The members of the Forney Chamber of Commerce held their annual Chamber Recognition Banquet on Thursday afternoon at the First United Methodist Church in Forney, and two very deserving community leaders were honored as the 2017 Citizen of the Year and 2017 Helping Hand of the Year.
A delicious catered lunch was served after which Chamber Chairman of the Board Phyllis Lyons and longtime Board Member Craig Woodring recognized a long list of Chamber supporters and committee members.
Chamber members voted to honor City Bank Forney Branch President Bruce Bynum with the 2017 Helping Hand of the Year Award.
After accepting the prestigious award from City Bank employees Tisha Sims and Jennifer Carter, Bryum briefly addressed the audience about moving to Forney and being made to feel welcome by several community leaders.
Bruce Bynum said “I don’t know who nominated me but thank you very much. Obviously, all the people nominated are well deserving or they wouldn’t have been nominated. But I’d like to thank several people for accepting me into the community so quickly, I’ve been here since 2014.”
Bynum said “Rick Wilson, Keith Bell, and Suzie, thank you. Gregg Pharris thank you very much. I appreciate the award, and I hope I don’t let anybody down. I'm not stopping now. I don’t plan to. So thank you very much.”
Next, Chamber Board Member Mary Elsbecker announced the winner of the 2017 Citizen of the Year Award; Forney ISD Superintendent Suzanne “Suzie” McWilliams.
Acknowledging the many contributions to the Forney ISD made by Superintendent McWilliams, Mary Elsbecker said “This Citizen of the Year has made a profound impact on the community of Forney through her leadership, guidance and success in making Forney ISD a top rated district in the State of Texas.”
Acknowledging the quickly approaching retirement of Superintendent McWilliams, Elsbecker said “During her tenure as Superintendent with Forney ISD, the District has experienced a great deal of academic success and educational advancements. She coordinated a strategic plan with parents, students, teachers, staff members, board members and the community to develop a structured set of goals to lead Forney ISD into the future.”
Explaining she said “The result of this collaboration was Forney Focus, a set of six goals that have become the pillars of the Districts operational structure which has led a great deal of success and achievements by both students and the District as a whole. During Suzie’s tenure as Superintendent the financial stability of the District has strengthened to include a fund balance of more than $23 million dollars.”
Receiving a Texas size standing ovation, while fighting back tears Superintendent McWilliams addressed her family, friends and colleagues about her feelings for the Forney ISD, its student and the community of Forney.
Superintendent McWilliams said “I appreciate all the support I’ve been given. I feel kind of guilty about getting this because when you have a fabulous school board and a fabulous team of people that you work with and a community that you love, it’s easy to be successful. And that’s what we have in Forney.”
She said “I couldn’t be more proud of our school district. The teachers, the administrators and our students they continue to excel year after year, after year. And really all I have to do is get out of their way and let them fly. My school board is the most incredible school board I’ve ever worked with, and I’ve been doing this a very long time. The support and the guidance they have given us, cause we’ve been through some pretty tough times over the last few year but I’m so happy to say we have come out of that and we’re set for success and it wouldn’t have been possible without the support of the school board.”
Superintendent McWilliams said “And my team, what an awesome, awesome team of people. They are so creative and innovative and the best thing of all is that they have the best interest of our kids at heart. And that’s what I think makes are school district so successful because from our school President Mr. Bell down to our custodians. It’s about the kids. It’s about making our decisions in the best interest of our kids. And to receive an honor for just doing that, is almost more than I can comprehend at the moment.”
Check out The Forney Post on Facebook for additional photographs and video clips of the 2017 Chamber of Commerce Recognition Banquet.
Wrtitten by: Denise Bell