The Greater Durand Area Chamber of Commerce Inc. hosted its annual dinner event at the Durand VFW Post 2272 on Thursday, June 17 to bring recognition to a few individuals and/or organizations that have made large community contributions.
The 2020 Citizen of the Year award went to Barbara Dingman who has been active in the community for much of her life. Dingman has been involved through Durand Area Schools, Durand Athletic Boosters, Operation Freedom, Voice of Democracy and the popular Annual Chicken Barbecue. She served as chairperson of the Railroad Days Parade for more than a decade and co-chaired the Cancer Woman’s Golf Classic. Dingman is currently serving as the Durand VFW Auxiliary president.
Graff Chevrolet of Durand was chosen as the Business of the Year. Graff was recognized for numerous sponsorship contributions in the community toward enhancing the lives of area residents.
The 2020 Community Organization honor went to Burns Grange for efforts in community philanthropy focusing on the arts, politics and farming. Burns Grange dates back to 1873 and has been an active group in the area for those 147 years.
Volunteers of the Year awards went to Kent and Terri Edwards, along with Ted and Becky Hamilton. Kent and Terry Edwards have been involved with Railroad Days for over 30 years. Kent is involved in overseeing all aspects of the festival. He has worked at the Annual Chicken Barbecue for several years and began a youth wrestling program with Steve Perrin. Terry is the Railroad Days Committee secretary, putting the booklet together every year. She is also a Durand Lioness.
Ted Hamilton is the Railroad Days vice president, working alongside Kent Edwards. He works with the Annual Chicken Barbecue and is involved with the Lions Club, the Byron FFA Alumni and has judged the Railroad Days Royalty pageant. Becky is the District Governor for the Lions and is involved with Railroad Days and in school activities and other local events.
Speakers for the dinner event included Durand City Manager Cameron Horvath and Justin Horvath, President/CEO of the Shiawassee Economic Development Partnership.
Justin later expressed how pleased he was with the turnout. “There had to have been over 100 people there and everyone was happy to be out and about and enjoy the event. I really appreciated the opportunity the Chamber offered for me to be there and offer an economic update. There is a lot of possibilities happening in Durand and the Durand Chamber has done some truly good work for Durand.” He stated he enjoys collaborating with the Durand Chamber and is impressed with the positive work that was accomplished throughout the pandemic.
Executive Director Candyce Wolsfeld shared she was grateful to the VFW for the use of its facility and also to Riverside Market for donating the desserts. “I think it went really well,” she shared. “Someone told me it was the most fun they’d had at an annual dinner in a long time.”
The next dinner event is planned for March 24, 2022.