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Chamber of Commerce honors top citizens

By Sherrie Williams
Several Iowa Park residents and a business were recognized Saturday evening during the annual Chamber of Commerce Banquet.
The Outstanding Student Award went to Matthew Cooper.
Some of the highlights of Cooper’s accomplishments includes being an active member in Interact Club, Spanish Club, National Honor Society, PALs, basketball, football, cross country, track and field, golf, and served as a statistician for the Hawk baseball team.
His honors and community service involvement include Rotary Paul Harris Fellow, Rotary Youth Leadership Award, president and founder of the Iowa Park Interact Club, assisted with the local animal shelter, Teens Make a Difference, and Great Days of Service.
The Iowa Park Leader was recognized as Outstanding Business.
Some of the highlights of the Leader include: the year this business opened, the Iowa Park Hawks were on their way to win a state football championship, 2,041 students were enrolled in Iowa Park Schools is just some of the news published in the first edition of the Leader, dated September 18, 1969.
Dolores and Bob Hamilton moved to Iowa Park from Littlefield, after being approached by members of the Iowa Park Chamber of Commerce and IDC with the question, “Will you start a newspaper in our community?”
The Leader has been the recorder of Iowa Park’s history as it has happened the past 47 years reporting things such as weddings, births, meetings, crime, our schools and city, and Iowa Park citizens.
Dolores and Bob, along with their five young children, arrived in Iowa Park in September of 1969 and immersed themselves in what in meant to be an Iowa Parkan. Each of their children is an Iowa Park High School graduate, as are a few of their grandchildren.
Bob, who passed away in 2008, and Dolores, who continues as publisher, have played an active role in community and school events through the newspaper and civic leadership. They have also been instrumental supporters in Iowa Park’s business base and quality of life, to promote the growth of Iowa Park.
Bob served on the Iowa Park City Council several years, and as president of the Iowa Park Noon Lion’s Club and Iowa Park Chamber of Commerce. Dolores currently serves as president of the 4B Committee, and was instrumental in the development of the walking track and amenities around Gordon Lake.
Both have also served as president of regional and state press associations. The Iowa Park Leader has won numerous awards from Texas Press Association in news writing, feature writing, photography, advertising, column and sports writing; and first place in the nation in advertising.
A strong supporter of Iowa Park’s business community, “Shop Iowa Park First,” is a slogan the Iowa Park Leader coined and has used for decades to remind townspeople to shop locally and support the community.
Their commitment to the growth and care of the community dovetailed beautifully with the goals of the Iowa Park Leader.
The Iowa Park Leader has taken as it’s cause The Iowa Park Food Pantry in hosting a two-month drive each year in order to help feed the needy in the community, as well as other fund-raising efforts and promotion.
Although their staff is small, only four people, they are dedicated to being present at as many activities and functions as they can to fulfill their goal of witnessing and reporting Iowa Park’s history as it happens.
In addition to owner and publisher Dolores Hamilton, also working at the Leader are two of their children, Kevin Hamilton, managing editor, sports editor and photographer; Kari Collins, columnist and advertising director; as well as Sherrie Williams, reporter and photographer
Johnie Brown was recognized as Outstanding Senior Citizen.
Johnie was born to Lydia Jewel and Adison Sidney Hudson near Hillsboro. When she was 18 months old they moved to Iowa Park.
She started school in Valley View and finished in Iowa Park.
She always loved food service and served in that capacity for over 16 years at Sheppard Air Force Base and over 15 years in the Iowa Park School system. She was cafeteria manager the last eight years of her career at the high school where she retired. She opened a day care and kept many Iowa Park children over the years. She also helped Lola Rowe when she needed extra help at her day care.
Johnie and her late husband, Harroll Brown worked for 25 years as custodians of their church, First United Methodist Church. She served her church in many capacities such as keeping children in the nursery, helping in Bible School, Sunday School secretary/treasurer, singing on the choir, and helping with bereavement.
She helps with Friendly Door’s Meals on Wheels, and has been a cook there. She provides rides to doctor appointments, baked for community events, serves in Highland Cemetery committee, and helps with the Iowa Park Police Department’s Good Morning program calling shut-ins making sure they are okay. She has also volunteered with HHH bike ride passing out water and food as the riders come through the community.
She likes to travel with Agape tours including to her favorite place, Branson. She attends Advantage 55, The Zone, Senior Focus, Heart of the Women, and many other events.
She also loves the Fort Worth Stock Show which she attends with her family every year.
She raised six children in Iowa Park. She has 16 grandchildren and 32 great-grandchildren. When her children say “Mom let’s Go,” she says when and what time will you be picking me up.
Outstanding Educator (Elementary) went to Tamara Dickerson, a third grade teacher at Bradford Elementary.
Some of the highlights of Tamara’s introduction include: She has been teaching 28 years and what is unique about her teaching career is that she has taught the same grade in the same classroom all of that time.
During her time as a teacher there have been four presidents, four different superintendents, and four principals at Bradford Elementary.
She has administered standardized testing that has changed four times.
Her fellow teachers said she has great work ethics, staying late in the evening or on weekends. Kindness and manners are always displayed by her and expected of her students. She is a team player always striving for what is best for everyone.
Outstanding Educator (Secondary) went to Shane Adkins.
Some of the highlights mentioned during his introduction includes: Adkins graduated from Mineral Wells High School in 1987. He has a bachelor’s degree from Angelo State University and a Master’s Degree in Teacher Leadership from Lamar University. While at Angelo State, he met his wife Leslie. He began his teaching and coaching career at San Angelo Lakeview High School. From there he went to work in Baytown at Sterling High School. He then took a short break from teaching and coaching and went to work in the private sector. At that time he and his wife adopted two boys from Ukraine, Dalton and Walker.
Both boys are currently juniors at Iowa Park High school.
After his short time out of education Adkins came to Iowa Park High School as a teacher and coach. He has 21 years in the teaching profession and 16 of those years have been here at Iowa Park High School.
In his years here in Iowa Park, Adkins has been very involved in both school activities and with the youth of Iowa Park.
Outside of school, he has coached youth soccer, little league baseball, Top of Texas football, and YMCA basketball. In addition to his teaching duties, Adkins has coached football and powerlifting, is a UIL math coach, club sponsor, new teacher mentor, 504 committee member, site based committee member, hiring committee member, is the math department chairperson, and has even driven bus routes.
He is very well respected by his peers.
Jimmy Eaton was recognized as Outstanding Citizen.
Some of the highlights of his introduction includes: Eaton has pretty much been a lifetime resident of Iowa Park and takes pride in knowing almost everything there is to know about Iowa Park. “Even if he doesn’t know everything about Iowa Park, he can make you think he does.”
He is very intrigued with the history of Iowa Park and has deep connections to the town through his family tree.
He has dedicated his adult life to serving the public and takes pride in this fact.
He is always one to help others in times of need whether that means monetary or himself at his shop doing mechanic work or utilizing his prior experience in the auto body field.
The Police Department has a 1957 Ford police replica car they are very proud of. The vehicle is commonly used in parades and other events in the community. Back in the 90’s Eaton found the vehicle and arranged for it’s purchase. He then spent many hours prepping the vehicle on his own time and then gave it a nice black and white paint job.
Today this car still looks good because of the fine work he performed on it back then.
As a public servant he has been a police officer for Iowa Park for just over 23 years.
“This is the longest tenure for any police officer here dating back at least to the 60’s and maybe longer.”
He began his career in Iowa Park as a rookie police officer and has obtained different jobs within the police department during his tenure. He was one of the first Intoxilyzer Operators in the department and was the first officer to have a drug dog in the department which most will remember was Rika. After the retirement of Rika he was promoted to the position of patrol sergeant. In 2007 he was again promoted this time to the position of lieutenant which he still holds.
Another milestone that he achieved was obtaining his Master Peace Officer Certification.
He and his wife, Arlene have been married 25 years.
He has a son, James (Jamie) Eaton and a daughter, Jessica Campbell; as well as five grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.
Also during the banquet the COC Exective Board for 2016 were introduced.
They include: Kendal Graves, president; Tim Jetton, first vice-president; Crystal Ojeda, second vice-president; David Owen, treasurer; Mike Price, secretary; and Lynn Dutton, past president.
Monica, CEO of the BBB was guest speaker.
The meal was catered by Butterstick Bakery and Deli.