Chamber members and guests ordered from the menu at this year's banquet and were entertained by the gospel and blue grass music of the Mammoth Spring Strings.
"(Blackburn) works tirelessly at the Fun and Friends Senior Center five days a week, getting there awful early because I'm there awful early, either taking laundry or picking it up and stuff and she's right there and she's always got a smile on her face," Chamber member Ron Cornelius said.
"She's always cheerful and in a good mood. She brings people to the senior center and takes them home if they need a ride. (She does) all the other little things. She wraps silverware, transports volunteers. She drives a meal route for the Meals on Wheels program. She counts the money at the donation table, collects mail from the post office and helps the treasurers do their duties when they're not here. So, it's really with great pride that I present this 2009 Citizen of the Year (Award) to Nellie Blackburn."
Blackburn was surprised when her name was called out. Apparently, those from the senior center who had invited Blackburn to the banquet didn't want to tell her that she won because they were afraid she would be too shy to attend. "Believe me, I had no idea what it was about," Blackburn said. She said she started getting an inkling about it when Cornelius listed off all the things she does at the senior center.
Along with all the things she has done for about the past four years at the center, she welcomes visitors and seniors who come to the center to eat with a warm smile and a hug for those she knows.
Blackburn said she became involved with the center after her husband died and her brother encouraged her to volunteer. "I just loved it and continued to come," she said.
"I stay busy but I love it, I really do," Blackburn said.
"Give the Fun and Friends family the credit," Blackburn said. "They're the ones that deserve the credit, not me."
"There was an overwhelming amount of recommendations for Citizen of the Year," Cornelius said. "I believe there were 11 letters to this effect, which is the most that we've pretty much ever received."
New board members were also elected at the Chamber banquet. The new board members include Bob Eckman, Lynn Hobbs and Dr. Ernie Mainprize.