Troup Chamber awards excellence at annual banquet

Apr. 22—The Troup Chamber of Commerce hosted its annual awards banquet Thursday, honoring standouts in the community. The unofficial theme could easily have been community means family, as remarks by several individuals throughout the evening alluded to the feeling of family within the small town of Troup.

The Business of the Year was awarded to Harry's Building Materials.

"Harry's Building Material continues year in and year out to bring customers to Troup from all over East Texas," said presenter Barbara Barton. "Friendly and knowledgeable service, a vast selection of products and a sturdy reputation has made Harry's a staple when it comes to building materials."

The Troup location of Harry's Building Materials was recently enlarged to 12,000 square feet. Other improvements include an increased selection of items, an outdoor building for materials, a new digital sign and the purchase of property for additional parking. Harry's Building Materials employs 20 people.

The Chamber chose Tammy Jones as its Citizen of the Year.

Jones, who has served as Troup ISD Superintendent since 2018, was lauded for her work both at the school and within the community. Under her leadership, a district police department was established.

"Tammy served as president of the Troup Rotary Club, has been a food pantry volunteer, is a member of the Troup Women's Civic Organization and is vice president of the Troup Chamber of Commerce," Barton said.

The Joe Layne Fanioy Community Builder Award was presented to Doug and Cindy Steele, of Steele's Feed and Seed.

"Long before I knew Troup for any other reason, there was Steele's," said Suzanne Loudamy, Troup Chamber Executive Director.

She said generations of people in East Texas were likely to mention Steele's Feed and Seed as what they thought of when they thought about Troup.

Loudamy said the couple are always willing to provide donations for student and local events.

"That's family," she said.

Joe McElroy presented the Troup Independent School District's Lifetime Achievement Award to Ava Johnson.

"She and her late husband Cliff have been very loving to all the children in the Troup community," McElroy said. "She has truly been a blessing to our community and to our school."

Johnson spent 40 years in education, 32 of those at Troup Middle School. She has been den mother and team mom for many of Troup's youth. She managed the concession stand for the Youth Sports Organization and formed Troup Travelers, allowing students to take amazing trips. Johnson, now retired, continues to be involved in her church.

"I have enjoyed my time in Troup and do call Troup home," Johnson said. "God has been good to me. I had wonderful mentors. Some are here; some have left us. There are tons of people here I worked with, kids I've taught. School became my family."

TISD Superintendent Tammy Jones presented the Teacher of the Year awards to the following:

—Amy Molnari, Elementary Teacher of the Year

—Samantha Kraus, Middle School Teacher of the Year

—Jones Ard, Jr., District Teacher of the Year

—Amanda Keith, Paraprofessional of the Year

Additional awards were presented to those who excelled in their respective departments within the city.

These were:

—Lauren Smart, Municipal Employee of the Year

—Nathan Brown, Police Officer of the Year

—Bracey Cover, Firefighter of the Year

The first scholarships of the Troup Chamber were awarded during the banquet, with four students receiving a $500 scholarship each. These included Katlyn Carter Esmeralda Gonsalez, Cayson Jester and Corgan Hewitt.

A live auction was conducted for a handful of items which raised $2,400 for future scholarships.

Loudamy summed up the evening.

"The dinner was excellent, the room and hearts were full and wallets were generous," she said. "It was exciting to see the National Honor Society students serving through the evening, learning first-hand, what community is all about. A huge thank you to everyone who made tonight a huge success."