Bob Mayhar is the Citizen of the Year. The announcement and honors came on Friday, during the 102nd Annual Jasper Lake Sam Rayburn Area Chamber of Commerce Awards Banquet.
Mayhar, who is a retired employee of the US Postal Service and a former postmaster was cited for his work in the food pantry, which was established and is operated by the Harvest Church on South Wheeler Street.
The pantry, which distributes food to the needy of Jasper and the surrounding area is said to now feed some 8,000 people. In addition the project, which began here has also helped and assisted in setting up and organizing similar operations in Bon Wier and Colmesneil.
Mayhar, in his acceptance of the award, said "I'm honored that someone thinks I'm honored." However, Mayhar followed by thanking others who had helped including Willie Mae McFarland and Pastor Gary Marshal of the Harvest Church. He also stated "Eddie Hopkins and Paul Smith of JEDCO have changed the face of Jasper."
Mayhar said volunteers from 5 different churches had contributed to the food pantry, resulting in 100,000 meals on tables and also went on to thank his wife and God.
Chamber Member of the Year was the late Ann Allison Smith of Jasper and her husband Paul, who some years ago built and established La Paz, a bed and breakfast located on the Angelina River.
The award was presented by Chamber Executive Director Beverly Holley, who cited Ann Smith for her work in the Jasper Woman's Civic Club and the Main Street Renewal Project.
Ann Allison Smith died in November 2020, following a battle with cancer. The award was accepted by her husband Paul Smith, who said Ann would be proud of Main Street and the improvements there.
The Hometown Hero Award was presented to Ashley Shelby Rosette, a graduate of Jasper High School and the University of Texas at Austin who obtained a PhD in Management Organization and now as a member of the faculty of Duke University.
Rosette, who was unable to attend due to a previously scheduled engagement was represented by Tina Adams who accepted the award on her behalf.
The New Comer of the Year Award was presented to Derrick Billingsly, who with Paul Noyola, created and now own and operate MVP's Bar and Restaurant on South Wheeler Street.
Billingsly was cited for the creation of the sports bar, along with the emphasize placed on local athletes who proudly represented Jasper in various venues and competitive events over the years. It as also noted that the restaurant had also provided numerous scholarships to various young people from the area.
The Young Person of the Year Award was presented to James Ross Pulliam, a graduate of Jasper High School who was accepted and now attends the US Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland.
Pulliam was cited for among other things, his gathering of emergency packs for local police in his Senior Year at JHS.
Pulliam, who was not able to attend to classes at the Naval Academy was represented by his mother Ann Pulliam who accepted the award on his behalf.
The Small Business of the Year Award was presented to Charles Frazier and Advantage Plus Home Care. Charles and his late wife Brenda, started the business in 2002, of which now employees over 120 people and has offices in Jasper and Beaumont.
In his outgoing address, Steve Adams, who served as the President of the Jasper Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce thanked those that had assisted him including Bob Mayhar, Gary Dannar and others. Adams said "During the pandemic, Jasper could have lost jobs and industry, but due to the work of JEDCO and the Chamber we did not."
Adams said "Thanks for what has been and thanks to God for what is to come."
The event which had a beach theme of "Hot Summer Nights" with attendees encouraged to wear beach attire was held at the Harvest Church on South Wheeler Street.