they’ve been married for 12 years. Tammy has been the Chairperson of the Ambassadors Committee for several years. She was elected to the board of directors two years ago and is now the President-Elect for the Chamber. It seems like she serves on many committees and has attended 99 percent if not 100 percent of the ribbon cuttings last year. She is married to Shane Burleigh and they’ve been married for 12 years. She has five kids and two grandkids. She has worked for the Dayton Police Department for 14 years where she says she has become the mother to many more children.
SENIOR CENTER VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR
Patsy Arnold is a lifelong resident of Dayton TX, graduating for Dayton High School. She can always be found at the Dayton Community Senior Center, much of the time washing dishes in the kitchen. She is a member of many clubs including Stitch and Chatter, Pricilla, Lakata, and plays bridge weekly. She’s been a member of the Methodist Church since she was a year old and currently attends First United Methodist Church of Dayton. Her pride and joy is her family. Her late husband Boyd and Patsy raised two sons, David and Randel Arnold. She has 11 grandchildren and 22 great grandchildren.
DAYTON CHAMBER OF COMMERCE RETAIL BUSINESS OF THE YEAR
Chicken Express has made their mark on the community since arriving in Dayton two years ago. The owner Jonathan Lee and his General Manager Jeanie are two of the most endearing people you will ever meet, and they jumped in immediately to find ways to support the Dayton Chamber.
DAYTON CHAMBER OF COMMERCE SERVICE BUSINESS OF THE YEAR
After opening in 2008, Frank’s Collision quickly became loyal members and supporters of the Dayton Chamber of Commerce. They are highly respected and a preferred body shop in Dayton.