Kovatch named Citizen of the Year

Published 8:10 pm Tuesday, December 10, 2019

By Dawn Burleigh

The Orange Leader


Chris Kovatch, President of the Orange Lions Club, Greater Orange Area Chamber Ambassador, a columnist for The Orange Leader, volunteer with Habitat for Humanity, and family of six children, was named Citizen of the Year at the annual Chamber Banquet.

“I am completely humbled by being selected for this honor,” Kovatch said. “I truly love trying to help others and hope that my family and I are able to make positive impacts on those in our community.”
Kovatch said he was fortunate to be able to take his children with him so they too could understand the importance of giving back to the community.
“Orange is a great community to live in,” Kovatch said. “The people that live here are what makes it great. Whenever there is a need, there is someone ready to lend a hand. I count myself extremely fortunate to be a part of this great city.”

Kovatch was also recognized as his work along with City of Orange Council Member and business owner Brad Childs in their work in the Orange Grove project as Board Chair Person of the Year. The 1,000-pound concrete oranges are appearing throughout the county.

“Jacksonville has 335 tomatoes,” KOGT Gary Stelly said. “We need to beat that number.”

To date, 100 oranges have been ordered. 

Paperweight versions are also available or purchase at the chamber.

Maureen McAllister was presented with the passing of the gavel as she took the position as 2020 Chairman. She is stepping in to fill the position after Chairman Ed Barr with International Paper was transferred in November. 

The theme for the coming year is Stronger Together.

McAllister cited examples such as the Feed the Funnel event Monday morning as how working together we are stronger.

Ambassador Kacey Burnitt was named Ambassador of the Year. Ambassadors receive points for attending events and volunteering. A volunteer is to reach 300 points each year to maintain ambassador status. Burnitt went ‘above and beyond’ according to Outgoing Ambassador Chair Whitney Jones.

“Kacey accumulated 900 points,” Jones said.

Cindy Mims and Kristen Placette received Life Ambassador status for eight years of service.

Back To School was named as Non-Profit Community Service Award winner and Dow Chemical as the Business Community Service Award winner for 2019.