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Irby named Person of the Year

BEACH CITY—Close to 300 people braved cold wind and rain Tuesday to honor those businesses and individuals that have striven to make the West Chambers County-area a better place to live and work.
This week those volunteers and businesses were honored at the annual awards banquet hosted by the West Chambers County Chamber of Commerce. In a departure from banquets of recent years, this year’s committee went with a different atmosphere for their celebration.

The R.W. Johnson Airport provided the atmosphere in Beach City. The chamber had decorated one of the hangers like an old country barn in keeping with their theme “A County Celebration of Soaring Achievement.”
The top honor the chamber can bestow each year is that of Person of the Year.
This year’s recipient is W.E. “Buddy” Irby. A longtime public servant, Irby served as commissioner on the west side of the county for years guiding the area through a period of unprecedented growth.
The chamber also recognized two area businesses that have stood out in 2006. Without the efforts of businesses, both large and small, many of the projects the chamber hosts each year could not succeed. This year’s corporate Business of the Year went to Enterprise Products, while Barbers Hill Bank was named Small Business of the Year. Year in and year out both businesses have not only donated funds for chamber projects but have encouraged their employees to volunteer and be active in the chamber and community.
Tuesday night each of the cities within West Chambers County had the opportunity to brag about one particular individual who has gone “above and beyond the call of duty” for their community.
John Holloway was named the Cove Volunteer of the Year for his two-plus decades of service to the fire department and EMS.
The Mont Belvieu Volunteer of the Year is Patsy Battle. Battle was honored for her work with the seniors’ center, as well as other local service organizations.
Beach City Mayor Guido Persiani presented Rita Standridge with their town’s Volunteer of the Year award for her work in drawing awareness to the need for a separate ZIP code for West Chambers County.