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Full steam ahead
Chamber banquet highlights community successes
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 It was the Great Bend business community’s opportunity to shine Saturday night. The setting was the 94th-annual Great Bend Chamber of Commerce’s banquet.

Still one of the community’s defining gala events, the evening is dedicated to honoring what has gone right. Sunflower Diversified Services’ Jim Johnson was named the citizen of the year, Eagle Communications was name business of the year and Matt Hiss was the next gen person of the year. The late Janssport entrepreneur and explorer Skip Yowell was recognized with the first Legacy Award.

But, it is easy to lose sight of what has happened in light such high profile recognitions. However deserved these awards may be, there are a lot of other things happening that are worthy of note.

In the past year, economic development headlines were stolen by the coming of the planned transload facility, the new Holiday Inn Express, The Reserves at Trail Ridge apartments and more housing developments in Amber Meadows. These were outside developers that found Great Bend attractive.

You see, Great Bend looks like a good bet from the inside and out.

Behind the scenes, there are many, many other entrepreneurs opening new businesses in Great Bend. These are much smaller, but no less important.

This year’s meeting theme “Full Steam Ahead,” tapping into the railroad motif surrounding the transload project. But, it could also apply to the full-tilt efforts being made by so many.

Sure, the bright lights of the banquet have faded and the tables have been cleared. The impact, however, of what it represented linger, and will fuel Great Bend into the future.

Dale Hogg