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The wait proved to be worth it.

Although inclement weather resulted in the Butler County Chamber of Commerce's annual banquet being postponed from its original late February d date until early March, dozens of residents came out and helped recognize several of their own during the March 3 ceremony held at the Butler County Event Center.

Mike Jones received the Founding Father Award and Lisa Stallbaum the Volunteer of the Year Award, while Erin Hotovy was also recognized for his service as the previous chamber president.

Butler County Chamber Executive Director Kelcie Keeling said the chamber was honored to recognize such outstanding members of the community.

“Mike Jones is a deserving recipient for the Founding Father Award,” Keeling said. “And Lisa is a true testament to what a volunteer is all about. I was excited to see her win, as well. And also, it was great to see the passing of the gavel to our prior president.”

Jones operates Jones Insurance Agency in David City and has many accomplishments to his name, such as starting the Breakers Youth Basketball program. He was instrumental in organizing the FCA chapter in Butler County. Jones is a leader of the Freemason lodge in David City and in the past was an active member of the Rotary Club of David City, the Teammates Mentoring Program of Butler County and serves on the Butler County Health Care Center Foundation board. In 1984, he served as president of the Butler County Chamber of Commerce.

Jones said he and almost didn’t attend the banquet on Sunday because he had just gotten back from his vacation in California. In fact, his plane landed at 4:30 p.m. right before the banquet, which started its social hour at 5.

“Well, these things are always unexpected ... Just humbled,” Jones said about the award. “Sometimes I think when they say Founding Father, it just means that you’re old.”

Stallbaum works full time at the Butler County Health Care Center as a dietary supervisor and part-time at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church. She is an active member of the Butler County Ambassadors, where she volunteers for many of its events and activities.

“Totally amazed, very happy,” Stallbaum said about the award. “It’s kind of the truth, I am involved in everything. I love volunteering and helping people. It’s just me, I guess.”

Hotovy manages the Ace Hardware store in David City. He served on the chamber’s board for several years and was chamber president before Kirsten Husmann took over. After a recent battle with cancer, he said he is happy to be in remission.

“It’s an honor to get to sit with all these people and work side by side with them because David City is incredible," Hotovy said of his work with the chamber.

The event featured a silent auction with about 50 items worth almost $4,600 in total. All money raised from the banquet is going toward supporting the chamber’s efforts. For entertainment, The Aquinas High School Show Choir performed. Keeling said the group was so popular that it might have them back again next year.

“I think it turned out great,” Keeling said of the entire evening.

Eric Schucht is a reporter for The Banner-Press. Reach him via email at eric.schucht@lee.net.

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Eric Schucht earned his bachelor's degree in journalism at the University of Oregon in 2018. He has written for The Cottage Grove Sentinel, The Creswell Chronicle, The Pacific Northwest Inlander and The Roseburg News-Review.

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