The Saturday evening gathering featured comments from Lloyd Smith, Eighth District Representative Jo Ann Emerson's chief of staff; and awards, including the presentation of the "Friend of the Chamber" Award to Jan Farrenburg.
In his presentation, Smith spoke about the vision it took by community leaders to establish the Chamber of Commerce and their efforts to bring Noranda Aluminum Co. and Associated Electric Co. Inc. to the New Madrid area. Since that time, Lloyd said, the county has also seen the location of the state's only rice mill in New Madrid County and now the county has two harbors - the New Madrid Harbor and the New Madrid County Port Authority's harbor - which receive federal funding.
"And there is vision for other things happening here," Smith said, pointing out recent efforts to improve the river front, with funding now available to complete the entire project.
"Only with vision to the future can you be a part of it. Your challenge is to think out of the box about where you want to be five, 10 years from now ... Think to the future, what you can do to make this community better," Smith said.
Those involved in the founding of the Chamber, which was incorporated on Oct. 30, 1948, were acknowledged. Harriet Hunter Myers accepted a certificate in honor of her father Sam L. Hunter, who was among the founding members. Christina McWaters acknowledged the Chamber's current board members for their service.
The final honor of the evening was presented by Cheryl White to Farrenburg. White explained the award is presented for volunteer service and selfless acts by a "champion of the community."
In accepting the honor, Farrenburg admitted it came as a surprise. "It just makes me want to work that much harder," she said.