Jessica Woods receives Terry Davis Award


HIGHLANDS– The Chamber of Commerce presented awards to leaders in the community at their monthly luncheon last week. The prestigious Terry Davis Award, for exemplary community service, went to Jessica Woods for her efforts with the Chamber, Jamboree, and Partners In Education, to mention a few of her achievements.

Other awards for service were: Outstanding Volunteer Firefighter, Janette Thompson; Outstanding Deputy Constable, Constable Ken Jones; Outstanding Sheriff’s Deputy, Deputy Ted Douthit; and Business/Organization of the Year, Kostka Auto Body Repair, David Kostak owner. The luncheon was held at the Highlands Community Center, with president Phillip Morris. The featured speaker for the event was Traci Wheeler, executive director of the Baytown Chamber. Her talk was on membership drives for the chambers, and also the role the chamber plays in the community.

The Terry Davis Award has been given for the last 28 years, to a person who works for the betterment of the community selflessly. See inside box for details on Terry Davis’ life.

Jessica Woods, recipient of this year’s award, is known for her work as president of the Chamber, co-chair of the Highlands Jamboree, and chairperson of the Chamber’s Partners In Education program. She has held each of these positions for several years, and continues to serve the community today.

In her emotional acceptance speech, Jessica said the award was especially important to her because her father had received it previously in 2006, and she was honored to follow his example. Jessica Woods is co-owner with her father of Rainbow Jewelry and Loan on Main Street.

Traci Wheeler spoke about her 38 years with the Baytown Chamber. She noted that chambers are non-profit, with no government support, but that many people don’t know that.

The purpose of a chamber, she said, was to “solve community problems, and bring about improvements.” A chamber can also be the will and conscience of a community.

Wheeler said that in contemplating a membership drive, a chamber should consider three aspects: one, relations; two, retention; and three, recruitment. This changes the traditional drive from simply trying to “sell and sign” up new members.

New members should be told the benefits of membership. They can be informed of the program of work of the chamber, and told what is in it for them. They should be shown an annual report, and informed of workshops, seminars, crime prevention, and quality of life.

As part of a membership drive, board members will be asked to sell 3 new members. the annual campaign will include a telemarketing session, 3 hours long per volunteer. The group will be broken into teams, with captains and 10 members per team, who will compete. Bells, whistles, clown noses and more make this a fun event, she said, and it is all over in one and one-half days. She said that this can be a very successful method for building the membership of the organization, and not a burden on any of the volunteers.

Most of all, she said, members should be “thanked” for their participation in the chamber. They should be contacted regularly by the chamber, with opportunities to build their business.