By MIKE COURSON
Great Bend Post
Each year the Great Bend Chamber of Commerce recognizes some of the people who play an instrumental role in the community. Nomination forms have been extended through Dec. 31 at 5 p.m. for Citizen of the Year, Business of the Year, and NextGen Leader of the Year. The winners will be announced at the chamber's 101st Annual Awards Night scheduled for Feb. 25, 2023. Chamber CEO Megan Barfield said the NextGen Leader award is handed out by the Barton County Young Professionals.
"That highlights a young professional that is serving his or her community," she said, "and just showing some leadership in an up-and-coming role and taking a real interest in being engaged in the community through volunteering and leadership."
The other awards are just what they say they are: highlighting an individual and a business that has served the community over the past year.
"It's really a great way for chamber members to give a little nod of respect and say, 'Hey, we respect you. We appreciate you. Thank you for what you're doing for the business community and the community at large,'" Barfield said. "We're excited. It's so much fun to give those awards every single year."
In 2021, Bryant Funeral Services won the business award for the many services provided during COVID-19. "Unfortunately, that was a busy time for them," said Barfield. "That took a lot from their home and family, and a lot of sacrifices were given so they could provide comfort and services to families in need during the worst time in their lives, some of them."
The NextGen and individual winner will be kept secret prior to the Feb. 25 banquet. The Chamber Board's executive committee also retains the right to hand out an additional Legacy Award for any individual or business that has performed above and beyond throughout the year.
Chamber members can vote for the awards by visiting greatbend.org, or by calling the chamber for more information.