“She's always positive and always has a smile.”
Dickens is married, has three children and is an avid runner and bicyclist. Dickens and her husband, Charles, own Charles E. Dickens Fine Jewelry & Gifts, located in downtown Palestine.
Immediately following the Citizen's award, which they presented first to help continue the ruse for Dickens, Ahnise Summers was awarded, in absentia, the Chamber's Volunteer of the Award. Last year's award-winner Candis Wells presented the award and explained while Summers wasn't able to attend the banquet for personal scheduling conflicts, she did record a short missive concerning the award.
“I'm so pleased to be the recipient of this award,” Summers' recording stated. “Thank you, thank you. Forgive me for not being there. I am truly honored. Again, thank you, thank you.”
The Chamber's Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to District Judge Bascom Bentley, who was in attendance but, thanks to a health issue, had no speaking voice.
“I can't talk tonight, so y'all are lucky,” he croaked with a laugh. “Palestine's my Mayberry. There are so many more deserving people than I, right in this room. I am truly honored. Thank you.”
For more on Bentley's life and times as a judge in Anderson and Cherokee counties, see the upcoming fall issue of the Palestine Herald-Press's NFocus magazine, hitting newsstands Nov. 21.
The Business of the Year award went to Ben E. Keith Beverages.
“I am humbled and shocked by this, I really am,” company General Manager Andrew Gregory said as he accepted the award. “I'm accepting this on behalf of all our employees. They're the ones that make things happen.”
Ambassador of the Year was awarded to Davi Killion Ingram. Rookie Ambassador of the Year was awarded to Delilah Malone.