Many at the event reminisced about eating at the cafeteria when they were youngsters, and enjoyed the nostalgia of once again sharing a meal there.
After some fun trivia questions about Thayer provided by Bob Eckman acting as master of ceremonies, Chamber President Scott Ream came to the podium to discuss some quick pieces of chamber business.
Caroline Southern was recognized for all of her volunteer work at the Thayer Visitor's Center and it was noted that 17,068 people had already visited the railroad car this year.
Jean Caldwell was announced as the project leader on the Missouri Community Betterment program for the city of Thayer. She reported that approximately 30 people attended the first meeting and that a second meeting will be held on Thursday, July 15 at 6 p.m. at the Fun and Friends Senior Center.
The new members of the Chamber were announced following voting. Harvey Allen, Scott Ream and Travis Patterson were all elected to three year terms and Adam Courter was elected to a one year term.
President Scott Ream was then presented with a plaque honoring his outstanding service to the Chamber.
The highlight of the evening was the presentation of the Citizen of the Year award to Rotarian Robert J. "Bob" Cicigio. Cicigio was recognized for his work with the American Cancer Society, the Rotary Club and most importantly, being the idea man behind the Rotary Club's community garden.
"My idea was to encourage people to get back to raising a garden again, just like the old victory gardens people had after World War II," said Cicigio. "We leased an acre from the city for $1.00 a year, plowed it and tilled it and ended up fencing about 9/10ths of an acre that we divided into 50 plots. Each plot is 20 feet by 32 feet, and we leased 35 of them to local citizens for $20 a year to help defray costs and the Rotary took the remaining 15 lots."
Each lease owner was provided with a pre-tilled and fertilized plot, and given close to $100 worth of starter plants and seeds, grown by the Thayer FFA, to get started.
The 15 plots belonging to the Rotarians were used to grow an assortment of vegetables including tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, peppers, corn, beets, watermelon and cantaloupe. According to Cicigio, the food raised on those plots will be given away to places such as the Fun and Friends Senior Center, Shady Oaks Retirement Home, Shepherd's View Assisted Living in Alton, area food pantries and more.
"It took a lot of effort from a lot of people to make this happen," said Cicigio. "I would have to guess that we invested over $5,000 in creating the garden, but my hope is that it will continue year after year. Maybe next year, local residents will lease all 50 of the plots."
The following people and businesses contributed time, expertise, equipment, services, products and monetary donations to the community garden project: City of Thayer, the Thayer -- Mammoth Spring Rotary Club, KALM Radio, K Kountry 95 Radio, Bob Eckman, Lynn Hobbs, Don Alford, Dwight Holmes, H. A. Cover Lumber Yard, Hirsch Feed and Farm Supply, Jack Howell, James Pace, King Quarry, Mammoth Spring and Thayer FFA, Missouri Extension Service, R and R Industries, Ross Real Estate and Auction Company, Thayer Plant Food, Warm Fork Woodlands, Wendy Carhart, Young's Produce, Dr. Kersey, Dr. Harry Kelly, Dr. Scott Ream, Dr. Fiorino, Bill Friend's Tax Service, Forschler's True Value, Thayer Decorating, Bank of Thayer, Simmons First National Bank, First National Banking Company and the Bank of Salem.