FREMONT – The Fremont Area Chamber of Commerce celebrated their 139th year with a banquet last Friday night, honoring nine businesses, awarding three among them, and inducting two men into the Chamber Hall of Fame.
In the “Large Business of the Year” category, Cargill Premix & Nutrition, Gene Steffy Auto Group and Royal Canin were honored and recognized; Gene Steffy Auto Group took home the win in this category.
The “Large Business of the Year” award is dedicated to recognizing businesses with over 25 employees that provide innovative products and services, continued growth and economic support of the Fremont community.
Finalists in the running for “Small Business of the Year” were Allied Appliance, Moser Memorial Chapel and Nebraska Orthopaedic Physical Therapy; the award went to Allied Appliance.
This award recognizes those same outstanding characteristics of the “Large Business” category, but in those area companies that have fewer than 25 employees.
Finally, the “Workforce Game Changer” award is dedicated to recognizing businesses that provide an innovative and supportive work environment, who take involvement in the engagement, development and growth of employees. Finalists were Butler Ag Equipment, Rosenbauer Aerials, and the eventual winner: Nye Health Services.
The Banquet also took time to induct two men into the Chamber’s Hall of Fame. The Business Hall of Fame was established in 2007 to recognize individuals whose remarkable contributions have shaped Fremont’s economy. The inductees for 2019 were Marvin Welstead, and the late James Moore Jr.
Welstead, who will celebrate his 98th birthday in the month of February, is a retired banker from Fremont, well known for his dedicated service to helping those impacted by Alzheimer’s and to furthering research in order to find a cure for the disease. Welstead has dedicated his years to community service in other ways, as well. He has served on the Fremont Area Community Foundation board of directors since its beginning.
Welstead is a former President of the Fremont Area Chamber of Commerce and President of the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce and Industry. He was a member of the Midland University Board of Trustees, and was a charter member and president of the Fremont Industrial Foundation (now GFDC.) He was also a charter member and treasurer of the Community Chest (now called the Fremont Area United Way), co-chair of the Fremont Area Art Association’s building campaign, and is a life member of the Shriners.
James Moore Jr moved to Fremont in 1956, as the first employee of the newly chartered First State Bank.
Moore was promoted to President in 1968. He became chairman of the board in 1987 when he and ten other Fremont businessmen purchased the bank. Moore helped several area businesses get their start and could always see the good in people. Moore invested his time into Fremont, serving as chairman of the YMCA Foundation, Fremont Area United Way and Fremont Industrial Foundation (now known as the Greater Fremont Development Council). Moore died at the age of 90 in Fremont on November 13, 2017 – his award was accepted by surviving family at Friday’s banquet.
Photos courtesy of the Fremont Area Chamber of Commerce. See more from the banquet and all around Fremont on their Facebook page.