Beebe Chamber Holds Annual Banquet

May 9th, 2013 | By admin | Category: Top Story

The Beebe Chamber of Commerce held their annual banquet Thursday night, May 2nd at ASU-Beebe. The Chamber had as their featured speaker Craig O’Neal of KTHV Channel 11. The Chamber gave out their three annual awards. Those receiving them were: Mayor Mike Robertson - Lifetime Service Award; Lee McLane - Citizen of the Year Award; and Mackye Sandlin - Educator of the Year Award.

In introducing the award winners, Dr. Beavers stated:

“In honor of the Chamber’s past Executive Director Dr. Ruth Couch, the Chamber presents the first Dr. Ruth Couch, Lifetime Service Award.  The Lifetime Service award is presented to a person who has consistently given back to the community in their time, energy and resources above and beyond what is reasonably expected over their lifetime.  This person’s contributions have had a significant and positive impact on the lives of the people they have touched in the community, their workplace, their family and friends.  They are well known in the community for their various places of service.  Their accomplishments in all areas of life are a benefit to everyone who knows them, either through their employment or positive community impact.

The 2013 recipient of the Dr Ruth Couch, Lifetime Service Award is Mayor Mike Robertson.  Mayor Robertson is a graduate of Beebe High School, and received his Associates Degree in Business from ASU Beebe.  He married his wife Carol in 1975, and they started out their life by managing the apartments that they were living in while working their way through college.

After college, Mike began building and selling houses until 1982 when he entered into business with his father, W.L.  Robertson by opening Warehouse Furniture.

Warehouse Furniture was destroyed by a fire in 1999.  In order to keep his employees from being without a job, they purchased a mobile home for the office workers to have a workplace to continue serving their customers.  He put the warehouse men to work by doing everything that didn’t have to be contracted out, and by the spring of 2000, Warehouse Furniture was back in business.

He served on the Beebe Fire Department for 32 years.  Served two terms on the Beebe City Council in 1993-94 and 2005-06.  He served as Mayor of Beebe from 1995-98 and after being elected again in 2007, has continued to serve as mayor after his re-election in 2010 until the present time.

The Mayor has always had a heart for the young people of Beebe, and has coached baseball at the Beebe City park.  He would continually search and apply for grants that would make it possible to build more parks around the city.  He was instrumental in improving our city park with a new concession building with more accessible bathrooms, better fields and dugouts.  During his first term as mayor, and to help the Beebe parks with his vision of parks improvement, he asked the city that his entire  mayoral salary be given to the Beebe Parks and Rec fund.

He was able to help bring in many new jobs during his second term as mayor by opening doors for Calfrac Well Services to be able to come into Beebe.  During this second term he applied for and received grants that helped the Parks Department refurbish our city pool to make it safer and more attractive.  He also started a plan to get government funding through grants to begin a long task of improving the streets of Beebe.

The mayor made a decision that it was time for the city to give back more memories to Beebe by having a 4th of July party each year.  Beebe could celebrate the 4th of July with food, fun, and entertainment at no cost to the public, and end the night with a huge fireworks display that rivals any other in the state.  Each year it grows bigger, and no matter how many show up, he always hopes to have  more next year.

During his 3rd term as Mayor, he has been offering new ways to bring a better sense of security to Beebe.  By working with the City Council, grant money has been obtained to help purchase more adequate vehicles and equipment for the Beebe Police and Fire Departments.  Monies have also been made available to purchase and expand the Beebe Public Library!

Then, what else is there to say besides WALMART!  What a boon to the economy and convenience to the residents of the Beebe area by having the world’s largest retailer come to town.

Mike has stated many times that he humbly accepts the position as Mayor because he loves this city.  He has many visions that he wants to help to turn into a reality in the future.  He can’t imagine living and working anywhere other than here.  When asked why he never takes a vacation, he responds “Well, if I ever find a place I would rather spend my time other than Beebe, then maybe I will.”

The 2013 recipient of the Dr Ruth Couch, Lifetime Service Award,  Mayor Mike Robertson.”

Citizen of the Year Award

In introducing the Citizen of the Year Award, Dr. Beavers said:  “ The Chamber of Commerce presents its annual Citizen of the Year Award to a person who has greatly impacted Beebe with their community activities, works of service or philanthropy to the betterment of Beebe’s citizens.  A person who is a leader in their area of the community in organization and innovation, inspiring local groups or causes, working above and beyond their paid profession.

In 1968, our Citizen of the year moved to Beebe when her parents Bob and Naomi Kemp purchased the Beebe News.  Moving from a class of 1500 students in North Little Rock to a class of only 68, she finished her senior year of high school at Beebe.  After graduation, Lee attended Baptist Radiology School in Little Rock where she met her husband, then moved to Van Buren where they owned a boat sales company and marina.  She has one son, Christian, who moved back ‘home’ to Beebe with her after her divorce and she began working with her parents at the family newspaper and attending college at ASU Beebe.

She transferred to UCA at Conway, then UALR , then finished her  final two years at Harding University in Searcy where she graduated Cum Laude.  She then spent 2 years obtaining her MBA from Webster University, Little Rock branch. All while raising young Christian and working part-time at the family newspaper.

Her parents had run the family newspaper for 22 years, and in 1990, Lee bought The Beebe News from her retiring parents.  Sadly her father passed away shortly afterward in 1991.

Lee has been the editor/publisher of The Beebe News ever since, and for a time, one of the few women editor/ publishers in the state.  Her son Cristian helps her at the Beebe News, taking care of much of the technical/ computer tasks along with her assistant, Charlotte Paquette.  Lee is a former secretary of the Beebe Chamber, a member of two veterinary committee’s – which goes along with her love of animals and in particular -  cats.  She was the city’s ‘unofficial’ cat shelter for many years, but now says, there is just no more room.  As you may guess, much of her non-newspaper time is spent caring for animals.

Lee has authored two books, one following the tornado that struck Beebe entitled “Night of Devastation” and a second with co-author Richard White, a history book of Beebe entitled, “Remembering Our Past”.  Lee is currently working along with Melba Brackin on a second history book, hopefully to be out by this Christmas.

Lee would like everyone to know that she feels very fortunate to have the unconditional love and support of her family, and that she is very glad to call Beebe her hometown.  She said that she cannot wait to see what the future has in store for the citizens of Beebe.

As citizens of Beebe, we don’t know what we would do without the services of Lee and The Beebe News.  She faithfully delivers the news to our homes every week through her paper.  She keeps everyone abreast of political, school, and local matters.  She is a prize to have in Beebe and is a tremendous help to the efforts of the Chamber of Commerce.

The 2013 Citizen of the Year, Lee McLane.”