Branson/Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce/CVB announces 2004 Community Award recipients

The Branson/Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce and Convention & Visitors Bureau announced today the recipients of the 2004 community awards. The awards were presented at the Chamber’s annual Black Tie dinner and gala held February 25, 2005 at the Chateau on the Lake in Branson, MO.

Corporate sponsors for the evening were Akers & Arney Insurance, Ozark Mountain Bank, and Ozarks Family Vision Centre/Missouri Eye Institute. In addition to dinner and entertainment provided by The Thundering Red Rockets, the evening served as an opportunity to recognize those who have made a significant contribution to the Branson/Lakes area. The awards presented at the 2005 event were:

The Mary Award, named in honor of Mary Herschend and Mary Trimble, the first recipients, was presented to Steve Weyher, operator of Golden Corral restaurant, for his outstanding service to the community and its residents. Steve has been a long-time supporter of the area’s events for veterans, and community marketing programs such as Hot Winter Fun. In 2004, Steve made a significant contribution to the “Branson’s Fun for Everyone” grassroots campaign by rallying local support for the program’s efforts to encourage visitors to Branson. Steve regularly donates his company’s services, and his personal time and energies when called upon by the community.

The Pioneer Award was presented to Jim Thomas, owner of the Lodge of the Ozarks complex, in appreciation for many years of service and dedication to the Branson community. A man of vision, Jim brought legendary entertainers such as Roy Clark to Branson for the first time, and later encouraged some of them to build their own theaters, prompting national recognition for the area. Jim was instrumental in developing Branson as a year round destination by being the first to extend his theater’s performance season. He encouraged the growth of the first convention and group tour business to Branson, and has continually upgraded his Lodge complex to provide visitors with a first-class entertainment, lodging, dining and meeting experience.

The Ambassador Award was presented to The Vacation Channel for its exemplary ambassadorship for the Branson/Lakes area. The company’s commitment to providing first-rate programming and high-quality production services has made an outstanding impression on millions of visitors to the area. The owners and staff provide professional, thoughtful customer service to their clients, and they have been recognized numerous times within their industry for their award-winning work.

The Beautification Award was given to the Keeter Center at College of the Ozarks for its enhancement of the Branson/Lakes area. The state-of-the art, beautifully crafted facility and grounds provide a truly memorable sensory experience for visitors, residents and students. The new facility will provide C of O students with many wonderful learning experiences for generations to come.

The Community Spirit Award, created and sponsored by Myer Hotels, was presented to Bert Leman, owner of Artilla Cove Resort, for his outstanding efforts to promote the Indian Point and Branson/Lakes areas. He has served as the Indian Point Chamber president, as a Village Trustee, and member of the Indian Point Village Board of Public Works. His efforts to produce the Enchanted Forest Light Display at Indian Point have helped attract over 80,000 visitors to the area. Bert has been a hands-on participant on many Branson/Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce committees.

The event also included a special achievement award for Michael London, publisher of Branson’s Update Magazine, for his volunteer efforts to organize the grassroots “Branson’s Fun for Everyone” public relations campaign. Michael donated his time and resources to rally the community behind his comprehensive plan to tell visitors that Branson is a ‘fun’ place for all. Among other features, the campaign included community-wide special events and rallies, promotional materials for sponsors, a website, a trip give-away, a movie short, a theme song and the services of a PR firm that helped bring national media exposure to the Branson/Lakes Area.

Two special recognition awards were given to Branson/Lakes Area Chamber volunteers for their above and beyond service to their community and to the Chamber.

Greg Maycock, owner of Indian Point Resort, has demonstrated a tireless commitment to the area and the Chamber through his hands-on service. He has been instrumental in the development of the Chamber’s new website, the Vacation Guide and other publications, and even volunteered to help manage the marketing programs of the Chamber when the Marketing Vice President’s position was vacant. He also serves on the Chamber Board of Directors.

Lucy Epperson has a long-standing record of exemplary volunteer service as an ambassador for the Chamber. She regularly works as a welcome center volunteer and rarely misses a ribbon cutting. Lucy is a delightful role model for other community servants and a gracious and welcoming host to visitors.

The evening also included a video presentation of the “Branson Promise,” produced by The Vacation Channel and featuring dozens of area residents who donated their time in bringing to life the written statement describing the spirit of the area.

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