Awarded: Chamber gala draws a crowd

The Yukon Chamber of Commerce hit the jackpot Friday during its annual gala and auction.

The annual event, which is a fundraiser for the Chamber, drew about 280 people to The Palace Event Center, west of Yukon.

“It was awesome. It was a time to relax and have some fun,” said Pam Shelton, the Chamber’s CEO.

This year’s event included a casino that featured blackjack, roulette and craps.

Play money won at the casino could be used to purchase chances for a prize.

In addition, a silent auction featured dozens of baskets.

“The silent auction went extremely well,” Shelton said.

Overall, she said the event was a huge success.

“Everyone had a good time,” she said.

The auction and casino were only part of the fun. The gala also honored several citizens and businesses for contributions to the Chamber and to the community.

In addition, David Bloom accepted the Chamber gavel from Judy Austin as the organization’s president for 2018.

Bloom highlighted many of the successes of 2017, but also looked forward to what is to come in 2018 and beyond.

“In 2018, it will be very exciting to see the redevelopment of the old Chevrolet dealership that will be The Angle and what that will bring to Yukon. We also are blessed to have a wonderful school district. Yukon Public Schools has been voted as one of the top workplaces to work for the past two years in a row. I believe that is because we have great teachers, principals and administrators. …

“When people look at Yukon, they look at our school buildings that are top notch and we will be breaking ground on a new one soon,” Bloom said.

Bloom also discussed projects that have been accomplished following the selection of Shelton as chief executive officer in March following the death of longtime CEO Kinlee Farris.

Those include the conversion of Snyder’s grocery into 10 West Main and the relighting of the Yukon Mill.

“We have experience record growth in the Chamber and our membership is at an all-time high,” he said.

One of the biggest successes was the Santa Bucks promotion, which generated more than 77,500 tickets. Bloom said that number represents more than $750,000 in sales generated through the promotion for Yukon.

“Where are we headed in 2018? I believe we are headed for another all-time high, continued growth by adding new members and empowering our members by encouraging our community to invest in Yukon,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Chamber honored several people in the community for their endeavors. City Manager Jim Crosby was selected as the H.B. Frank Citizen of the Year; the winner of the T.J. Lowery Humanitarian Award was Teresa Gray, R.N.; the volunteer of the year was David Goodwin of RCB Bank; the ambassador of the year was Lynn Cook; the small business of the year was Baker Photo, and the large business was BancFirst.

Crosby said he was surprised and honored by the award.

“It was a big surprise. I couldn’t tell everyone how much I appreciated it. I’ve always wanted to make a difference in the community. … I love the community, and I love being here,” Crosby said.

Crosby is in the midst of his second tenure as the Yukon city manager. He returned in 2016 after the city became entangled in a financial disaster. At the time, there was less than $3,000 remaining in the city’s reserve funds.

In a little more than 18 months, that fund has returned to more than $3 million.

Gray is the vice president of patient services and the chief nursing officer at Integris Canadian Valley Hospital.

Goodwin was honored for his work with a leadership program at Yukon High School.

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