Chamber recognizes best of Beatrice at annual awards luncheon

September 26, 2018

The best of Beatrice was recognized on Tuesday during an annual awards event downtown.

The annual Chamber Member Awards luncheon was held at Vintage Venue, where Beatrice Area Chamber of Commerce officials presented awards in a variety of categories.

Chamber director Angie Bruna said it’s important to recognize people and organizations in the area striving to make Beatrice and Gage County a better place.

“It’s always great to take a moment to recognize the good things that are happening in our community,” she said. “A lot of times our nature is to focus on the negative, but we have a lot of great things happening here. Taking that moment to say thank you and recognize those efforts is important.”

Winners from the event include:

Business person or young professional of the year: Mark Simonson, Security First Bank.

Best new image: Taco John’s.

New business of the year: Vintage Venue.

Business of the year: Penner Insurance Agency.

Nonprofit of the year: Beatrice Community Hospital Foundation.

Employee recognition: Lindsey Wooton, Inline Healing.

Volunteer of the year: Greg Weaver.

Simonson said it was an honor and a surprise to be recognized with the first award of the day, and added Beatrice is a community of which its citizens can be proud.

“It’s an honor to be nominated in a great category,” he said. “Beatrice has a lot of great leaders, so it’s just an honor to be included in that list. A lot is happening in the community. There’s a lot of community involvement, businesses coming to town and a lot of great things.”

Community pride was a theme in keynote presentation, led by Beatrice Public Schools Superintendent Jason Alexander and Beatrice Community Hospital and Health Center CEO Rick Haraldson.

The two are both new to the area within the last year and counted down their top 10 things that are great about Beatrice, with the people claiming the top spot.

“I can’t tell you how exciting it’s been since last December when I took this job and the transition started to happen how nice it’s been to meet all of you,” Alexander said. “It’s been tremendously honorable for me to have the chance to interact with you… It’s been an honor and I look forward to meeting every one of you and building those relationships. Doing so is in the best interest of everyone here at Beatrice.”

Bruna said it’s difficult to pick just one winner in each of the seven categories, and that numerous factors are considered.

“We have a selection committee that comes together and we talk about not only what’s in front of us on the nomination form but what we know and compare all facets that we can,” she said. “It is all about the people. You can have organizations and you can have buildings, but it’s the people inside of those organizations and inside of those buildings that make it into what it is.”

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