Josh Bray and Linda Kapp (Photo: Tony Corso Images)

The Lamar County Chamber of Commerce hosted the 2018 Chamber of Commerce Banquet on Tuesday at the Love Civic Center.

The room was full of with “chamber family” enjoying drinks, food and conversation for the first hour of the evening. The night continued with the premiere of a community video, the passing of the Chairman baton, awards and insight on chartering the course to success from keynote speaker, Amelia Rose Earhart.

Josh Bray who served as the 2017-18 chairman spoke about his experience throughout the last year while also expressing his excitement for what is to come for Paris in the future. With Bray moving out of the position, Linda Kapp was announced as the new Chairman of the Lamar County Chamber of Commerce.

Also honored throughout the night was John Brazile for the Bobby and Imy Walters Volunteer of the Year and the 2018 Ambassador of the year, Julia Trigg Crawford. Paris Harley-Davidson Honda Yamaha was recognized as the business of the year and the Texas Dream Center received the award for Nonprofit of the year.

The final award, Paris Proud, was given in honor of late Barney William Bray III.

The theme of the night was “Chartering the course to success – Destination Paris” and was evident throughout the room with maps, globes and all things Paris on the tables and decorations. The keynote speaker, Amelia Rose Earhart, shared her story of perseverance and determination as she set to fly around the globe in a single-engine aircraft.

Earhart is the namesake of Amelia Earhart who attempted to circumnavigate the globe in 1937 but never made it to her final destination. Earhart took off from Lae, Papua New Guinea with Howland Island as her stop but unfortunately never made it.

Amelia Rose Earhart was named after the famous pilot in hope that she too would live a life of adventure and purpose. In 2014, Amelia Rose made the trip around the globe to completion overcoming turbulence along the way.

“I thought it was a great night with so many business representatives from our community in attendance,” said Chamber president Paul Allen. “I’m proud of all our award winners and very proud of the support each one has received. Months of planning went into this event and the response has been great. I want to say a huge thank you to Gina Crawford and the Celebration Committee for making this a memorable event.

“I believe we are well on our way to success and proving that Paris is the destination we all know it to be,” said Kapp.