ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – The Abilene Chamber of Commerce hosted the annual meeting and awards ceremony where they announced the Citizen of the Year and other award recipients who are making an impact in the Key City.

Redcoat of the Year: Krista Hale- Homewood Suites by Hilton

Excellent in Agriculture: Big Country Title

Chairman’s Award: Joseph Mangrem – Enprotec and Travis Ruiz – Nexstar Media Group

Leadership Abilene Award: Adam Lancaster – Coleman Co. State Bank- Sr. V.P.

Military Affairs Committee (MAC) Award: Paul Beale – Taylor Telecom

Corporate Star Award: Star Auto Group – Mike Dunahoo

Hispanic Business Council Champion Award: Aida Pantoja – Abi-Mar Foods

Mark Rogers Young Professional of the Year: Samantha Baker – First Financial Bank – Regional Marketing Mgr.

Nonprofit of the Year Award: Junior Achievement of Abilene

Citizen of the Year: Kaye Price Hawkins

Kaye Price Hawkins has been announced as Abilene’s 2023 Citizen of the Year. The award was presented by the 2022 recipient, Delores ‘Dee’ Moore, at the Chamber of Commerce Membership Meeting & Awards Celebration on September 21. This award has been given to someone who has made an impact on the City of Abilene since 1946, based on nominations.

Hawkins has spent more than 35 years in education as a teacher, tutor, staff developer, and trainer. In 2000, She began her business called Priceless Literacy, which, in her words, has “allowed her to meet, encourage and share ideas with teachers both in and out of Texas.”

When the business closed in 2017, Hawkins donated approximately 1,500 books to The Grace, which in turn created a reading area next to the Education Research Library. In addition to her other accomplishments, she is recognized for her love for the arts. Over the years, she has served on numerous boards and held the position of President in many organizations, including The National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature, Young Audiences, Abilene Philharmonic, The Grace Museum, and the Abilene Cultural Affairs Council.

Hawkins and her husband, Joe, have been strong supporters of the Storybook Sculpture enhancements, which include Green Eggs & Ham, Yertle the Turtle, the Three Little Pigs & the Big Bad Wolf, Evan the Fox and his trusty companion Winnie, Otis the Tractor, and the yet-to-be-revealed Locomotive. They also supported the Cultural District Pillars, storybook benches, and the ‘Flight of the Dragon’ 3-D Mural. One nomination stated that she was ‘instrumental’ in launching both the NCCIL and Abilene Education Foundation.