Rowlett Chamber announces Hometown Heroes at virtual awards banquet

The Rowlett Chamber’s highest community honor, the Big ‘R’ Pacesetter, was awarded posthumously to Drew Howard.

ROWLETT, TX (September 15, 2020) The Hometown Heroes Awards Banquet hosted by the Rowlett Chamber of Commerce and sponsored by Baylor Scott & White – Lake Pointe, was held Friday, September 11, 2020. The event was held via Zoom and featured videos of the winners receiving their awards and included a mixology class as well as thoughts from Mayor Tammy Dana-Bashian, Eva Hummel from Atmos Energy, and Men & Ladies of Honor Founder Tony Rorie.

The winners in each category are:

POLICE OFFICER OF THE YEAR, Officer Jason Welk, sponsored by the Rowlett Firefighters Association

STUDENT RESOURCE OFFICER OF THE YEAR, Officer Andres Spivey, sponsored by Proceed Pay

TEACHER OF THE YEAR, Martha Rainey, Rowlett High School, sponsored by My Computer Guy

PRINCIPAL OF THE YEAR, Jeffrey Waller, Stephens Elementary (formerly), sponsored by 19 Ministries

PUBLIC WORKS EMPLOYEE OF THE YEAR, Tony Creonte, sponsored by FCC Environmental Services

FIREFIGHTER OF THE YEAR, Troy Ottinger, sponsored by Atmos Energy

NURSE OF THE YEAR, Amanda Shaw, MSN, RN, sponsored by Baylor, Scott & White Medical Center – Lake Pointe

HEALTH PROFESSIONAL OF THE YEAR, Dr. Shibu Thomas, sponsored by Baylor Scott & White Medical Center – Lake Pointe

VETERAN OF THE YEAR, Dan Kleiss, sponsored by the Life Message


BIG “R” AWARD, Drew Howard, sponsored by Landon Homes

“We were excited to be able to recognize these heroes of our community even though we had to do it virtually,” said Michael Gallops, the chamber’s President/CEO. “We felt like the community and the recipients needed this now rather than later. Too many things have been canceled or postponed but this recognition was simply too important.”

Chaplain Leatherwood, the Schrade Heritage Hall of Fame recipient, has been the Rowlett Fire and Police Chaplain for many years and served as the pastor of First Baptist.

The recipient of the Big ‘R’ Pacesetter, the Chamber’s highest community award, was honored posthumously. The award was presented to his mother, Carolyn Howard.  Drew’s family company, H&S Manufacturing has been a Chamber member since May of 1991 – 29 years! He served on the Chamber Board of Directors from 2006-2009 and again from 2012-2015. During his first term Drew served as Chair from 2007-2008.

Drew was a strong advocate for Leadership Rowlett and was the Chair of the Leadership Rowlett Alumni. Drew and his company have received many awards and accolades through the years including 2012 Leadership Rowlett Alumni of the Year, nominee for the Big “R” Pacesetter in 2013 AND 2014 (the highest community award we give) and a nominee for the D.R. Biff Bettencourt Outstanding Service Award in 2015. Drew was a very highly respected businessman and leader in Rowlett.

The mixology class was presented by Kostas Lazana of Opa Greek Tavern. Drinking “fixings” were donated by Goody Goody Liquor and candy and snacks were sponsored by The Mansions & Towers at Bayside. Photo booth sponsors included BB&T (now Truist) and AMCAP Home Loans. Certificates of recognition were provided by State Senator Bob Hall. Video excerpts will be made available on the Chamber’s social media in the upcoming weeks.

Submitted press release, edited for publication in Blue Ribbon News. 

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