“Welcome all of the superheroes. The theme for us was really easy to choose because all of you are superheroes, and you deserve to be recognized for your hard work,” said Executive Director of the Rolla Area Chamber of Commerce, Stevie Kearse, at the Rolla Chamber of Commerce 99th Annual Awards Banquet, “Heroes Among Us."

The annual awards banquet was held on Saturday, Jan. 19 at Missouri University of Science and Technology’s Havener Center where several members of the community were recognized for their dedication to strengthening the surrounding area.

Kearse added, “And most have no idea they are going to be getting a reward.  If you did not get a reward tonight, I just want for you to know that the reason behind the banquet is to celebrate all of you. You are the heart of Rolla; you are Rolla’s backbone and Rolla’s core. Rolla is a product of what you do.

“You are the people that spend countless hours thinking about how to better your business, offer better benefits to your employees, grow your customer base but at the same time make sure that your current customers feel appreciated and special as well.

“You all dedicate your lives to Rolla, to your businesses, and to creating a future for our children.”

On behalf of the Rolla Chamber, Kearse thanked the members of the community, who are all superheroes.

The Edmund Ward Bishop Award, the chamber reserves for individuals who have demonstrated a lifetime commitment to improving the quality of life for their friends, neighbors and business associates.

The 2019 award was presented to, Bob May.

The Annual Achievement Award, the chamber reserves for an individual or group of people who have shown exceptional service by recruiting and coordinating volunteers, while significantly contributing to the Rolla Area Chamber of Commerce and the Rolla community over the past year.

The 2019 award was presented to, the Rolla Downtown Business Association for undertaking efforts in developing a new event, Downtown Dishes and Drinks, and growing a long-standing Halloween tradition into Boo-Palooza.

The Spirit of Rolla Award, the chamber awards to a woman in the community in recognition for significant achievement and lifetime contribution to the spirit of giving that is symbolic of Rolla and the surrounding community.

The 2019 award was presented to, Susan Hinkle.

The Small Business of the Year Award, the chamber reserves for a business in Rolla that has expertly supervised growth of their business, management of their business, involvement in the community and marketing of their business.

The 2019 award was presented to, Trips and More Travel Agency, that has been part of the Rolla Community for 47 years.

The Entrepreneurial Spirit Award, the chamber awards to individuals who have led their company toward substantial entrepreneurial success in its industry, with significant promise for continued growth, energy, and expertise to assist in the development of entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial ventures. 

Individuals who have also spearheaded the exceptional growth and performance of their company; achieved significant entrepreneurial success in any industry or business category through creativity, innovation, risk-taking, and using new business practices to lead their enterprise to substantial levels of performance and success.

The 2019 award was presented to, Cory & Susan Lawrence, owners of O’Doggy’s.

The Tourism Champion Award, the chamber reserves for an individual or business that embodies the spirit of tourism in Rolla. This individual or business has made a considerable contribution to Rolla’s tourism industry by supporting Rolla events, partnering with the Chamber on tourism-related projects and any effort designed to bring visitors into the Rolla community.

The 2019 recipients went to, The Honoring Our Heroes Marathon Committee for their efforts in coordinating and growing the annual marathon.

The Volunteer of the Year Award, the chamber reserves for a notable volunteer, in the Chamber membership, who has gone above and beyond expectations of all volunteers.

The award, the chamber doesn’t present annually but presents when the opportunity occurs.

The 2019 recipient was, Don Brackhahn.