The evening of Saturday, August 2, was when the big event was held. Kippy Edge, San Patricio’s famous county librarian, was the master of ceremonies for the night. Many special awards were presented throughout the evening, which included the Citizen of the Year Award, the Outstanding Service Organization Award and Humanitarian of the Year Award.
In addition to these awards, other special awards were given because, as Taft’s Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Mary Griffin put it, “All these individuals and groups go above and beyond. Without this group of concerned citizens, the chamber would not be able to do their work.”
This community-oriented sentiment was echoed in Dr. Ray Garza’s speech. He is president of the Taft Chamber of Commerce and Taft Junior High assistant principal. He spoke of the importance of the fine folks in the community and their hard work and tremendous effort.
Taft ISD, the City of Taft, Taft EMS, Taft Police Department, fire department, public works, The Taft Tribune, as well as Boy Scout Troop 43, Cub Scout Pack 43, John Turany (Santa Claus), Melanie Hickey and Crop Production Services all received recognition.
The Taft Kiwanis Club, which sponsors and chooses the Citizen of the Year award, gave the award this year to Denise and Leslie Hitt.
Donnie Riojas, Director of The Taft Kiwanis Club, expressed the reasons which led to the club choosing the Hitt’s as the citizens of the year for Taft, “We were very inspired. They step up to the plate, they are volunteers who make things better in Taft- they initiated the first Christmas tree (two years ago), they sparked the drive to start the lighting which is held in the park downtown every Christmas. They also sponsored a building for the Little League, work concessions for sports games, remodeled the kiva hut and have helped in so many ways. It’s a team effort, they are both all about improving the community.”
The Taft Chamber of Commerce Humanitarian of the Year award, which has been given to the kind humanitarians of the community as an honorary award since 1977, was given to Evelyn Sinast.
Jeannie Raegan, volunteer at the Holy Family Church spoke of Sinast’s accomplishments and how inspirational she has been to the community in Taft, “She does a lot of work there [at the church] and at other churches. It’s nice when people help and she helps even though she’s retired. She’ll help you anytime you need it. She’s helped several people. Evelyn will give you a ride to the doctor if you need one. She is there for you, she helps me and lots of other people.”
Outstanding accomplishments from the individuals of the community were highlighted and so were the awesome organizations like the Taft FFA who received The Outstanding Service Organization award from the Taft Chamber of Commerce.
Introductions were also made for the new Ambassadors for Taft: Rylie Robertson, Ricardo Trevino, Patricia Luera, and Jonathan Martinez.
In addition to their awards, The office of Congressman Blake Farenthold of District 27 gave certificates of appreciation to the FFA, Citizens of the Year, and Humanitarian of the Year.
Griffin believed the evening was successful.
“It was well attended, I thought it went very well,” Griffin said. “We were excited to be able to honor and recognize such outstanding Taft individuals and organizations. It’s a special night to honor Taft.”