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‘Uncle Steve’ Jones named Citizen of the Year

By Bobby Tingle

The Orange County Area Chamber of Commerce presented several awards last night at the Annual Awards Meeting for 2015.

Steve Jones, ‘Uncle Steve’, received The Citizen of the Year honors. Presenting the honor was 2014 recipient, Gisela Houseman, who spoke of his many years of service and achievement. Major Jones served with the Orange Police Department for 34 years before retiring in 2009. He has devoted countless hours of service at community events such as the Bass Masters tournaments, gumbo cook-offs, Christmas parades and Art in the Park, all while serving the community in local law enforcement. Steve was presented the award accompanied by his wife, Kay.   Overcome with emotion Jones accepted the award with some brief comments declaring his preference for behind the scenes activity. Jones was noted for postponing his retirement with the police force to ensure local communication links remained in operation during recent severe weather events that damaged communication equipment.

Receiving the gavel and the Chairman’s Jacket for 2016 was Maureen McAllister. Maureen will serve as Chairman of the Board for the next year and is an employee of Sabine Federal Credit Union. Outgoing Chairman, Dean Granger of Granger Chevrolet, passed the gavel to her.

Judy Jensen accepted the non-profit community service award on behalf of Orange Christian Services. Johnny Trahan made the presentation noting the thousands of volunteer hours of service, hundreds of families and individuals served and the many ways those in need receive help from this group.

Chad Havens of Bridgefield Electrical Services was presented the business community service award. Joe Love spoke of his service at events such as the Special Angels Rodeo, CASA rodeo and other events sponsored by Havens and his organization.

Tad McKee received the Chairperson of the Year award who attributed his success to the joint effort of other chamber members and staff.

The banquet was held at the Sunset Grove Country Club. Outgoing chairman Dean Granger encouraged those attending to ‘believe’ in Orange County. He outlined many community accomplishments such as Bass Masters and SALT fishing tournaments, increases in sales tax collections and programs such as The Slice of Orange County campaign designed to encourage shopping Orange County retailers first.