The El Dorado Chamber of Commerce celebrated the success of its past year, the future and the volunteers who made that success possible during the chamber's annual event Monday evening.
After a time to socialize, Outgoing Chamber Director Shirley Patton started the program, beginning by recognizing the sponsors and then the board.
"We could not do anything at the chamber if it was not for our board," she said, adding that it was all volunteer. "It's amazing the hours they put in."
She also recognized the annual event committee before turning the program over to 2013 Board President Bill Kloeblen and 2014 Board President Katie Runnion.
Runnion began by thanking Patton for her service to the board and recognizing her retirement by presenting her with a gift, after which she received a standing ovation from those in attendance for her dedication and hard work at the chamber.
Runnion also introduced the new director, Susie Carson.
"We're really excited for her to be on board," Runnion said.
They then went on to present several awards to different individuals and groups.
The first was the Volunteer of the Year Award, which recognizes an individual or family who has gone above and beyond and set an example for future volunteers. This year's recipient was long-time chamber board treasurer Tony Allison.
The next award was the Chamber Committee of the Year Award, which recognizes the committee that has had the greatest impact on the chamber over the past year.
"We have a number of wonderful committees in the chamber," Kloeblen said.
This year's award went to the Walnut River Festival Committee, chaired by Jean Plummer.
"I have a wonderful committee and they work hard," Plummer said.
The next award was Chamber Business of the Year, which recognizes a business that has made a substantial contribution to the community the last three years or longer. BG Products received this recognition for their involvement in the community.
The final award was the Community Volunteer of the Year, which went to Judie Storandt, the director of Kids Need to Eat and El Dorado Lunchbox.
Following the awards, Kloeblen talked briefly about 2013.
"2013 was a very good year for the chamber and for the business community here in El Dorado," he said. "But I think this is a night to focus on the future and the future is a good one."
He thanked Patton and Chamber employee Vicki Bell for their work.
Looking on to 2014, Runnion talked a little about the future.
"I'm looking forward to 2014," she said. "I'm excited to be able to work with all of you."
Page 2 of 2 - She said she was looking forward to getting to know more people in the community and visiting businesses.
She said volunteers are a large part of the El Dorado community.
"El Dorado is a great community and I'm proud to be a part of it," she said.
Runnion also recognized outgoing board members Zac Sundgren, Gene Kimble and Reggie Graham.
Following the presentations, they moved into the live auction before beginning the casino night part of the evening.