Lady of the Year Rita Edwards (left) was overcome with joy when she received the award from Shirley Burney (right), representing Beta Sigma Phi, at the Chamber of Commerce Membership Banquet held in February. Edwards was recognized for her many efforts working with different groups to promote the city and the downtown revitalization.
File Photo

Beta Sigma Phi issues call for Lady of the Year nominees

Jan. 15 deadline set for award presented at annual Chamber of Commerce banquet

By BRUCE ALSOBROOK, News-Telegram Managing Editor

Oct. 31, 2008 - Members of an international friendship network are putting out the call for nominations to honor women who go above and beyond to better the community of Hopkins County.

The local chapter of Beta Sigma Phi is seeking candidates for the Lady of the Year Award, which the group presents every year at the Hopkins County Chamber of Commerce Membership Banquet.

The honor has been presented each year since 1976 to a woman who goes above and beyond the call of duty to make the community a better place to live. Nominees must be Hopkins County residents and cannot be a current or past member of Beta Sigma Phi. Award winners are typically recognized for civic, church and other volunteer work. The nomination cannot be for work for which they are paid, however.

The nomination must include a letter explaining why that person is deserving of the award.

Jimmie McIntire with Beta Sigma Phi said the nominations should be mailed to P.O. Box 72, Sulphur Springs, TX 75483.

"They can send them there anytime until January 15," she said, referring to the deadline for nominations.

The most recent Lady of the Year recipient was Rita Edwards, who was singled out for her work as president of the Downtown Business Alliance. She is a former Pilot Club member, and works with the city and tourism departments promoting the town.

Several other honors and awards will be presented at the annual banquet, traditionally held the first or second Thursday in February. Those include the Citizen of the Year Award, sponsored by Echo Publishing, last given to Dr. Joe B. Minter; Agriculturist of the Year, given by the Hopkins County Professional Ag Workers Association in February to Mike and Sandra Webb of Webb Family Dairy; the Pilot Club' Caregiver of the Year award, last presented to Michael Ezell; and the Community Pride Awards sponsored by the 1994 Adult Leadership Class. The most recent recipients were Pilot Club for their work with children, and the family of Alan and Kim Screws for "The North Pole of Texas," the free Christmas train ride and display they create with the help of about 75 volunteers every year.

The Chamber also presents several awards, including Small Business of the Year, presented last to Sandi Wallace, owner of Plain & Fancy Sandwich Shoppe, and Industry of the Year, which went to Wal-Mart in February. The Chamber also names an Educator of the Year (Katie Martin was honored most recently), an Ambassador of the Year (Jackie Thornton) and the Vision Award, for people or organizations that are the first see an area of potential need or opportunity in the community. The last award went to the Downtown Business Alliance.

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