Chamber holds its 31st annual banquet
Several community leaders and elected officials gathered Tuesday, Feb. 24, as the South Belt-Ellington Chamber of Commerce held its 31st annual installation banquet.
Notables in attendance included Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector Mike Sullivan; judges Jo Ann Delgado and George Risner; City Council members Dwight Boykins and Dave Martin; aides to U.S. Rep. Pete Olson, state Sen. Sylvia Garcia, state Rep. Dennis Paul, Harris County Judge Ed Emmett and Harris County Commissioner El Franco Lee; board members from San Jacinto College and the Clear Brook City and Sagemeadow municipal utility districts; and representatives from multiple local homeowner groups.
Newly hired University of Houston head football coach Tom Herman served as the featured speaker of the event.
Herman emphasized that life should be approached the same as a football game, saying his mantra was to be “1-0,” meaning “you should be proud of winning and ashamed of losing.”
“Winners get trophies, not participants. That’s how life works,” Herman said, jokingly adding, “And winners get the hot wife.”
Herman, who said the word “can’t” is not allowed to be used in his house, further suggested that individuals should always be competing against two opponents – one’s own best self and the demon inside one’s self.
The coach described the demon inside one’s self as the one who wants to give up or hit the snooze button.
“He’s beatable,” Herman said. “You can beat him every single time.”
One of the most heartfelt moments of the evening took place when Boykins and Martin presented a special proclamation to local hero Charles Jordan.
The longtime Sagemeadow resident is credited for saving the life of Monica Garza this past March when he selflessly put his body between her and a pair of angry pit bulls that were attacking her as she was jogging along the Blackhawk hike-and-bike trail.
Jordan, who was also bitten during the attack, humbly accepted the proclamation plaque.
“I’m honored – unexpectedly,” Jordan said. “But I’m not a hero. I was just at the right place at the right time.”
Garza, who was also in attendance, expressed her gratitude toward her lifesaver.
“It’s because of Charles’ act of heroism that I am alive,” Garza said. “If he hadn’t have showed up, I wouldn’t be here today. In times of tragedy, we are surrounded by love.”
Following the event, Herman, who was signing autographs for fans, asked Jordan for his signature. “I’ve never saved anyone’s life,” the coach said to the surprised resident.
Also honored at the event was Sagemeadow resident Dean Baier.
Baier was named the chamber’s volunteer of the year.
The director of operations for the Clear Brook City Municipal Utility District by trade, Baier serves on the Southeast Volunteer Fire Department.
He is the top organizer and volunteer for the South Belt Spectacular Cookoff.
Baier has been with the fire department for 34 years and currently serves as senior paramedic and vice president on the board of directors.
He has also served as a firefighter, medical chief and assistant fire chief. While he has been active in the cookoff since its inception 19 years ago, this marks the fourth consecutive year he has been tasked with organizing the event. His work is credited with saving the cookoff from flooding in 2013.
Delgado was responsible for the swearing in all of the incoming chamber officers and board members at the function.
Chris Clark will continue to serve as the organization’s president; Marie Flickinger as first vice president; Rebecca Lilley as second vice president; Jonathan Ebizie as third vice president; the Rev. Emory Gadd as secretary; and the Rev. Gordon Berg as treasurer.
This year’s board members include Noble Alix, B.J. Garner, Brenda Hellyer, David Matthews, Eli Tanksley, Terry Felton, Rosanne Kerr, Derrick McElwee Sr., Jacquelyn Wiess and Kenny Fernandez.
The Dobie High School Academic Decathlon team will represent the Pasadena Independent School District in the state competition, following several recent wins at the Region 5 tournament.
For the ninth consecutive year, Dobie placed in the top 10 among 28 schools to advance to the state meet in San Antonio, set to take place Feb. 27-28.
The team’s coach and former decathlon competitor, Steven Higginbotham, said Dobie’s continued success in the program is the product of hard work.
“The team studies for hours each day,” he said. “These students work hard and enjoy learning. That sets them at a higher level of success in the competition.”
The Academic Decathlon promotes student achievement and learning by challenging students in various academic subjects. Teams are composed of up to nine students who represent different grade point divisions. The group studies decathlon curricula and competes against other schools. There is a series of 10 events including an interview in front of judges, a written essay, speeches, a written comprehensive exam in math, social science, economics, literature, art, music and the Super Quiz.
The overall goal of decathlon is to teach participants the value of teamwork, leadership and time management.
“It takes perseverance and collaboration to compete,” Dobie High School senior Diego Ramirez said. “For us, it’s like a brotherhood. You promote yourself, your team and you learn along the way.”
Dobie senior Jacob Little is the second varsity contestant in Dobie’s history to cross the 8,000 mark out of a possible 10,000 points.
“The biggest requirement for success in decathlon competitions is to be dedicated,” Little said. “I learned that the hard way. I did not do so well at first, but then I worked hard and pushed myself. As a result, I did well in the end.”
PISD racked up 22 medals at regionals with Dobie claiming 14 of them. In 2011, the decathlon team won first place at state and advanced to the national competition. In 1992 and 1996, Dobie took home the championship trophy at the national competition.
“Dobie has a fantastic program and the school’s administrative staff provides the students with the support they need to be successful,” Pat Sermas, PISD director of advanced academics said. “We wish them all the best at the state competition.”
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