The Newport Area Chamber of Commerce held the 83rd Annual Chamber Banquet on Thursday, January 31st. The event was held at the Newport Country Club. Social Hour began at 5 pm and dinner was served at 6 pm. The Chamber Banquet began with a few words from Kevin Pearce, Chamber President. After the Invocation by Bryce Shelton, Youth Minister at Holden Avenue Church of Christ, Julie Allen took a few moments to highlight many of the great happenings and contributions of 2018.

            During the award presentation, eight individuals and groups received recognition for their outstanding efforts to promote the success of the community and Jackson County. Awards included the Friend of Tourism Award given to the Jackson County Historical Society, Depot Days Award to Brenda Travis, Community Pride Award to Jacksonport State Park, Ambassador Award to Judge Jeff Phillips, Small Business of the Year to Custom Eyes Vision Care, Large Business of the Year to O’Conner Distributing, Bright Future Award to Jorge Salinas (Red Tie) , and Jackson County Outstanding Citizen to Dr. Patti Mullins. A secret bidder won the auction for the Grand Marshal of the Newport Christmas Parade and Mary Berry won the naming of the sign adjacent to Newport Lake by Farmers Market.

            Mr. James “Ski” Rutherford, III was the guest speaker for the evening. His speech made note of the importance of putting down divisions and raising up cooperation in communities, as well as on the national level.

            Presiding Chamber President Kevin Pearce wrapped up the evening by passing the role of President to Calli Chadwell.