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Kovatch banks GOACC Citizen Award


Last updated 12/9/2019 at Noon

Photo: Chris Kovatch of Bridge City Bank, second from left, is presented as 2019 Citizen of the Year at Monday night's Greater Orange Area Chamber of Commerce Annual Banquet at the Shahan Center at Lamar State College Orange. Presenting the award and a Congressional certificate from U.S. Rep. Brian Babin are Ida Schossow, Gisela Houseman and Maureen McAllister.

Record Photo: Dave Rogers

Dave Rogers

For The Record

Chris Kovatch has been the volunteer’s volunteer around town and Monday night he was honored for it, as 2019 Citizen of the Year.

The award was announced and presented at the Annual Banquet of the Greater Orange Area Chamber of Commerce held at the Shahan Center on the downtown campus of Lamar State College Orange.

“He’s a hard-working individual with a heart of gold,” presenter Gisela Houseman said of Kovatch, who works for Bridge City Bank in Orange when he’s not volunteering.

Earlier in Monday’s program, he and Orange city councilman Brad Childs were presented Chairperson of the Year Award for their work on the Orange Grove project.

The project to promote pride and beautification in Orange County sells and delivers concrete orange sculptures to display outside businesses and homes.

Kovatch is a member of the Orange Lions Club, actively involved with its annual carnival, works with Habitat for Humanity, is vice president of the Orangefield Music Boosters, dedicated to his church, Shangri-La, United Way of Orange County and Orange County Disaster Rebuild.

“The organizations I work with and everybody that’s a part of them, that’s what I love so much about Orange. It is the people,” Kovatch said.

“Everybody’s so focused on making Orange great. It is already great. I’m so honored to receive this. Thanks for letting me do a little small part.”

DOW Sabine River Operations received the Business Community Service Award.

The company was cited by incoming Chamber Board President Maureen McAllister as an example of the Chamber’s 2020 theme: Stronger Together.

McAllister cited Monday’s Feed The Funnel activity put on by DOW with the help of West Orange-Stark students and community volunteers. Together, employees, students and volunteers packaged 4,000 holiday meals in 2 ½ hours for students and the community.

“When I came here, the first thing my people told me was we want to serve our community,” said Jean Algate, the site manager, in receiving the award.

Back To School Orange County received the Non-Profit Community Service Award. The project began in 2013 at the Victory Life Church under Associate Pastor Steven Burks and has grown to deliver school supplies to more than 1,000 students a year

Steven Burks, right, represents Back To School Orange County, which was honored Monday night with 2019's Non-Profit Community Service Award from the Greater Orange Area Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber's Ida Schossow, left, Maureen McAllister and Lynae Sanford made the presentation. Record Photo: Dave Rogers


Kacey Burnitt was named Ambassador of the Year and Kristen Placette and Cindy Mims were named Lifetime Ambassadors.

In addition to regular awards, each winner received a Congressional Certificate from the office of U.S. Rep. Brian Babin.

Chamber President Ida Schossow passed the gavel and Chairman’s jacket to McAllister at the beginning of Monday’s program.

McAllister, a past chairman, explained that International Paper’s Ed Barr was set to be the 2020 chairman but he was transferred from Orange by his employer.

Kovatch is chairman elect for 2020, with Johnny Trahan vice chairman for governmental affairs, Steve Jones vice chairman for special projects, Jessica Hill vice chairman for economic development, Tina Romero vice president of membership services, Stacey Brister, vice chairman of education and David May vice chairman and treasurer.

Other directors are Lanie Brown, Trey Smith, Erica Edgerly, Dr. Suzonne Crockett, Jon Iles, Amy Peevey, Kim Dickerson, Tim Schossow, Bryan Burtsfield, Leslie Uzzle, Austin Mellen, Theresa Van Meter, Larry Spears, Jan Zuniga, Craig Lemons, Kristen Placette and Travis Williams.

Outgoing directors Lynae Sanford, John Gothia, Robbie Hood, Daniel Moreaux, Jim Malain, Paul Dickerson and Dr. Rickie Harris were also recognized.


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