Scott Berry, right, receives the Citizen of the Year Award from Jason Watson at Thursday St. Mary Chamber banquet. Berry would also hand Watson the gavel representing his new office as Chamber board chairman.
Patterson State Bank Chairman Bill Marin speaks Thursday after the bank was named Business of the Year at the Chamber's banquet Thursday.
Assistant District Attorney Anthony Saleme installs Jason Watson, facing camera, as the new chairman of the board of the St. Mary Chamber of Commerce during its banquet Thursday. More photos will appear Monday.
The Chamber's big night: Patterson State Bank, Berry among honorees
CHARENTON — Patterson State Bank was honored as the Business of the Year and outgoing Chamber board Chairman Scott Berry was named Citizen of the Year on Thursday at the St. Mary Chamber banquet at the Cypress Bayou Casino and Hotel.
Patterson State Bank was praised by presenter Patrice Williams because it has “endured the changing economy and still consistently demonstrates a commitment to the community through involvement and participation. …”
Bill Marin, the bank’s chairman, noted that the bank has continued through more than 90 years.
“All of us have challenges to face,” Marin said. “We’ll do a good job. We’ll get through it.”
Berry is the managing partner of Omni Waste Management in Patterson. He served as chairman of the Chamber board last year and will continue on the board as past chairman this year.
His successor, Jason Watson, said the Citizen of the Year Award recognizes “a citizen in St. Mary Parish who over a period of time has consistently demonstrated excellence in professional and community leadership, has made, or is making, significant contributions to the welfare of the community through involvement and participation and has given freely of their time and energy for the community betterment.”
The President’s Award went to former state Rep. Sam Jones.
Tammie Moore of South Louisiana Community College noted that Jones has served as mayor of Franklin, worked with the Blanco administration in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and this month completed his third term in the Louisiana House.
“I forgot we did all that,” Jones said.
Jones did bring up one part of his resume that wasn’t on the list: working for the St. Mary Sheriff’s Office. During that time, he said, he met a young veteran named Blaise Smith, who is now sheriff.
“We’re the original Smith and Jones,” he said.
He also memorialized former Gov. Kathleen Blanco, who died of cancer last year.
“I loved her,” Jones said. “She was very much part of the fabric here.”
Kristal Hebert accepted the Non-Profit of the Year Award on behalf of St. Mary ARC, which trains people with disabilities and developmental challenges to enter the workforce.
“Wouldn’t it be a better world if we could work together to achieve our goals the way they do?” Hebert said.
Lacey Fonseca, interpreter at the Chitimacha Museum, was named Hospitality Employee of the Year. Fonseca wasn’t present because she was teaching a class at Chez Hope.
“Her personality, knowledge, passion and love for the tribe and the area makes visitors feel welcome,” said presenter Tiger Verdin.
Franklin Mayor Eugene Foulcard, who will preside over the city’s bicentennial celebration this year, received the Virginia Tyler Guillotte Award.
The award “recognizes an individual that stands ready to accept any challenge and has the unique talent of motivating others,” Verdin said.
Berry presented the Administrative Assistant of the Year Award to Laura Meadows, the longtime assistant to state Sen. Bret Allain.
“The recipient of this award is one that sometimes goes unnoticed but continues to go above and beyond the normal duties to ensure that each business day runs smoothly,” Berry said.
The Chamber 2020 officers were installed. They are Watson as chairman; Raymond Price as vice chairman; Alyssa Cart as treasurer; and Berry as past chairman.