Palestine resident Linda Dickens fell victim to the old 'bait-and-switch' during the Palestine Area Chamber of Commerce's annual fall membership banquet Saturday.
Apparently, event officials on Saturday failed to correct Dickens's belief that Ahnise Summers was the recipient of the Citizen of the Year award. Banquet organizers even went so far as to change up the annual awards presentation ceremony Saturday night to further perpetuate her mis-assumption — and it worked, right up to the moment Dickens was named this year's Citizen of the Year during the Chamber's annual membership banquet, held Saturday in Palestine.
“I am in utter disbelief,” Dickens exclaimed as she accepted her award from last year's winner Jean Mollard. “I don't even know what to say — I'm speechless!”
To which banquet emcee Mike Thomason quipped, “Speechless? I haven't seen her speechless in a while!”
Dickens joked to the crowd, who gave her standing ovations as she made her way both to and from the stage, “Did everyone know but me? I am so honored. I am in shock. Thank you. And thank you all for coming.”
Mollard shared some of reasons Dickens received this year's honor.
“The bad thing is I have to give this up,” Mollard said with a laugh, “but I'm at least getting the great pleasure to pass it on to such a deserving person.”
Dickens was born in Palestine and has acted as a leader within the community for nearly 30 years. “She's involved in so much, I couldn't even list them all,” Mollard continued. “Things like Blankets & Bears, CASA, the YMCA, the Booster Club, the Chamber, the Downtown Merchant's Association — she supports many, many worthwhile causes and is instrumental in marketing those causes. Many of us know what it is to have our arms pleasantly twisted, with nothing but a smile and her 'oh-of-course-you-can-help-and-you-will' attitude.