The Clovis and Curry County Chamber of Commerce transformed the Clovis Civic Center ballroom into a scene from a Western movie Friday, complete with hay bales by the main entrance for their annual banquet.
About 380 people joined the Chamber in celebrating the accomplishments of 2008.
Chamber President Jim Sours passed the gravel to incoming 2009 President Kathy Wright.
Col. Timothy Leahy outlined changes Cannon Air Force Base underwent in 2008 and the changes to come this year, including doubling the size of the base.
“We have a different mission, we fly different aircraft and maybe see the world in a different way, but different isn’t bad, it’s just different,” Leahy said.
Clovis Mayor Gayla Brumfield congratulated the people of Clovis for the making the city what it is.
“People fall in love with Clovis because of the people here,” Brumfield said.
She also announced plans for a state of the city address in four to six weeks. Brumfield said she would discuss what the city has accomplished over the past year, the quality of life in Clovis, beautification projects and plans to expand current business in Clovis while attracting new businesses.
Clovis citizen Lonnie Leslie was awarded the Citizen of the Year award for serving the community for more than 20 years in several capacities. Leslie began his civil service as a teacher with the Clovis Municipal Schools system 36 years ago and is currently the chairman of the Local Growth Management Organization and the Curry County DWI task force.
Leslie also works with the Public Works Committee and the Planning and Zoning Committee, as well as the Presbyterian Hospital Board.
Chamber Executive Director Ernie Kos said the recognition of Leslie is long overdue.
“He encompasses the big picture as it relates to what the Chamber believes the Citizen of the Year should be,” she said.
Leslie said he was surprised by the honor and that his wife, Ardeth, deserves as much as credit as he does.
“There is no way to do all the things I do without the support of your spouse,” he said. “I’m blessed with a spouse that allows me to be gone as much as I am.”
“I am certainly blessed and humbled by the award. I consider it a privilege and honor to be a citizen of Clovis, New Mexico. I appreciate all the opportunities I’ve had to work in Clovis and serve in the various volunteer capacities that I have.”
Five other Clovis citizens and one business received awards from the Chamber:
• Dan Stoddard was recognized as the Ambassador of the Year.
Stoddard assisted with Chamber events for the past five years, has been the President of Kiwanis, Vice President of Assisted Living Services Organization, Chairperson of the Clovis Music Festival, a key volunteer and organizer of the Badlands Motorcycle Rally and Director of High Plains Harley Owners Group, to name a few of the organizations he has been involved in. No matter what the current crisis was, his response was always the same: “Not a problem - I’ll take care of it.”
• John Montano was awarded the Ken Huey Patriot Award. The Patriot Award was given to Ken Huey last year for the first time in order to encourage love of country, service to the people of the United States, and support for the Armed Forces.
• Moberly Moving and Storage received Business of the Year. Owners Terry and Mary Jo Moberly consistently helped the Chamber whenever something needed to be moved. They helped during the remodeling of the Norman and Vi Petty Rock ‘N’ Roll Museum. The Chamber said the Moberlys gave from their hearts.
• Randy Petty was recognized as the Volunteer of the Year for his work with the Clovis Music Festival when the event was on the verge of falling apart. Petty of Triangle Ace and Hardware has been a member of the Clovis and Curry County Chamber Board for the past three years.
• The Heart Award was given posthumously to John Urban for his dedication to oversee and help build numerous facilities for different ministries and other community organizations. He was know as the voice of the Wildcats. David Lansford, who presented the award, said Urban was “the model of love.”
• Larry Glenn was recognized with the Lifetime Achievement Award for 50 years of service to Clovis. Glenn spent his years serving the area in several capacities, including coaching youth sports, scholarship programs set up through his company Glenco, Inc., and created Fab-Steel Foundation, a non-profit organization that has given thousands of dollars to local charities among other accomplishments.