The Belton Chamber of Commerce’s annual awards ceremony awarded area community leaders from across northern Cass County.
The holiday-themed event was held Dec. 10 at Carnegie Village in Belton. Chamber director Kay Stanbarger and President Rick Dawson presided over the gathering.
During the event, three special awards from the chamber were given to Belton individuals who have made significant contributions to the community and chamber:
Kerrie O’Connor was given the chamber’s Award of Excellence. She was honored for her involvement with the Lions Club and Hope Haven, organizing local food drives, raising more than $2,000 for the KC Marathon, serving on the patient advisory board at Belton Regional Medical Center, and as a committee chair for Scout Pack No. 32.
“She’s put in endless hours and has a big heart,” Dawson said.
Jay Leipzig, director of community and economic development at the city of Belton, was recognized as the Outstanding Member of the Year award.
Leipzig has been a city employee since 2008.
“There are a lot of accomplishments Jay has done and he’s made a huge difference in our community in many, many ways,” Dawson said.
Peach Cunningham, executive director at Carnegie Village, was honored with the Business Person of the Year award.
Cunningham serves as the Prairie Elementary PTA president, an Autism/Asperger's Resource board member and president of Farmer’s House.
“I have worked with her personally...she is well-deserving,” Dawson said.
During the event, the following businesses were also recognized for their longevity with the chamber:
Five-year: Abundant Life Chiropractic, Juan Alonzo, Benjamin Law Firm, Cass County Government, Coffee News South, Connie Erb, H.E.L.P. Humane Society, HomeTown Toner and Ink, Paul Myers, Meridian Insurance Group, and Professional Hearing.
10-year: Bank of Kansas City Mortgage, Edward Jones Phil Parke, Jose Peppers, Lazy Acres Adult Community, Longhorn Steakhouse, R K Collision and Repair.
15-year: Belton Athletic Association and Hope Haven of Cass County.
20-year: MTS Auto Mall.
25-year: Crouch Spangler and Douglas, Peggy Dryden, The Kansas City Star, Gary Lathrop, James Person, Quik Trip Distribution, and State Farm-Denise Schwindt.
30-year: Belton Family Practice, Braces by Billings, Carpet For Less, Steve Dunning D DDS, and Metropolitan Community College-Longview.