By Marlena Hartz: CNJ staff writer
Hundreds of community and business leaders gathered at Cannon Air Force Base on Friday night to honor those who fought doggedly to save the air base from closure in 2005.
“It was one of the most challenging years of my 35 years of life in Clovis,” said 2005 Chamber of Commerce President Stacey Martin.
Certainly, the year challenged the resolve of leaders in Clovis who did not expect Cannon Air Force Base to be included on the Department of Defense closure list.
It also challenged the will of the region’s citizens. And fittingly, the 2006 Annual Clovis/Curry County Awards Banquet reflected that struggle, as well as the region’s triumph.
Eight of the nine awards presented Friday were given to individuals instrumental in the fight to save Cannon.
“He provided leadership in a very intense year. (He) worked in the trenches taking care of the details,” said Martin, in his presentation speech to Volunteer of the Year Terry Moberly, a local business owner and the president of the Committee of Fifty.
Martin’s description of a dedicated and selfless civil servant extended to all who received awards Friday, including longtime city commissioner Isidro Garcia.
Attendants stood to applaud Garcia, who has served on the City Commission for more than 19 years, as well as another Clovis resident, Chad Lydick.
Lydick, along with fellow Citizen of the Year Randy Harris, lobbied throughout this year, and in years previous, on behalf on Cannon. Lydick also researched, organized and presented a moving speech for a federal hearing concerning Cannon.
“It (the Cannon threat) really took the wind out of this community for a while,” Lydick said during his award acceptance speech. “But I think we will look back on (the decision to spare Cannon) and realize the blessing in disguise that it is.”
Also at Friday’s banquet, members of the 2006 Chamber of Commerce Executive Committee were announced.
They are as follows:
• President Rhonda Bargman
• President Elect Terry Moberly
• Past President Stacey Martin
• VP Financial Jim Sours
• VP Economic Development Tom Phelps
• VP Government Development Raymond Mondragon
• VP Org. Development Kathy Wright
• VP Community Development Lance Adkins
• Executive Director Ernie Kos
Also announced were 2006 Chamber of Commerce priorities:
• 1. To support the collective efforts to identify a new mission or missions for Cannon Air Force Base;
• 2. To develop the Business Enterprise Center by implementing the plans for the Welcome and Visitors Center, Museum and Business Incubator;
• 3. To increase tourism by supporting special events and cooperate sponsorships as approved by the Chamber Board of Directors;
• 4. To partner with Global Spectrum to ensure the success of the Clovis Civic Center by providing marketing support.