Rodney Keike, Debbie Robinson Quitman man and woman of year

Quitman woman of the year Debbie Robinson
Quitman woman of the year Debbie Robinson
(Monitor photo by Larry Tucker)

Close to 300 people filled Carroll Green Civic Center for the annual Quitman Chamber of Commerce banquet. The 2020 Vision theme brought together many chamber members representing businesses throughout Quitman.

Emcee Patrick Swindle from UT Health Quitman entertained and kept the evening going at a brisk pace. The awards structure was changed from in the past. The chamber board honored a Man and Woman of the Year replacing Citizen of the Year. Other subtle changes were made helping the banquet move along at a quicker rate.

This year’s Man of the Year went to Quitman City Administrator Rodney Kieke. Kieke is busy as the interim president of Quitman Rotary, a member of the Quitman-Lake Fork Kiwanis Club, serves as president and sports commissioner of Quitman Youth Foundation and is on the Wood County Airport Board and the Wood County Economic Development Commission. He is also the vice president of the Wood County Baseball-Softball Association and is active in the East Texas Youth Basketball League.

Woman of the Year went to Debbie Robinson who has been the chief executive officer and general manager of Wood County Electric Co-op since 1996. She is a past director on the Quitman Chamber of Commerce and has been director of the Wood County Economic Development Commission. Robinson also has served as the Wood County A&M Club muster chair for many years and is a member of Wood County Aggie Moms. She has been an active member of Quitman Pilot Club several years and serves as the president. 

Other award winners during the evening were Community Service, Bryan Oakes, Quitman ISD Athletic Director; Young Professional of the Year, Alayana Moffett, Regional Sales Manager of Live Oak Healthcare, owns Arc Force Metal Fabricating in Quitman with her husband and served on the chamber served on the chamber board in the past as representative of People’s Telephone; Clergy of the Year, Jarrod Yeager, as the full-time associate pastor and student minister/worship leader at Faith Baptist Church; Community Spirit Award, Carley Tucker, member of Wood County Old Settlers Reunion Board, active at First United Methodist Church, chair of Quitman Zoning and Planning Commission, and vice president of Quitman Friends of the Library.

Educator of the Year went to Quitman Ag Science instructor Brant Lee. Lee’s students have won statewide honors, and he is a board member of the Ag Teachers Association of Texas, vice president of Area 6 Ag Teachers Association and is a tenacious advocate of agriculture in general and FFA in particular.

Dr. Scott Olson was named the Medical Professional of the Year. Not only does Olson have a successful general practice, he started a multi-specialty clinic which includes physical therapy in Quitman. 

A new award this year, First Responder of the Year, went to Quitman Police Chief Kelly Cole. Cole also is the founder and an instructor at East Texas Police Academy in Quitman. Cole’s entire 36 year career in law enforcement has been in Wood County.

The Small Business of the Year was won by S’more Trails, a men’s and women’s outdoor apparel boutique, while Large Business of the Year went to True Value Hardware.

Chamber President Neal Duncan recognized Speakeasy Coffee Shop owner Kelly Kieke as the Quitman Chamber Board Member of the Year.

Chamber Secretary Brandi Box said the silent auction this year brought in just short of $2,600.

“I want to thank everyone who donated to the silent auction this year and to those who bid and won the different items,” Box said. “Without the support of everyone who donated we would not have been as successful as we were.”