By Tracy McNew
Friday, Jan. 11 marked the Libby Chamber of Commerce’s annual award and fundraising banquet. The evet was themed “game night,” and a crowd packed the Memorial Center to enjoy not only awards and games, but also a game themed dinner catered by Mandy Bell’s Gracious Table, complete with domino shaped brownies for dessert. Chamber president, Scott Beagle started the evening with a recap of the Chamber’s many activities over the past year, and then introduced the board of directors with includes Kim Peck, Jamie Paulsen, Liz Whalen, Bruce Vincent, LeRoy Thom, Amber Holm, and Alissa Ramirez. The event was emceed by Liz Whalen, and awards were presented by various people during dinner. This year’s winners included:
- City of Libby employee of the year- Jeff Best
- Libby Public Schools employee of the year- Renee Rose
- Nonprofit of the year- CARD Clinic
- Excellence in customer service- JB Tire Les Schwab
- Small business of the year- Libby Floral and Gifts
- Volunteers of the year- Gary and Kate Huntsberger
- Event of the year- Kootenai Country Montana’s chainsaw carving championship
- Business of the year- High Spirits Liquor Store
- Lincoln County’s person of the year- Darren Coldwell
Most winners gave a short acceptance speech, and the final award for Lincoln County’s person of the year was presented to Darren Coldwell’s mother and sister since he was out of town for healthcare reasons during the event. Coldwell connected by video conference though, along with his wife Barbie, and despite technical difficulties with sound, a banter ensued between Coldwell and award presenter, Mark Peck, that was touching enough to garner a large round of applause and even a standing ovation by some attendees.
Games played throughout the evening included name that tune, heads or tails, historical Libby trivia, a hold in one mini golf challenge, and family feud. Between games, a live auction was held, and then donated baskets were raffled off to conclude the evening.
The Libby Chamber of Commerce started off 2019 with a very successful event following a successful year. Chamber membership increased by 46 businesses in 2018 for a total of 222 members. In addition, relocation or visitors’ packets were sent out to over 300 people and use of Libby Bucks increased to $29,000 helping to make sure that local money stays local. For more information about the Libby Chamber of Commerce, check out their website at www.libbychamber.org or visit one of their monthly events. This month’s free Business & Banter event will be held at Cabinet Mountain Brewing on Thursday, Jan. 17 from 5:30 until 7:30.
Leroy Thom Chamber Board Member and Brent Orr enjoy the festivities at this years Chamber fundraiser. Photo courtesy of Brent Orr.
Gary and Kate Huntsberger show off their Volunteers of the year award at this years Chamber Fundraiser. Photo by Tracy McNew, The Montanian.