The Denison Chamber of Commerce doesn’t always give out a President’s Award. So when it does, it is a special honor.

The Denison Chamber of Commerce doesn’t always give out a President’s Award. So when it does, it is a special honor.

Such was the case Tuesday night at the Denison Country Club, as more than 100 business and civic leaders gathered for the chamber’s annual banquet and membership meeting to honor local companies and individuals who exemplify the community ideals of the chamber. Local education advocate Brian Aspell received the President’s Award, which is only presented on special occasions, for his numerous contributions to the city’s students.

"This is an award I like to give to a special person who really shines in our community and makes our community shine," Denison Chamber of Commerce President Anna McKinney said while presenting the award. "He has received the Friend of Education Award from the Denison Classroom Teachers Association, and only recently he was instrumental in the (Denison) Education Foundation receiving a $10,000 grant from the Walton Foundation to be used for classroom grants. He is truly one of a kind, and I’m pleased to present Brian Aspell with the President’s Award."

"I’ve been around a lot of places, and Denison is an incredible community," said Aspell in his ensuing remarks. "This award really belongs to everybody in Denison. It’s really about the collaborative effort."

Other award winners were Ruiz Foods as the Business of the Year and Visionary Industrial Insulation as the Newcomer of the Year. McKinney said Ruiz was honored for their community work, scholarships and overall economic impact. Visionary Industrial Insulation was singled out for bringing international attention to the city through their "innovative product," as well as volunteering for numerous civic activities.

"As a result of their commitment to their employees and our community, they make our city a better place," said outgoing Chamber Board Chairman Bob Taylor of the winners.

The chamber also recognized former board members Terry Tombaugh and Shelle Cassell for their service to the organization.

"These folks have given countless hours to the chamber over the past few years," said Taylor, before presenting each with a commemorative plaque.

Incoming Board President Paul Kisel, who’s day job is running Eisenhower State Park, recognized Taylor for his term leading Chamber’s governing body. Kisel delivered remarks to the group that focused on community engagement and highlighted several city projects and events, including the World Aerobatics Championships and the construction of the Hilton Garden Inn and Texoma Event Center.

Later in the evening, Chamber member Jennifer Reed, employed by the Texoma Medical Center, unveiled the Chamber’s new website which updates the old format in several significant ways. The site will feature a more modern, photo-intensive look, as well as branding consistent with other city sites. Pages specific to member companies and visitors will list Chamber resources and area events, respectively.

To close the night, the Denison Development Alliance took the wraps off the first television commercial of the Alliance’s new branding campaign. The advertisement featured former Mayor Robert Brady, who now chairs the DDA Board, highlighting some of the city’s job-building efforts from the past 18 months. Cassell said the ad will begin airing on local television channels in the next few weeks.