Chamber names Bottley Citizen of the Year; Jerry Hughes recognized with Lifetime Achievement Award

Published 12:16 am Sunday, December 16, 2018

By Dawn Burleigh

The Orange Leader


Building Better Tomorrows is the slogan for the coming year for the Greater Orange Area Chamber of Commerce.

Orangefield Superintendent Dr. Stephen Patterson, the incoming chairman, talked about how a question his father posed was a driving force in his life.

Passing the gavel: Chamber Chairman Tad McKee passes the gavel to incoming Chairman Orangefield Superintendent Dr. Stephen Patterson.

“I would tell him about these great things I saw and he would always answer, ‘Why not you?’ It was a great question and a driving question throughout my life,” Patterson said. “So why not Orange?”

Patterson pointed out that a group of people were discussing Chemical row and someone said, ‘why not Orange?’

“It was people sitting on a back porch who asked “Why not Orange for national Fishing Tournaments?’ and the first year Bassmaster was here, we broke attendance records. All because someone said, ‘Why not Orange?’”

Gulf Coast Cajun Club received the Non-Profit Community Service Award.

“They said we couldn’t make it in Orange,” Rusty Benoit said. “We have been here 13 years.”

Gulf Coast Cajun Club helps raise money for several non-profits such as Special Angels Rodeo, as well as giving out scholarships.

Business Community Service Award went to Chevron Phillips Chemical Company.

The company has donated $1 million in construction throughout the area including Houston, Pasadena, Port Arthur and Orange. It also donated $10,000 to Shangri La and to Orangefield Scholl District for Hurricane Relief Efforts.

“We give back because we have been given so much,” Plant Manager Craig Lemons said. “We will try to earn this every year. Thank you.”

An award not presented every year, the Lifetime Achievement Award was given to Jerry Hughes.

*Lifetime Achievement Award: Debbie Hughes accepts the Lifetime Achievement Award for her father, Jerry Hughes. Hughes could not attend due to health reasons.

“We give this award when the opportunity presents itself,” Shawn Sparrow said before announcing the honoree.

Hughes, who is homebound due to health, joined the chamber in 1977.

“He truly loves Orange County and the city of Orange,” Sparrow said.

Debbie Hughes, Jerry’s daughter, had tears in her eyes as she accepted the plaque.

As the list of many reasons for selecting the Citizen of the Year were read, the crowd glanced around the room while attempting to guess the recipient. Maureen McAllister did an exceptional job of hiding his identity until the last moment, Russell Bottley did not realize it was him.

*Citizen of the Year: Russell Bottley is surprised when he is named Citizen of the Year during the Greater Orange Area Chamber of Commerce banquet Thursday night at the Dr. Shahan Events Center.

“I love Orange,” Bottley said. “I look forward to serving Orange as long as God allows.”

“It is people like you who make this a better place,” David Jones said. “We are blessed to have you in this community.”

A two-time cancer survivor, Bottley has a strong desire to give back to the community.

Bottley is also on the Orange County Long Term Recovery Board as Vice President and part of the Mardi Gras Krewe Krewe de Onyx.

The Krewe was at the City Wide Family day held at Navy Park City Park early this year and was giving away backpacks and school supplies for school-age children.

He volunteered for years before officially becoming a coach with the school district.