The Commerce Journal

March 16, 2013

Like a good neighbor

By Joseph Hamrick
The Commerce Journal

COMMERCE — Living up to her company’s slogan, Dixie Turman, with State Farm Insurance, was awarded the 2012 Citizen of the Year by the Commerce Chamber of Commerce on March 7.

According to Turman, the award came as a complete surprise.

“I’m speechless, just speechless,” she said after receiving the award.

Turman was described as “selfless” and “giving to all” by outgoing Commerce Chamber of Commerce Board President Ladonna Patterson.

“She is a ubiquitous light shining on the city’s positive attributes,” she said. “[Dixie] is involved in everything in our community that has human value.”

According to the Chamber of Commerce, to be selected as Citizen of the Year, a citizen must have accomplished an act or acts of outstanding public service.

Turman was in the first Commerce Leadership Institute (CLI) class and is the current president of CLI.

Doug Rohrabaugh, executive director of the Commerce Chamber of Commerce, said her work there alone was enough to elect her.

“The time she puts into it is phenominal,” he said. “There is a lot of time and planning that goes into it.”

Among Turman’s accomplishments, she has served for more than 20 years on the Texas A&M University-Commerce Foundation and Alumni Relations Boards of Directors and has been awarded the Gold Blazer Award, the Alumni Relations highest honor.

Turman also donates time and money to the Northeast Texas Children’s Museum and Boy Scouts.

The list of the other awards given out during the night:

Rex Giddens — Employee of the Year.

Guarantee Bond Bank ­— Employer of the Year.

Michael Pehl — Public Safety Officer of the Year.

Joe Martello — Firefighter of the Year.

Blake Cooper — Community Builder Award.

Jessica King — Outstanding Youth Community Service.

Jenine Best  — Distinguished Healthcare Worker.

Kathy Hill was awarded the Distinguished Community Service award by the Chamber, and the Commerce Lions Club was given the Distinguished Service Club for 2012.

Patterson handed the baton to Julie Gentle as the new president of the Chamber of Commerce for the 2013 year.

The event was staged in the Rayburn Student Center ballrooms on the Texas A&M University-Commerce campus.