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story.lead_photo.caption Kristy Whisenhunt, the recipient of the Better Business Bureau Scholarship at Texas A&M-Texarkana, poses for a picture with Dwayne Butler on Wednesday at the Better Business Bureau 11th annual Torch Awards at Northridge Country Club in Texarkana, Texas. Photo by Hunt Mercier / Texarkana Gazette.

Local businesses and civic organizations got recognized by the Better Business Bureau, the civic organization that supports ethics and excellence as well as community service in business. Andy Fisher, president of BBB serving Central Louisiana and the Ark-La-Tex, said that the BBB and what it does helps increase the value of businesses to their community.

Gallery: Businesses, service groups earn honors

"We seek to recognize those businesses which display those positive traits and are good partners to their communities. That is what the Torch Awards are all about," he said. "Those businesses that get recognized are submitted either by representatives from that business or nominated by others who want to see that business recognized."

Once submissions have been made, the Better Business Bureau selects a panel of judges from various businesses and civic organizations and a few weeks before the Torch Awards ceremony, the judges select finalists and the winner out of each category.

"This is about excellence and community," Fisher said. "The businesses and organizations nominated don't even have to be members of the BBB."

This year, the finalists and winners were:

 

Integrity Award FinalIsts

  •  Baker-Butler Pools & Spas
  •  Acey Burglar Alarm Systems, Inc.
  •  Artex Electric Company/Service First Pro

Winner

  •  Artex Electric Company/Service First Pro

 

Customer Commitment Finalists

  •  Cook's Heating & Air Conditioning
  •  Gayle's Apparel & Accesories
  •  Harman Lawn Care & Landscaping

Winner

  •  Cook's Heating & Air Conditioning

 

Good Neighbor Finalists

  •  Cooper Service Tire
  •  Farmers Bank & Trust
  •  Miss Dickens Agency

Winner

  •  Farmers Bank & Trust

 

Not-For-Profit Finalists

  •  CASA for Children
  •   Opportunities, Inc.
  •  Temple Memorial Rehabilitation Center

Winner

  •  Opportunities, Inc.

 

The winner of the BBB Scholarship at Texas A&M-Texarkana was Kristy Whisenhunt. Wisenhunt has a 4.0 GPA and the scholarship will go towards her MBA.

The featured guest speaker was Col. Stephen M. York, commander, Red River Army Depot, who noted in his remarks the business and economic relationship RRAD has with the surrounding community. He discussed the layoffs last year, but said an upswing was coming.

"We've added missions to our workload and we are now in the process of restocking our inventory after a decade of conflict. And we've begun rehiring people who previously were laid off last year. RRAD is coming out of a lull period, with a facility that experiences high and low cycles. I believe we have come through the current lull period and are looking at things picking up again."

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