It was a giant night, as Blue Earth community members gathered in celebration.
The 73rd Annual Chamber Banquet held on Jan. 17 served a double purpose a birthday party and an awards ceremony.
The banquet included birthday cupcakes for the Giant's birthday party, but it also included recognition of the Business of the Year and the Community Service Person of the Year.
"It's the Giant's 35th birthday,"?says Blue Earth chamber director Cindy Lyon. "Now we're ready to kick off a giant year."
So, candles were lit and the happy birthday song was sung.
Then, the birthday celebration turned into a celebration for the award recipients.
Brent Christensen the executive director of the Minnesota Telecom Alliance was present to introduce Bill Eckles and Bevcomm as the 2013 Business of the Year.
"We were board members together for many years," Christensen says. "Bill and Bevcomm are very deserving of this recognition."
Bill Eckles then took time to give thanks to the community before accepting the award.
"We need to give credit where credit is due,"?he says. "We have 104 employees who do not accept the status quo."
The employees unwillingness to settle is something Eckles considers one of the main reasons Bevcomm has been, and continues to be, successful in the community.
Eckles also said without community support his family wouldn't have been able to continue in business for generation after generation.
He goes on to add the future of the telecommunication business will continue to change and develop throughout the next several years.
"Our job will be to continue bringing the best quality of service to all of you as best we can,"?Eckles says.
Eckles who took over the company from his father, Neil, also thanked his parents.
"And, thanks to my parents for giving me the job after a 27 year-long interview,"?he joked.
After Eckles accepted his award, Mike Johnson took the microphone to introduce the winner of the community service award.
"Chuck Frundt and I were business partners for 40-plus years," he says. "That makes our business older than the Giant."
He went on to share the many ways that Frundt has given back to the community, through Boy Scouts, Kiwanis and much more.
"Chuck epitomizes community service,"?Johnson adds. "We love you for all of your service."
Frundt stood up to accept his award, but first he gave praise to the Chamber.
"Thanks to the Chamber for such a great event,"?he says. "I've been attending this banquet for many years."
He cites that as one of the reasons he hadn't expected to win the community service award.
"We have a wonderful community because there are so many people who dedicate their time to community service," Frundt says. "That's a very important thing and it's something I?hope to do for as long as I can."
As Frundt accepted his trophy for 2013 Community Service Award, the audience stood in applause for all of the time and services he has given back to the community.
The Chamber of Commerce board of directors also took time during the banquet to hold their annual meeting.
Former chair of the board, Jessica Holland, passed the title on to the new chair, Joseph Bromeland, who shared his vision for the new year.
"I hope to see a solid plan in place for the new Chamber building," he says. "That's going to be a great thing for the Chamber and the city of Blue Earth."