Some people find a way to outshine everyone else around them and, in doing so, manage to illuminate and uplift the rest of us rather than making us all look bad by comparison.

Several such outstanding people were recognized at the Junction City Area Chamber of Commerce’s annual dinner Thursday.

Mayor Phyllis Fitzgerald was named Soldier Volunteer of the Year, a new award created just this year. 

Fitzgerald, in addition to all her other work in the community, is now also chair of the Military Affairs Council. A military veteran, she dedicates her efforts to the local community, veterans, and current soldiers.

“This woman has more energy than any person I’ve ever met,” Chamber CEO Dennis Beson said.

Bob Cervera was named Tourism Advocate of the Year. The owner of F&S Electronics, which he decided to close earlier this month, Cervera founded yearly blues festival Jammin’ in JC.

He grew choked up accepting this accolade.

Acorns Resort owner Mike Harris received the Eldon Hoyle Economic Development Award.

Shelley Hoyle-Kite, the daughter of Eldon Hoyle, and EDC director Mickey Fornaro-Dean handed out the award, which is presented each year to a local person who have gone above and beyond in improving the community and who has boosted the local economy.

Harris, who this year opened a conference center and a restaurant at Acorns Resort, has done a great deal to promote the area by bringing in more tourism.

Janie Murk was named Ambassador of the Year for her work with the Chamber as an ambassador to businesses that have Chamber memberships. She won’t be an ambassador this year, but Murk spent 2016 dedicating her efforts to local commerce.

Also honored were the Ambassador Team of the Year and the Ambassador All-Star Team. 

Missi Finley, Jamel Wilcox, Linda Couch, Brent Rees, LaDonna Junghans, and  Dawn Van Horn were honored for their efforts in supporting local businesses. 

Business/Citizen of the Year was the C.L. Hoover Opera House. Co-directors Joe and Sheila Markley accepted the award on behalf of the Opera House.

“We’re having fun, and we love Junction City, and we love this job,” Sheila Markley said.

The Chamber also honored recently-retired Convention and Visitors Bureau director Connie Hall. 

“It’s been such a pleasure promoting this community and Geary County,” she said, a bit tearfully.

Hall left after 25 years working in the CVB — since its very beginning. 

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