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Chamber of Commerce holds annual banquet, distributes awards

Cove Leader-Press 

The Copperas Cove Chamber of Commerce hosted its annual banquet with a Casino Night theme Saturday evening at the Copperas Cove Civic Center.
After not holding a banquet in 2021 due to COVID, members and supporters showed up in spades for this year’s banquet. Approximately 145 people RSVP’ed, according to chamber President/CEO Silvia Spires.
In addition to the dinner, guests enjoyed a photobooth, complete with props, and different tables offering games of craps, blackjack and poker. 
Last year’s Board Chair Michelle Rocha reflected on the Chamber’s accomplishments during 2021 as guests enjoyed their meal. 
Last year, the Chamber increased its membership by 48 members, or 21 percent. The chamber also maintained its retention rate, with zero members dropping since July 2021. The Military Affairs Committee hosted four Military Affairs Dinners in 2021, hosting a total of 400-plus attendees. 
Other accomplishments included the various Centex Race Series runs such as the Jackrabbit 5K/10K and the H-E-B Plus Summer Run to Fun 5K. Last year also saw Rabbit Fest improve by offering a Thursday family night, more live entertainment and a wine and beer tent. The attendance for Rabbit Fest surpassed 40,000 attendees in 2021, according to Rocha. 
Krist Kindl Markt, held the first weekend of December, saw increased vendors, attractions, events and entertainment, with attendance numbers shooting up to 9,800 for the weekend, compared to the 3,400 who attended in 2020. 
The Chamber also distributed approximately 1,000 visitor bags at Hood Howdy on Fort Hood. 
The Chamber’s goals for 2022 are to continue to complete its rebranding phase; develop a three to five-year strategic plan; strengthen its presence in Copperas Cove and surrounding communities as a leader in the chamber and tourism industry; advance the programs in the Chamber and Visitors Bureau; increase investors and partners;  advocate for current and future Chamber members and community leaders and volunteers to promote commerce, economic growth, tourism, education and community development to advance the general welfare and prosperity of Copperas Cove; improve and grow current events and initiatives through partnerships, Rocha said. 
The awards portion kicked off with Charlotte Heinze accepting the award for Tourism Partner of the Year on behalf of the Copperas Cove H-E-B Plus! 
Outstanding Community Partner of the Year went to new Chamber member KHUR Radio, who also served as the DJ at the banquet. 
Joey Acfalle received the Colleague of the Year Award, also known as the Mark Peterson Award. Acfalle spent more than 30 hours volunteering at Krist Kindl Markt weekend, working the gates from 6 a.m. to close almost every day. 
Chamber Ambassador of the Year went to Lisa Sherwood, of Amy’s Attic. Chamber Ambassadors attend the different chamber functions such as Business & Organization of the Month, assist with membership retention, volunteer for chamber activities, are an advocate for the organization and its members.  
Small Business of the Year was Hank’s Tire Pros and Mufflers. The Coolest Air received a Chamber Appreciation Award for their efforts in helping get the Haunted Trail started. The Volunteer of the Year award went to Marcus Fuller. The Bookstore Barber Salon received the Outstanding New Member Award. 
This year, Nancy Nelson takes over as Board Chair for 2022, and Cliff Sanchez as Chair-Elect. The board is also made up of Charlotte Heinze, Tammy Rodriguez, Beth Galick, Heather Cunningham and Shaun Smith. 
After the awards ceremony, Spires said that she was glad to see people show up for the banquet. 
“I know it’s always an exciting event for the community and our business leaders, but two years into this pandemic and with it starting to feel like the pandemic started all over again, and it really did with all these cases and the hospitals, we’re right back where we started, but seeing that people are not afraid to enjoy themselves and to choose the Chamber to spend their Saturday night- it’s very flattering,” Spires said. “We, of course, appreciate all of the support. We couldn’t have done it, any of us, without them and continue to. Like I said, the Chamber industry is not the same as it was. It’s not going to be. It’s going to continue to grow and change, and we cannot grow and change without these people.” 
In 2022, the Copperas Cove Chamber of Commerce also plans to partner with the Copperas Cove Economic Development Corporation to host Oscar’s Market, a program aimed at educating and encouraging students to pursue entrepreneurship, ending with a market style event where the youth will be able to sell their items. Registration for the program is open now through March 7, with the market event scheduled for April 2 at Ogletree Gap. The Chamber of Commerce is also taking on the Copperas Cove Farmer’s Market, this year moving the Farmer’s Markets to Fridays, with plans to bring live entertainment on the first Friday of the month and bringing in other downtown businesses as well. 
The Chamber of Commerce will also be hosting the Jackrabbit 5K Run in May, followed by the 42nd annual Rabbit Fest to be held May 19-22. 
Sponsors of this year’s banquet included Crawford-Bowers Funeral Home, Cloud Real Estate Sales, Card My Yard Copperas Cove, VFW Post #8577 and Pure Skin Repair.

Copperas Cove Leader Press

2210 U.S. 190
Copperas Cove, TX 76522
Phone:(254) 547-4207