Please join us in honoring the following outstanding Hopkins County citizens and organizations. These individual and organizations are so incredibly deserving:
Large Business of the Year
Our Large Business of the Year may be large but they think small – as in taking care of each individual customer and each community in which they thrive.
We could – and will – talk about their customer service and strong financial impact they have in Hopkins County. But, first, we need to talk about what this company – and its employees do FOR Hopkins County.
We could talk about how many youth programs they sponsor – basically all of them, but even more importantly are the number of their employees who coach, umpire and manage teams in those programs. Their numbers in the county’s civic organizations are unparalleled.
If you have a cause, they support it; if you have a program, they are behind it; if you have an organization, they are a part of it — usually financially, in manpower and with encouragement. Hopkins County truly would not be what it is without this company. It is a community partner, giving back to the communities it serves.
Employees this year divided into small groups and each group adopted a non-profit organization and family that needed help because they love the community in which they live and will work to make it better.
If you have a child in the SSISD, you are aware of this company’s partnership with Chad’s Media that allows you to literally have a digital scrapbook of your children’s activities.
This company, and I’ll go ahead and tell you it’s a bank because it’s about to become obvious, was chartered in 1927 and a decade later, it cemented a strong relationship with the farmers in Hopkins County by helping them turn cotton fields into dairy farms as the Carnation milk plant opened. That relationship with the agricultural community remains strong today.
Fast forward almost 100 years, and this bank helped process dozens of PPP loans to secure jobs for their friends and to help businesses in town stay open during the pandemic.
Today, in addition to Hopkins County, it serves Greenville, Wolfe City, Commerce, Rockwall and McKinney. Additionally, it owns and operates Galyean Insurance Agency and Alliance Bank Financial Services.
If it isn’t obvious who the Large Business of the Year for 2021 is, it’s Alliance Bank!
Citizen of the Year
Maybe the Citizen of the Year Award should be changed to the Difference Maker Award, because that’s the hallmark of this year’s award winner. She makes a difference!
She is charitable, generous, energetic, selfless and tireless. She is one of the unique volunteers that once she says “Yes,” she will move forward and usually take others along for the ride.
She has a heart for children, mothers, veterans and the sanctity of every life. She joined the Heart of Hope Board of Directors in 2016 and was chairman for three years in which she was “the most hands on board member in the history of Heart of Hope.” She made it her mission to make sure young mothers never felt alone.
She has also served as a volunteer advocate for children in foster care with Lake Country CASA, and then was made supervisor of CASA volunteers. She worked tirelessly advocating for abused and neglected children, our most vulnerable population. She was respected by attorneys, CPS, parents and others during her time with CASA.
She was also involved in Backpack Buddies, a program to feed school children on weekends.
She was the initiator of Chicks for Charity, which was sprouted in 2011 as 8 women having dinner together. She envisioned them turning their monthly dinners into fund-gathering events. By recruiting others with a like mind, Chicks for Charity donated well over $100,000 to 501(c)3 charities right here in Hopkins County over an 8-year span.
This wouldn’t have happened without this person and her drive and determination to make a difference. If you look around, you will see her imprint all over this community.
For all that she has done for children, mothers and charities, she is probably most visible in the veteran’s community. She is treasurer on the Hopkins County Veterans Memorial Board and partly because of her efforts, we have an annual Freedom Ball honoring and celebrating our military veterans.
And she is the very reason that the mobile Vietnam wall – The Wall That Heals – came to Sulphur Springs last spring. The wall is mobile, but more than that, it is moving. Most who visited were moved to silence; many were moved to tears.
Having the Wall come to Sulphur Springs would have been unattainable without her dedicated commitment as she envisioned it coming here and then tirelessly supervised every aspect concerning fundraising, volunteers, tour guides and counselors for the families and survivors of Vietnam. Her efforts and sacrifices of time and energy brought literally thousands of visitors to Sulphur Springs.
Mandy Kennedy has made a difference and continues making a difference and that is why she is the 2021 Hopkins County Citizen of the Year.
Small Business of the Year
Seventy-six years ago, a small business opened with three trucks and a commitment to the best quality products and service available.
Apparently, that commitment stuck, because today that same company employs more than 100 people with an employee turnover rate of less than 5 percent.
That brand of service is instilled in the staff, who takes ownership of their role in all of the company’s jobs and in conducting business with honesty and integrity. In fact, the ownership’s business motto is God first, family second and business next. If you take care of the first two, then the rest will fall into place.
One employee said, “Every employee at each plant would tell you that this company is the best place to work.”
Ownership puts integrity in the forefront of their decisions. They provide first-class service and are family-oriented, plus have cutting edge equipment. Those are some of the reasons the company has expanded to serve the Northeast Texas area.
In the 70-plus years in business, the company boasts more than 10,000 happy clients.
This company participates in many community events and always donates to community efforts.
Owners Walt Gamblin and Brad Drake and the employees of Bell Concrete are the 2021 Small Business of the Year for Hopkins County.
Speeches provided by Hopkins County Chamber of Commerce. Photos by Taylor Nye & Hopkins County Chamber of Commerce.