The Port Arthur News
Humor and appreciation went hand in hand as Kent Manuel bid adieu to his role as president of the Groves Chamber of Commerce and Tourist Center Tuesday morning.
When he took over presidency two years ago there was a light crowd of people in attendance at the annual installation breakfast and meeting; this year the tables were packed, he said.
“When I came in as president there were about six people here,” Manuel, an Edward Jones Investment agent, said with a laugh to the crowd gathered at Magnolia Manor. “Now that I’m going out ...”
Manuel handed over the gavel to incoming president Gene Venable. Venable, who is retired and is an active volunteer in the community, previously served as president in 2005.
With a slight Cajun accent, the Louisiana native and Groves business owner gave a quick rundown of his two years as president, saying that 33 new members joined the Groves Chamber of Commerce, adding that that number of new members was just fine.
“That’s good,” he said. “Groves is not that big of a town but we love our town.”
He also gave credit to the board of directors and the ones behind the scenes such as Ronnie Boneau, executive director of the Groves Chamber of Commerce and Tourist Center, administrative assistant Debbie Snell and volunteer Betty Legnon for making his job easy.
“They’re the backbone of the Chamber,” he added.
Due to a medical emergency in his family Venable was only able to give a few brief comments before having to depart. He later informed Chamber officials that the family member with the medical emergency was doing fine.
“I want to echo something Kent said,” Venable said. “We get the honor and the title and stuff but we really don’t do anything. It’s these three people and the board who do all the work.”
Brad Corley, master of ceremonies, performed a duty he has never performed before — actually swearing in the new president and his board. Venable joked that he usually doesn’t swear but would do so for this occasion.
Upwards of 76 attendees were treated to a breakfast made by the dietary staff at Magnolia Manor and to door prizes. Door prize sponsors included: The Collection, Kizmet, Dairy Queen, Dominos, Fleur de Chic and Savvy Chic.
The 2014 chamber of commerce officers include: Gene Venable, president; Tonya Petix, first vice-president; Sheryl Melancon-Phillips, Dairy Queen, second vice-president; Christa Hollier, Golden Triangle FCU, treasurer; Kent Manuel, Edward Jones Investments, past president.