The Greater Marshall Chamber of Commerce and the Marshall Economic Development Corporation hosted their annual business luncheon and expo on Thursday, presenting seven awards for local businesses and employees.
“Each year we are so excited to honor those in our community who go above and beyond at work and work hard to make our community a better place,” said Chamber Director Stacia Runnels.
This year’s honorees are divided into seven categories, including Small, Large and Industrial Business of the Year; Employee and Owner of the Year; and the program’s Legacy of the Year Award.
This year’s honorees include Kelsie Hopkins of the Harrison County Farm Living Extension Office for Employee of the Year and Kelli Kirkland of the Harrison County Probation Department for Boss of the Year.
Business recognition for this year’s event also included Austin Bank of Marshall being named Small Business of the Year, Taco Reyes being named Large Business of the Year and Bear Creek Smokehouse being named Industry of the Year.
Nonprofit of the Year was awarded to the Marshall Rotary Club.
This year’s Legacy Award also went to Martha Josey of Josey Ranch. Josey is a world-renowned barrel race champion, and she and her husband RE Josey have won numerous competitions, including placements as Olympians.
The couple also runs Josey Ranch, the oldest and oldest rodeo school in the world in Marshall, where they have spent decades training the next generation of barrel racing champions.
“Martha Josey is a true legacy and we are proud to be here today to honor her,” Runnels said.
During Thursday’s event, community members also heard from MEDCO Director Rush Harris and Harrison County Judge Chad Sims.
“It’s going well,” Harris said, “and it’s a community that’s bouncing back.”
Harris discussed the work MEDCO has been doing over the past year, including the grants and other incentive programs they created to encourage new business and industry opportunities in Marshall.
He also discussed the need for workforce training, emphasizing that there are currently more Marshall jobs than jobs for qualified people.
Sims also discussed the progress the county has made in the last year, encouraging community members to be kind to one another.
“Our county is doing great, and I can tell you we’re doing fine,” Sims said. “How do we keep it going? In kind words.
Jose Tequila’s hosted Thursday’s lunch event. The Chamber of Commerce and MEDCO participate in the annual fair along with dozens of other local businesses and nonprofits.