It's sometimes said it takes a village to raise a child, but it takes a village to do many other worthwhile things, too.
That's certainly the case for annual chamber events. It takes a village of volunteers — 26 to be exact — to pull off all the signature events of the Garden City Area Chamber of Commerce. Those volunteers are the chamber ambassadors.
"We are a small staff," chamber Vice President Myca Bunch said. "If it weren't for the ambassadors, we could not represent our membership. They are amazing."
The ambassadors are the ones who made all those tables appear at the chamber banquet Thursday night, and they helped ensure everything flowed smoothly throughout the night.
"They were at the door to seat people as they came in," Bunch said, "and one of them was helping me release tables for the banquet. Three of them helped with the book signing for Tommy Spaulding.
"They are at every chamber event helping in any capacity we need them to help. I literally could not do my job without them."
Each year, one of the chamber ambassadors is chosen as Ambassador of the Year. That selection is based not just on faithful attendance at chamber events, but also on their every day, day-in-day-out efforts to promote the chamber in the community.
This year's winner was Tim Turner of KIUL Radio.
Outgoing chamber chair Debbie Reynolds described Turner as "an individual who continuously promotes the Chamber of Commerce in a positive way while working toward the betterment of Finney County."
"The chamber ambassadors are the goodwill arm of the chamber," she added. "From ribbon cuttings to helping out with various community events, the ambassadors are always ready to step up and help promote Garden City."
Many other behind-the-scenes volunteers were recognized during the banquet Thursday night, as well. Reynolds highlighted commitee chairs for their stellar work throughout the year. These were Roy Cessna, 2013 Crystal Apple Awards; Mark Hinde, Chamber Government Affairs Committee; Gwen Tietgen, 2013 wine tasting event; and Kenne Whitson, 2013 chamber ambassador.
Retiring board members Jennifer Dougherty, Legacy Auto Center, and Randy Partington, Finney County Administration, were recognized, and Reynolds was recognized as outgoing chair by incoming chair Keith Collins.
Collins also highlighted those serving on this year's 2014 Board of Directors. These include Robert Sperling, R&M Enterprises; Vice Chair Brian Weber, Weber Refrigeration; Vice Chair Deanna Mann, Garden City Community College; Della Brandenburger, AmericInn Lodge; Erich Schaefer, Golden Plains Credit Union; Kenne Whitson, St. Catherine Hospital; Keysha Urie, Lewis, Hooper & Dick; Vice Chair Mark Hinde, Southwest Developmental Service, Inc.; Mark Nelson, American State Bank; Maxine Atkinson, ARC Real Estate; Ryan Cornett, Garden City Wholesale Supply; Treasurer Todd Dauber, Kearny County Bank; and Michelle Stegman, city of Garden City.