By Wendy Burton
Phoenix Staff Writer
Muskogee’s chamber officials posthumously honored a local man with the annual “Okie from Muskogee” award.
Former chamber president Sue Harris presented the award for Frank Medearis to his partner, Joel Cousins, at Thursday’s Greater Muskogee Area Chamber of Commerce annual banquet.
“When the chamber notified me who they wanted to give this award to, I took a deep breath,” Harris said. “He is someone who volunteered hours and hours of his time to the city, to the Education Foundation of Muskogee, the Muskogee Little Theatre, Chamber of Commerce Tourism Committee and much, much more.”
Medearis, a Tahlequah native, died Jan. 12 after a short illness.
“He made a very positive difference in our community,” Harris said. “He epitomized someone who understands what it means to live right and be free.”
Cousins came to the stage at the Muskogee Civic Center to accept the award with Medearis’ niece, Carly Cockman, and his son, Grant Cousins, and daughter-in-law, Danyel Cousins.
Harris and outgoing Chamber Chairman Jim Eaton hugged the family, and Cousins accepted the award on Medearis’ behalf.
“Frank loved his adopted community,” Cousins said. “He loved working for the chamber and he loved every one of you.”
The annual banquet was a time to also honor many other volunteers, including each committee chair from last year and four more special awards.
Darrell Hamby was given the Volunteer of the Year award for “demonstrating exceptional volunteerism.” Hamby was committee chair of the Magic Holiday Giveaway.
Ambassador of the Year went to Larry Hoffman for attending the most chamber events throughout the year. The Chairman’s Award went to a group — the chamber’s executive committee: Al Stevens, Earnie Gilder, Tom Turner and David Jones.
The chamber’s Rookie of the Year was Brien Thorstenberg, director of business and economic development for the Port of Muskogee’s Business Development Office.
Committee Chair of the Year went to Sue Godwin, because she is the person “who mobilized her team to succeed the most,” Eaton said during the announcement. Godwin was chair of the Women’s Leadership Committee.
The 2013 Chairman David Jones was introduced and a new identity campaign for chamber marketing was also introduced at the banquet.
Reach Wendy Burton at (918) 684-2926 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Greater Muskogee Area Chamber of Commerce 2013 Banquet Outstanding Performance Award recipients
• Volunteer of the Year — Darrell Hamby.
• Ambassador of the Year — Larry Hoffman.
• Rookie of the Year — Brien Thorstenberg.
• Committee Chair of the Year — Sue Godwin.
• Chairman’s Award — Al Stevens, Earnie Gilder, Tom Turner and David Jones, executive committee.
• Okie from Muskogee Award — Frank Medearis.