Chris Kovatch was recognized as the Citizen of the Year by the Greater Orange Area Chamber of Commerce at its annual banquet Monday night at the Shahan Center on the LSCO Campus. He was introduced by Gisela Houseman.
Kovatch, who thanked his wife Christi, spearheaded the Orange Grove project. It is a fundraiser for the chamber where individuals and businesses have the opportunity to purchase a large cement Orange and display them around town. Kovatch is also heavily involved with the Orange Lions Club and several other organizations, besides his everyday job with Bridge City Bank.
Kovatch was joined by councilman Brad Childs as Chairpersons of the Year for the same project. Childs has volunteered his time and forklift to deliver the 650 pound oranges.
Maureen McAllister was installed as Chairman of the Board for a second time. Ed Barr was supposed to be the incoming Chairman but was relocated to another plant in November by his employer International Paper. So McAllister stepped up as a former chairman to fill the position. McAllister preached the area to be “Stronger Together.”
Lynae Sanford introduced Steven Burks from “Back to School Orange County” as the Non-Profit Community Service Award winner and Julie Barton introduced Dow Chemical as the Business Community Service Award winner.
Outgoing Ambassador Chair Whitney Jones awarded Kacey Burnitt as the Ambassador of the Year while Cindy Mims and Kristen Placette received the coveted Life Ambassador status for eight years of service.
Jim Malain was the Chairperson of the event along with Amy Peevey, Daniel Moreaux, McAllister, and Chamber Executive Director Ida Schossow and Office Manager Lauren McGee. Schossow and McGee were also recognized for their tireless efforts of running the chamber. Father Sinclair Oubre of St. Francis blessed the meeting and KOGT’s Gary Stelly was the Master of Ceremonies.