In honor. John T. Hampton (left) and Janie Woolley were presented the plaque for the Lifetime Achievement Award which was renamed the Jeral L.Hampton Lifetime Service Award.
Unsung hero. Debbie Danekas (left), longtime administrative assistant to Jeral Hampton was surprised with an award for her efforts on countless projects and programs during Saturday’s 70th BDC/Chamber banquet.
Member of Year. David Fritsche was received the 2014 BDC/Chamber Member of the Year Saturday night during the annual BDC/Chamber banquet. Making the presentation is BDC/Chamber executive director Stacey McCollough.
The Lifetime Achievement Award, presented every year by the Booneville Development Corporation/South Logan County Chamber of Commerce was renamed in honor of the late Jeral Hampton Saturday.
Before making the announcement of the name change to the Jeral L. Hampton Lifetime Service Award, David Fritsche noted Hampton’s life including a war story in which Hampton’s friend was killed in action and proceeding through Hampton’s lifetime of service to the Booneville area.
Fritsche noted with the incorporation of the Booneville Industrial Development Corporation in 1955 which raised $100,000 to sway ACE Comb to locate here through virtually every industrial attraction to the city as well as the Dale Bumpers USDA Small Farms Research Center.
“If it had been Jeral, instead of his buddy John, who got killed in the war, what would Booneville be like? Would any of us be sitting here? I doubt if I would,” said Fritsche. “He had a great impact on this community.”
Because Hampton is a former recipient of the award — 1989 — rather than name an award winner less than three weeks after Hampton’s passing, the first recipient of the newly named award will be announced during the organization’s 2015 banquet.
Fritsche, who was presented the Chamber Member of the Year Award prior to making the announcement, noted the award follows a grass, the Meeting Place, a scholarship and a street in Hampton’s honor.
Hampton’s children, John T. Hampton and Janie Woolley joined Fritsche on stage for a presentation of the plaque that will bear their father’s name.
“On behalf of our family and Jeral’s behalf we accept this honor,” said John Hampton. “But also for all those who will come later who will receive this award, that they will receive it in the manner that he served this community.
“You know that he loved this community, he loved this country and he gave a lifetime of service to citizens of past, present and future and he believed it. I dare say no one in the history ever served longer, as hard, dedicated.”
John Hampton also said his father would insist he was not deserving but “he loved this town, and he loved you, and we love you for doing this.”
Though there would be no lifetime achievement award, there was a new award, the Unsung Hero Award, presented to Debbie Danekas, Jeral Hampton’s longtime administrative assistant who was “mostly behind the scene, getting things done and never receiving any accolades,” said Fritsche.
Fristsche said the award may be a one-time award.
Danekas noted Hampton’s affect on her life.
“You can’t imagine the wisdom that I gained from him. He was such a good Christina man,” Danekas said choking back emotion before adding she was surprised by the recognition – “you got me.”
Also presented Saturday was the Volunteer of the Year Award which went to Sandra Michaud for her tireless efforts at the Booneville Senior Center.