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Published 3/7/2020

Durand Chamber Announces Annual Award Winners

Winners Will Be Honored at Chamber's Annual Dinner


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Each year, the Greater Durand Area Chamber of Commerce invites members to nominate persons to be honored for their generosity of time, talent and effort invested in the community. The Chamber has announced the winners that will be honored at the Chamber's annual dinner, set this year for March 19th at the Durand VFW Hall.

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Business of the Year

The Greater Durand Area Chamber of Commerce Inc has chosen Graff Chevrolet Durand as the 2020 Business of The Year. Graff Chevrolet was recognized for their philanthropic work in the community.

Graff of Durand has been committed to community involvement for over 20 years.

Among their hundreds of sponsorships are:

· AYSO Soccer
· End of Summer Cruisin'
· Durand Railroad Days
· Durand Downtown Beautification Project
· Durand Veteran's Benefit Concert
· Durand's End of Summer Car Cruise
· Durand Robotics
· Durand Backpack Program
· Durand Youth Baseball
· Durand Youth Basketball
· Durand Marching Band
· Corunna Athletic Department
· Corunna Robotics
· Curwood Festival
· Cruise the Pits
· Habitat for Humanity
· Gaines Rodeo
· Shiawassee County Fair
· Shiawassee Underprivileged Children

Pictured: Yvonne Ryan, Chamber Board President and Chip Watt, General Manager, Graff Chevrolet Durand. 


Citizen of the Year

The Greater Durand Area Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce Barbara Dingman has been chosen as the 2020 Citizen of the Year.

Barb is a 1962 graduate of Durand Area High School. She has been active in the community most of her adult life. Barb has donated her time and efforts to many organizations, among them, Durand Area Schools, Durand Athletic Booster, Operation Freedom, Voice of Democracy, and the Annual Chicken Barbecue. Barb served as Railroad Day Parade Chair for over a decade and she co-chaired the Cancer Women’s Golf Classic. She is currently the VFW Auxiliary President.

Barb Dingman is a shining example of volunteerism. The Chamber is honored to recognize her as the 2020 Citizen of the Year. 


Organization of the Year

Greater Durand Area Chamber of Commerce Inc has named Burns Grange as the Organization of the Year 2020.

Burns Grange was organized in 1873. The group focused on Literary, art, political and farming topics.  Burns Grange was also dedicated community philanthropy. The focus of Burns Grange has remained steady for 147 years. The current members are still actively involved in the community.

Among their projects:
• large tote bags with a towel, washcloth, blanket, socks, soap, shampoo, comb, lotion, lip balm, tooth brush and paste, deodorant, hand sanitizer, notepad and pen, for the Safe House in Owosso.
• Donations for food pantries, Christmas Baskets and other community projects
• Provided funds for the victims of the 2019 Tornado victims
• Retired Railroader luncheons
• Donations to benefits that help those in need
• The Adopt A Child Christmas Program at the Michigan School for the Deaf
• Michigan State Grange Deaf Fund to help with various projects to help kids at Michigan School for the Deaf, camp supplies for the Alexander Graham Bell camp, and any other projects involving the deaf community

The public is invited to make reservations at the Chamber Dinner honoring Burns Grange and the other 2020 award recipients to be held on March 19 at the VFW in Durand, For more information please contact the chamber at 989.288.3715 or at 


Volunteers of the Year

The Greater Durand Area Chamber of Commerce Inc has announced that Kent and Terry Edwards and Ted and Becky Hamilton have been chosen as the 2020 Volunteers of the Year.
Kent and Terry Edwards have been actively involved with Railroad Days since 1989. Kent became president in 1992. Kent oversees all aspects of Railroad Days. Kent has worked the community's Annual Chicken BBQ for many years. Kent, along with Steve Perrin, began a youth wrestling program that has been giving young grapplers their start since 1982. Kent and Terri have been active in Durand School activities and other community events

Terry is also involved in Railroad Days . Terry is currently the Railroad Day committee secretary; she is also responsible for the Railroad Days Booklet. Terry has held various positions in the organization. She is a Durand Lioness and participates in a variety of community activities.

Ted Hamilton is actively involved in Railroad Days as Vice president of the organization. He works all aspects of the event along with Kent. Ted is also involved with the chicken BBQ, Lions Club, the Byron FFA Alumni and has served as a judge at the Railroad Days Royalty pageant.

Becky is the District Governor for the Lions, where she travels extensively to meet with other Lioness and Lions groups, presenting awards and promoting the Lions Program. She is involved with Railroad Days, has been involved in school activities and local events.

The Hamiltons and Edwards will be honored at the Annual Chamber Dinner on March 19. The public is invited to attend, but reservations are needed. Please contact the Chamber at 989.288.3715 for more information.

The chamber's annual dinner social hour begins at 5:15pm with dinner starting at 6:15.  Dinner is catered by Smokin’ in the D and Riverside Market. There will be a cash bar. Speakers will be Durand City Manager, Colleen O’Toole and Shiawassee Economic Development Partnership President, Justin Horvath. The cost is $45. Reservations can be made by calling 989.288.3715. Debit and credit cards are accepted. This is a great networking event and gives everyone a chance to get to know their fellow Chamber members.

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