Those giving back honored at Chamber event
By Kyle Mooty
Helping others was the theme of those honored at last week’s 87th Lockhart Chamber of Commerce Banquet, the Mardis Gras Masquerade held at the Fountains of Lockhart.
Most Worthy Citizen, Joyce Buckner, and Business of the Year, Vogel Furniture, were just icing on the cake for the night’s theme as being there when needed.
The award winners included:
* 2021 Chisholm Trail Roundup Spirit Award — William Harland
* 2021 Individual Spirit Award — Lydia Serna
* 2021 Business Spirit Award — Pegasus Schools, Inc.
* 2021 Non-Profit Spirit Award — Caldwell County Christian Ministries
* 2021 Agribusiness of the Year — Tom Owen
* 2021 Business of the Year — Vogel Furniture
* 2021 Most Worthy Citizen — Joyce Buckner
Also recognized was the first individuals in history for the Lockhart Leadership Class, of 2021 which included Kenneth Baumbach, Kristi Baumbach, Carolyn Bryant, Suzy Falgout, Jonathan Gonzales, Mark Gonzales, Marla Heger, Jay Howard, Meredith Jakovich, Rob Ortiz, and Jessica Silvas.
Buckner recently retired from Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative after 34 years. Amelia Smith, a longtime friend of Buckner, read stories and notes other had told her about Buckner during the introduction.
“Not only does she contribute to the community as a whole, but through individuals’ lives,” Smith said. “One day a guy was walking around, and Joyce drove by and thought he looked cold, so she gave him a Bluebonnet hat to keep his head warm,” Smith said.
Buckner said she had been told many times that “if you love your job you will never work a day in your life. Bluebonnet made me who I am today.”
After telling her husband, John, the award was his, too, Buckner added, “I thank you Caldwell County. I love you. Keep doing what you do.”
Vogel Furniture had several employees and family members on hand, but the Business of the Year Award was accepted by Eddie and June Vogel.
A story was told of a woman whose husband had been killed during World War II. She was pregnant and needing a refrigerator, but she informed former owner O.W. Vogel and his brother she would have to pay for it later. The men loaded the refrigerator and delivered it to the woman’s house.
Also, Eddie was 13 years old when his father walked into his bedroom and advised his son that he was now old enough to go to work.
“I’ve been working ever since,” Eddie said.
June Vogel introduced Vogel’s employees.
“We’ve been in business 98 years,” she said. “In two years, we’re going to have a big celebration.”
Lydie Serna was the recipient of the Individual Spirit Award, taking over where her late mother, Lilly, left off by providing holiday meals and gifts for those in need.
“Lydia now serves Lockhart where her mother started giving Christmas gifts to kids under 12 that are in need,” said Kim Clifton, Director of Operations for the Chamber.
“I am honored,” Serna told those attending the banquet. “On behalf of my mother and myself, things we do weren’t for public knowledge. It’s from the heart. The children and adults get great joy out of this.
Meredith Jakovich accepted the on-Profit Spirit Award as the Executive Director of Caldwell Christian Ministries. Established in 1977, CCM now provides food for more than 10,000 people annually.
“(CCM) continues to adapt and have a steadfast eye on grace,” Clifton said.
Jakovick has been the Executive Director at CCM for the last three years.
“We navigated through Covid,” Jakovich said. “When you see the faces (of those we serve), it’s all worth it. Food insecurity in Caldwell County has risen to 37 percent.”
Pegasus Schools was awarded the Business Spirit Award, which was accepted by Nick Sedlacheck.
“Every year, Pegasus Schools donates countless hours,” Clifton said. “We owe them a debt of gratitude.”
Tom Owen was the Agribusiness of the Year recipient. His father won the award in 1987, and Tom said he had spent 44 years in the seed business.
The Chisholm Trail Roundup Spirit Award went to William Harland. He was introduced by Donald Schneider.
“We have had people step up when we needed them,” Schneider said. “This gentleman has stepped up.”
As for the first Leadership Lockhart class, Clifton said, “They believed our mission and devoted their time. I had a wonderful time working with this group.”
Missie Hagen will be the Chair of the Chamber for 2022, replacing B.J. Westmoreland.
“This is a fantastic Chamber board with fantastic people.,” Hagen said. “We are ready to make great changes and make everybody proud this year. People have gone above and beyond.”
Hagen also thanked Westmoreland and noted that he would be a “tough act to follow.”
“It’s been a challenging time, but we are moving on.,” Westmoreland said. “I thank you for letting me have the privilege of serving in 2021.”