Tommy Mann Jr.
The Orange Leader
A local company with a big reach received a highly coveted award on Monday night.
Gary Stelly and KOGT 1600 AM radio in Orange was announced as the Bridge City Chamber of Commerce’s Business of the Year during the chamber’s 53rd Annual Banquet on Monday night inside the Bridge City Community Center in front of a capacity crowd.
KOGT has served the community since 1948. Stelly has owned the radio station for 20 years and, along with his hard working staff, has provided Orange County with daily news, sports and country music.
In a rare moment, Stelly was nearly at a loss for words after receiving the award.
“This is a big surprise,” Stelly said to the crowd. “We’ve come a long way in 20 years at KOGT, and I have a great group of people to work with. We all do the best we can, all the media in Orange County, at covering the news that happens. Thank you.”
KOGT radio was selected out of three finalists, which also included Advanced Dental in Bridge City, owned by Dr. Mark Messer, and Bridge City Bank. Each business had to meet three criteria to be considered for the award, including being a member of the Bridge City Chamber of Commerce, longevity of business and continued growth and support given back to the community.
While the crowd enjoyed a delicious buffet of food from various chamber members, more awards were presented.
Jimmie Scales was announced this past week as the Citizen of the Year. He credited his parents with instilling the values he and his family live by today. He also thanked his family, especially his wife, Donna, by asking them to stand and be recognized.
A very touching moment followed when Chairperson Shirley Zimmerman presented an Honorary Lifetime Ambassador Award to the late Charlotte Hamilton, an employee of KOGT. The award was accepted by Hamilton’s children, Kevin Hamilton and Monica Mosley.
“Charlotte Hamilton was a great friend of the community and a great employee at KOGT,” Zimmerman said. “She had the true spirit of an ambassador and was a real ambassador of the community. She had grace and style in everything she did, and we miss her.”
Hamilton’s children, Kevin and Monica, were both deeply moved by the award, as Kevin fought back tears during a short address to the audience.
“In her own words, she would be tickled pink,” Kevin said with a hint of a smile at receiving the award for his mother. “She loved her community and she loved her job.”
Several other special awards were presented on Monday night.
The Lifetime Ambassador Award was presented to Beverly Perry, while the Ambassador of the Year Award went to Jerry McInnis. Several recognition awards were presented to Ambassadors who helped shape 2012 into the successful year it became. Those ambassadors honored are Elyse Thibodeaux, Lucy Fields, David Derosier and Marcy Messer-Hudson.
Scot C. Schafer, incoming Ambassador Chairperson, presented a special award to Shirley Zimmerman, outgoing Ambassador Chairperson, for all of her hard work and dedication to the Bridge City Chamber of Commerce.