Greater Marshall Chamber of Commerce ambassadors, community members and local leaders alike gathered at the Marshall Convention Center this week for the chamber’s annual banquet, which aims to honor those who have dedicated their time and energy to the betterment of the Marshall community.

The event featured a silent auction, raffle and dinner catered by Blue Frog of Marshall. Hundreds of community members gathered at the Marshall Convention Center to join together in honoring those who impacted the community in 2022.

Awards given out during this year’s event included the regular Citizen of the Year, Ambassador of the Year and the Newcomer of the Year awards, as well as a new recognition awarded this year titled the Impact Award.

Citizen of the Year

This year’s winner of the Citizen of the Year award is Marshall Economic Development Director Rush Harris, who was recognized for the wide range of community work he does both through his position at MEDCO, and in his free time as a volunteer.

Harris serves on a wide range of local boards, including the Boys and Girls Club of the Big Pines, the Community Advisory Council, the Wiley College Business Administration Advisory Board, the Texas State Technical College Foundation Council of Advocates, the Northeast Texas Regional Mobility Authority East Texas I-20 Corridor, the Greater Marshall Chamber of Commerce, Trinity Episcopal School and more.

His recent accomplishments included the creation of the Synergy Group, creating the WeAlign Group, development and organization of the new Marshall job fair, founding the Marshall Economic Summit, and his continued efforts with the MISD to support the ongoing duel enrollment program in the district.

His vision for the economic vitality of our community has led to collaboration of local public schools, colleges, universities, industry partners and community members.

This work, along with the wide range of projects and economic development opportunities that MEDCO has been able to bring to the city since Harris stepped into the director position, made him the recipient for this year’s annual award.

Ambassador of the Year

This year’s winner of the annual Ambassador of the Year award is chamber member Sandy Futrell, who was recognized for her continued volunteer work and organization of volunteers for a wide range of events in the Marshall community.

Futrell is honored for her dedication to a wide range of local programs, including the Marshall Maverick Baseball team, the MHS football team, MHS cheer team, MISD parent teacher association, MISD PTA city council board, Marshall Symphony League, Harrison County Agri-Business, Harrison County Aggie Moms Club, Mission Marshall, the Greater Marshall Chamber of Commerce and chamber ambassadors.

Futrell was also integral to the success of a number of local events, including the Fireant Festival, Harrison County Farm City week, the annual Law Enforcement Banquet, the business and industry luncheon, and the annual chamber banquet.

For these reasons, and her constant presence in the community offer a helping hand whenever one is needed, Futrell was recognized as this year’s Ambassador of the Year.

Newcomer of the Year

Kelsie Hopkins, with HealthCare Express, was recognized as this year’s Newcomer of the Year, voted upon by fellow chamber of commerce ambassadors.

Though this is Hopkins first year as an ambassador to the organization, nominees said that she jumped in head first to the work, volunteering her time at almost every single chamber event planned in the last year.

Hopkins was honored for her work using social media throughout the year to promote chamber events and local businesses, always sure to offer prompt and accurate information to keep the community informed on the many business happening in the city.

Nominees also commended Hopkins for her continued dedication to chamber events, always sure to be in attendance whenever possible to meet with the community and business leaders and form relationships within the community.

It’s for these reasons and more that Hopkins was selected at this year’s Newcomer of the Year award recipient.

Impact Award

This year’s Impact Award was given to the Marshall Main Street board, who worked throughout the year to celebrate and promote local businesses in the downtown area.

The board is made up of a range of downtown business owners that make up the Washington Street businesses, from the Ginocchio to Memorial City Hall.

Members from the board joined together with Main Street Manager Lacy Burson for the special recognition awarded to the group on Tuesday night.


City Reporter

Jessica Harker has been the city reporter with the Marshall News Messenger since 2019.