The Great Bend Chamber of Commerce Friday evening officially marked a century of being “Boosters for a Greater Great Bend.”
Downtown Great Bend’s Jack Kilby Square was the sight for a special ribbon cutting ceremony and the signing by Mayor Cody Schmidt of a proclamation declaring 2021 the chamber’s 100th anniversary year.
“I am so honored and privileged to be here at this important moment in history,” current GBCC President Megan Barfield said. “Maybe in another hundred years, they will see this amazing community that stands behind its businesses.”
She was joined on the Clayton L. Moses Bandshell by Schmidt, City Administrator Kendal Francis and chamber board Chairman Pete Wesner, as well as other current and past board members. All were a part of that same history.
In May of 1921, a band of dedicated local business owners and civic leaders, men and women, came together to form the chamber. A month later, a roster of the membership went out with such names as Charles Lischesky, Earl Moses and Will Townsley (owner of Tribune Publishing). They called themselves Boosters for a Greater Great Bend.
Now, 100 years later with over 550 members, it continues to serve as the voice for businesses and growth, Barfield said.
Francis read the proclamation.
“Our local Chamber of Commerce unceasingly promotes our community for quality growth and development,” he read. “The business community, in Great Bend sees the driving force of helping educate, bring opportunity, show partnership, deliver service and lead a positive vision of the future.”
It goes on to say “the Great Bend Chamber of Commerce has sought to achieve successful results for our city in a cooperative spirit with other organizations; and the Great Bend Chamber of Commerce has proudly represented the business community in Great Bend and Barton County for 100 years.”
In addition, Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly also issued a proclamation honoring the occasion Friday afternoon. “What an honor to have this acknowledgement from our state capitol.” Barfield said.
The gubernatorial statement mirrored the city’s. It also noted that the GBCC is among 144 chambers of commerce in Kansas that “distinguish themselves as the voice of business in our state, and the work accomplished by those local chambers has benefited our state through their service and dedication to the business communities.”
The observance came as part of the opening of the 10th-annual June Jaunt. Activities continued throughout Saturday and into Sunday downtown.