Big Sandy Chamber of Commerce recognizes COG people

By John Warren

BIG SANDY, Texas--At the annual Big Sandy Chamber of Commerce banquet Jan. 28, some Big Sandy residents with Church of God backgrounds came away with awards of recognition.

A "Special Recognition for Lifetime Achievement" award went to former mayor David Smith, a 1977 graduate of Ambassador College. Mr. Smith, who moved here in 1974, has operated a construction business and is a former Big Sandy city councilman.

Mr. Smith served as mayor of Big Sandy from 1994 to 2000. He is the husband of a former writer for The Journal, Linda Moll Smith.

Another winner was Andrea Boettcher, daughter of Toby and Jean Shipman. The chamber recognized Miss Boettcher, a senior at Big Sandy High School, as its student of the year.

Miss Boettcher is active in Spanish and drama clubs, student council and the National Honor Society. The chamber described her as independent, aggressive, self-motivated, creative and intelligent.

She attends church with the United Church of God congregation that meets in Gilmer, just north of Big Sandy.

The chamber's educator of the year is Linda Avey, who has taught in the Big Sandy public-school system since 1990.

Mrs. Avey has lived in Big Sandy for many years with her husband, Ron. She began as a fourth-grade teacher but has recently taken the position of head of the science-art lab and coordinator of the elementary outdoor-education Program.

Donna Varnado, elementary-school principal, said of Mrs. Avey that she is a "great teacher" who has favorably influenced many students.

The Aveys attend with the Church of God Big Sandy congregation.

Each year the chamber selects a young woman to represent the city at official functions as Miss Big Sandy. This year the honor went to Reaghan Francis, daughter of Nancy Francis of Big Sandy and Danny Francis of Gilmer.

Miss Francis is a junior at Big Sandy High, where she is active in sports, including volleyball and basketball.

This year she serves as student-council vice president. She has been honored as student of the month and for making the "A" honor roll and earned an award for her excellence in English.

Miss Francis attends the Church of God Big Sandy.

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