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Pilot Point Chamber Gala

By Tatiana Ambrosio

Staff Writer

Glitz, glam center stage at Chamber gala

Pilot Point Chamber Gala
Mayor Shea Dane-Patterson poses with Distinguished Citizen of the Year award recipient Justine Wollaston.

The Pilot Point Chamber Autumn Gala provided members and their guests an opportunity to celebrate 70 years of the organization’s efforts on Saturday evening.

The Chamber also recognized the Nonprofit of the Year, Business of the Year, New Business of the Year and Distinguished Citizen for 2021 at the evening at the Lonestar Lodge and Marina for an event catered by Nick’s Italian Restaurant.

“It’s been amazing. It’s been wonderful planning this event,” Chamber Vice President Shaun Mills said.

The Chamber, which has also been selling tickets for a gun raffle for weeks.

Gala guests were filling out last-moment tickets in the hopes that they would be called.

Pilot Point Chamber Gala

After the awards presentation, Mayor Shea Dane-Patterson drew all three of the winners’ names out, with two of the three walking up in case they could claim their new gun that night.

She called it a good celebration for the year and a half that have passed and said she was looking forward to next year.

The Lake Ray Roberts Rotary Club also honored first responders during the event.

Pilot Point Chamber Gala
Jimerson Adkins, left, poses with Judd Kearby, Chamber President.

“They go out of their way for the community, to make sure that we all know they have our best interest in mind,” said Abigail Allen, the Lake Ray Roberts Rotary Club president, as she presented the Pilot Point police and fire departments with their awards. “They will be there on our worst days.”

Allen spoke about both full departments.

“They both work so well together and care so much about each other,” Allen said. “So much so that they’re going to share a parking lot.”

Pilot Point Chamber Gala

Next up came the Nonprofit of the Year.

“Whether it’s through giving young people a chance to learn and hone skills, giving adults a chance to live out their dreams or providing an escape for its patrons, this nonprofit serves the people of Pilot Point and the surrounding area well,” Chamber President Judd Kearby read.

He presented that honor to Reece Sartain for the Pilot Point Opera House.

“Since this business opened, it has become a hub of activity and life for Pilot Point,” Kearby read about the New Business of the Year, which opened Aug. 1, 2020.

“I’m unbelievably honored, and I feel so accepted by this community,” said Jimerson Adkins owner of the Pilot Point Coffee House. “I have no words.”

Pilot Point Chamber Gala
Ronda Robinson moves to accept her award.

Ronda Robinson, the owner of Signal Signs, was also thrilled but shocked to have won.

“I feel totally surprised and amazed,” she said.

Edwards was welcomed back up to the front to take Kearby’s place behind the podium to present the Distinguished Citizen of the year for 2021 to Justine Wollaston.

“This Pilot Point resident makes an impression everywhere she goes,” read Dwayne Edwards, the Chamber’s 2019 Distinguished Citizen, as he presented.

“She’s quick to share her passion with what she does with everyone around her,” he continued.

His speech called attention to her efforts with the Garage Door Theater, area art and the Friends of the Pilot Point Library.

“Her work can be seen on the sides of buildings,” he said, referring to her many murals adorning the Square.

Pilot Point Chamber Gala
The crowd listens during the presentation of the Chamber's 2021 awards.

Like Robinson and Adkins, Wollaston was surprised by the award.

“It feels absolutely fabulous. They all kept the secret,” she said, referring to her friends.

Gradually “becoming aware that she would be receiving the honor,” Wollaston said, “was absolutely astonishing.”

“It’s a great privilege; it’s an honor,” she said. “It’s a great town and it’s wonderful to be part of it.”

Managing Editor Abigail Allen contributed to this report.


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