DALLAS -- Another year has come to a close and it was not an easy one for Dallas. A lingering economic slump impacted every part of the city in 2010, from city government to schools to businesses.
However, there were bright spots aplenty in Dallas in 2010.
The 54th Dallas Community Awards, hosted by the Dallas Area Chamber of Commerce at BeckenRidge Vineyard and Events Center on Friday, Jan. 21, recognized those individuals, businesses and organizations that continued to put community first.
Sometimes if you want something done, you have to do it yourself. That was the case for the 2010 business of the year, MAK Grills.
Owners Bob and Kerrie Tucker wanted to buy a backyard grill, but couldn't find one that met all their standards. Owners of MAK Metals, the Tuckers decided to use their expertise to make the grills themselves.
"Started in the heart of the recession in 2009, this business managed to thrive," said presenter Susan Morrill, the manager of Citizens Bank.
Bob Tucker said when they were launching the business that year, he suspected more than a few eyebrows were raised about the timing.
"In the midst of hard times ... they probably thought we were crazy," he said. "I'm proud to say that we are proving them wrong."
The theme of the other two business awards, Best Small Business and Most Improved Business, was devotion.
Tina Evans, owner of Envy Spa Salon, said in order to run a small business in Dallas, you have to be connected, committed and passionate about the community. She said Sandy and Tony Teal, the owners of the Small Business of the Year, Dallas TV & Radio Shack, have all three traits in abundance.
"We do this because we love this city," Sandy Teal said, tearfully accepting the award. "We live here because we want to and want other people to feel what we do about it."
Wanda Heart of the DACC described the beginning of the Most Improved Business of the Year, American Glove, with this: "It started with a dream, an opportunity and a garage."
She said the business Jim and Judy Garus started in 1991 grew over the years, and in 2008 moved into a warehouse in Dallas. The next year American Glove expanded with the opening of an outdoors store, American Outdoors. Heart said more than a business, American Glove has become a Dallas institution.
The Lifetime Achievement, Junior First Citizen, Excellence in the Arts and Good Samaritan awards went to people who have found inspiration in making Dallas a better place.
The 2010 winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award, Paul Mannen, has been called "a beast" -- not for being ill-tempered, but for his energetic volunteerism.
Presenters Grant and Judy Boustead noted his service to the Delbert Hunter Arboretum and in the schools as a coach, teacher, athletic director and booster club president.
"He certainly gives us a lot to live up to," Judy Boustead said.
Chelsea Pope, the presenter of the Junior First Citizen Award, gave winner Jay Epperson high praise Friday night.
"I have one word that describes this man: glorious," she declared exuberantly.
Pope noted Epperson's work as a firefighter with the Dallas Fire Department, as the cochairman of Relay For Life of Polk County, and as a volunteer during DACC events.
"I do it because I love to help out," Epperson said.
The 2010 Excellence in Arts Award went to Maggie Sams, a member of the Dallas Arts Association, volunteer supporting Summerfest's Art in the Park and watercolorist whose paintings have won awards in shows throughout the state.
"One of the major roles of an artist in our society and in history is to produce an innovative way of seeing the world," award presenter Lane Shetterly said. "Maggie Sams has done just that."
Good Samaritan Award presenters Paul and Carol Mannen noted the 2010 honorees Dale and Lois Derouin's volunteer work at the Delbert Hunter Arboretum, the Dallas Library and in Dallas schools as only part of the reason the busy couple earned recognition.
"Their total commitment and devotion to make Dallas a better place has been an inspiration to Paul and me," Carol Mannen said.
The winners of the Presidential and Outstanding Organization awards illustrated how crucial education and showcasing local entrepreneurs is to a community.
Keeping the winner of the Outstanding Organization Award secret may have been a challenge, as recipient, the Dallas Area Visitors Center, shares an office with awards ceremony host DACC. The secret was under wraps, however, until award presenter Jerry Wyatt, city manager of Dallas, called "Bounty Bon" Bonnie Dreier, the manager of the Visitors Center's Polk County Bounty Market, onto the stage.
He said Dreier's work in launching of the market in 2010 was more than worthy of the award.
"It was successful because Bonnie made it successful," he said.
DACC President Lisa Mance presented the Presidential Award to the entity responsible for the momentous task of educating Dallas' next generation: the Dallas School District. Mance highlighted the district's efforts to connect students with the community through programs and recognizing the hard work of its employees.
Mance reserved her highest praise for the district's mission of providing education to future leaders and volunteers.
"(The district's) first and most important accomplishment is educating our children," Mance said. "They do a good job of that."