Chamber of Commerce holds banquet to celebrate award recipients and 75th anniversary

August 29, 2023

The Cleveland-Bolivar County Chamber of Commerce hosted the 75th anniversary annual banquet on Aug. 28, at the Bolivar County Multipurpose Complex.  Program speakers included Chamber president Jeffrey Farris, executive director Hannah Aguzzi, and president-elect Robert Maxwell. A prayer was provided by Minister Charles Cannon of House of Prayer. Special messages were delivered by Homer Sledge, III and Mayor Billy Nowell, and the following award recipients were recognized for the dedication and service to the Cleveland community and Chamber of Commerce.

Tricia Walker received the Lucy R. Janoush Citizenship Award. Walker is a Grammy award winning singer/songwriter and founder of Big Front Porch Productions. She serves on the Chamber of Commerce Green and White Committee and the Tourism Board of Directors. Walker serves as the music ambassador for the City of Cleveland, leading the Deep Roots music initiative. Mayor Billy Nowell presented the award.

Cade Holder was awarded the Outstanding Young Professional Award. Holder is the Director of Marketing and Patron Services at the Bologna Performing Arts Center but has served the Chamber in the past as a member of the staff as Director of Community Programs. Cleveland-Bolivar County Young Professionals (CBYP) president Caroline Alderson presented the award. CBYP past-president Allie Watkins accepted the award on Holder’s behalf.

Airport Grocery was the recipient of this year’s Small Business Legacy Award. The Small Business Legacy Award recognizes a business in Cleveland and Bolivar County that has been open for 15 years, serving residents and visitors in distinct ways that contribute not only to the economic impact of the region, but to its quality of life. Sarah Aylward, local business owner, Chamber Executive Board member and Tourism Board member, presented the award to Heesy Holder.

Matty Bengloff was recognized with the President’s Award. Bengloff is the owner of Delta Dairy and currently serves on the Cleveland-Bolivar County Chamber Executive Board, Team Cleveland Board President, Aspire Mississippi committee and Delta Arts Alliance Board. He has previously served on the boards of Cleveland-Bolivar County Tourism Board and Mississippi First. The President’s Award is presented annually to an individual who has demonstrated outstanding service to the community. Farris presented the award.

Sarah Aylward was announced as the recipient of the Chamber Award. Aylward has been involved with the Cleveland/Bolivar County Chamber of Commerce for over two decades.  She is currently a member of the Board of Directors, Executive Board and Cleveland Tourism Commission where she is the current president and former secretary/treasurer.  Recently served as Chairman of the Nominations Committee and also served on the Main Street Board and the Octoberfest Committee as Chairman of Octoberfest. Farris presented the Chamber Award which is given annually to a member that has gone above and beyond in their dedication to the Chamber of Commerce.

Becky Nowell received the S.E. Kossman, Sr. Award, the most prestigious award given by the Cleveland-Bolivar County Chamber of Commerce each year.  The award recognizes a Chamber member who has provided outstanding, and most importantly, enduring, service to the Cleveland-Bolivar County community. Nowell has been a member of the Chamber of Commerce since 1989. She served on the board as chairman and currently serves on the tourism board and as the Delta State activities chairman. Her dedicated service garnered the President’s Award in 1992 and the Chamber Award in 2017. Farris presented Nowell with the award, which has the name of every S.E. Kossman, Sr. Award winner transcribed on the plaques.

Entertainment was provided by the band Variety, and Mississippi Grounds catered the meal. Delta Party Rental assisted with banquet décor, and the facilities team at the Multipurpose Complex aided with building operations.

The event was made possible through the sponsorship from the following companies and individuals: Guaranty Bank and Trust, Quality Steel Corporation, Simplot, Mike and Nan Sanders, JanTran, Serv-U Petroleum, Aguzzi Farms, Lifetime Dental, Renasant Bank, Nehi Bottling Company, Whole Cellars Package Store, and Mitchell Distributing.