Perry Chamber banquet honors community volunteers, raises fireworks funds

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Darrell and Ernie Bever of Minburn were awarded the 2015 Volunteers of the Year Award. The Bevers are the founders and longtime managers of the Clothes Closet, a free-clothing outlet at the First Christian Church in Perry. They are giving up the day-to-day management of the outlet that for many year has brought so much Christian charity to Perry's neediest citizens. The Bevers received the awarded from Perry City Clerk Corey Eastman, left.

Perry-Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Bob Wilson played master of ceremonies Tuesday night at the chamber’s annual dinner and awards banquet as an overflow crowd filled the Spring Valley Ballroom of the Hotel Pattee in downtown Perry for a buffet meal, awards ceremony and fundraising auctions.

The 2015 Spirit of Perry Award was won by Perry Hy-Vee Store Director Darin Schoop, who also took the opportunity to announce he will soon wed his fiancée, Kim. Schoop shared the Spirit of Perry Award with Perry Hy-Vee Events Manager and longtime Perry promoter Larry Vodenik.

Perry City Administrator Butch Niebuhr took home the Citizen of the Year Award in recognition of his many years of tireless work on behalf of the Perry community. Niebuhr and his wife, Denise, were also celebrating their 36th wedding anniversary Tuesday night, so their pleasures were double.

The audience of about 150 then rose to its feet in applause for Darrell and Ernie Bever of Minburn, winners of the 2015 Volunteers of the Year Award. The Bevers are the founders and longtime managers of the Clothes Closet, a free-clothing outlet at the First Christian Church in Perry. They are giving up the day-to-day management of the outlet that for many year has brought so much Christian charity to Perry’s neediest citizens.

Assistant City Administrator Sven Peterson presented the Young Professional of Perry (YPOP) Award to Samantha Smith in recognition of her work in building YPOP into an active organization rivaling similar metro groups in numbers and variety.

Wilson also introduced the chamber’s executive board, board of directors and office staff as well as the leaders of three new Chamber bureaus, for marketing, business development and programming and events.

The Perry-Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Board includes President Samantha Smith, Raccoon Valley Radio personality; Vice President Darin Schoop, Hy-Vee store director; Treasurer Susie Moorhead, finance officer for the city of Perry;, and Past Chamber President Mark Powell, attorney with the firm of Finneseth, Dalen and Powell.

The Perry-Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors includes Lee Coons, owner of Raccoon Valley Bicycle Co.; Misty VonBehren, librarian at the Perry Public Library; Kelsey Hughes, marketing officer at Raccoon Valley Bank; David Wright, owner of Medicap Pharmacy; Jenny Hornsby, Dallas County Hospital public relations manager; Vince Sturm, advisor with Generations Wealth Advisors; Jay Hartz, owner of the Hotel Pattee; and Patricia Saulsbury Snyder, published of the Perry Chief, Dallas County News and Northeast Dallas County Record.

Wilson also gave special recognition and much gratitude to past Chamber President Mark Powell, unpaid intern Andy Wolter, recently departed Chamber Programming Director Chrissy VonBehren Danger and longtime Chamber Office Administrator Julie Scheib. Wilson said his own work and the overall effectiveness of the Chamber programs depend crucially on the organizations paid and volunteer staff members.

With the close of the awards ceremony, the annual event turned to raising funds for the 2015 Perry Fourth of July Fireworks program. Dr. Tom Burkgren, executive director of the American Association of Swine Veterinarians and owner of Midwest Best Auction Services, called the bidding on a dozen donated pies, raising about $1,500 for the summertime event.

Tuesday night’s small auction gave a foretaste of the on-air pie auction to be held on 1310 KDLS radio Thursday morning.

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