The annual Sonora Chamber of Commerce Banquet was held on Friday, April 22, 2022 at 6:30 p.m. at the Sutton County Civic Center.

The evening began with a catered meal by Pit Stop BBQ. Executive Director Donna Garrett welcomed everyone and introduced her current board of directors.

President Becca Love, Vice President Kevin Litterell, Secretary/Treasurer Angie Bryant, Whitt Peaslee, Makayla Snyder, Brenda Mungia and Caleb Jantz. Garrett asked outgoing member Emily Oliver to the stage to accept a thank you gift for her past 3 years of service.

She introduced Laura Lewis, District Director with Senator Charles Perry’s office. Lewis presented certificates from the Senator to all the winners of the evening.

The evening continued with a live podcast from Matt Killough and Scott Gaskill called “Scat Chat.” They kept the crowd entertained and laughing and did a wonderful job.

Killough was the emcee for the rest of the evening where he announced all the nominees for each category as well as the winners.
Educator of the Year was Mrs. Kathleen Nolen. Her bio was written by her daughter Avery Nolen.

Educator of the Year Kathleen Etheredge Nolen was born in Midland, TX to Sonny and Jerry Etheredge and went on to graduate from Midland Lee High School in 1988.

Through high school, she taught swim lessons and was a lifeguard going on to eventually manage the pool at Greentree Country Club. While at Lee she was an accomplished cheerleader and swimmer until the swim coach yelled at her. At this point she decided to focus solely on cheerleading, going on to Angelo State University where she was a “high flyer” on the nationally ranked ASU squad, also earning a Bachelors of Arts degree in Psychology in 3 ½ years.

During this time, she met her husband, Craig Nolen. After graduation she was hired at the Battered Women's Shelter of West Texas where she worked for 1 year as case worker/counselor, providing aid and shelter to women and children who were victims of domestic violence as well as helped rehabilitate women struggling with drug abuse.

She then decided to get her teaching certification through Region 18 and quickly landed a job at the Midland Lee Freshman Campus working for her long time mentor and friend Mary Beth Hughes. She taught the ED unit and was the cheerleading coach at Lee Freshman for about 7 years, working to serve children with learning, mental, physical, and emotional disabilities.

She then came in from work one day and told Craig to his surprise, she was done teaching for a while! At the time, she had 3 girls. Avery, Abby and Audry.
She wanted to give her all to raising, teaching and loving her family. Not long after that decision, she agreed to move to Schleicher County with Craig and the girls to begin ranching and raising their family. Shortly after the decision was final, she was overjoyed with the news of her pregnancy with Caleb Lee.
Another 6 years later she decided it was time for her to return to the workforce. Sonora ISD was the blessed recipient of her service over the past 14 years.

While working in Sonora, she has made a huge impact on the lives of many students who have taken seat in her classroom.

Recently, Mrs. Nolen has contributed countless extracurricular hours improving her Life Skills Program where she teaches students crucial life skills such as: cooking, housekeeping, grocery shopping, money management skills, and social skills. She and her students volunteer in the cafeteria serving lunch for students and teachers, as well as providing staff lunches that her students prepare and sell weekly. She uses these activities to teach her students many life skills that will prepare them for life after high school.

Kathleen has spent a life devoted to others. Raising, teaching and serving. Her home, her school and her community. She loves her family, she loves Sonora ISD and last of all but certainly not least, she loves her students!
She spends countless hours away from school working on ways to better equip her kids for their life after school. Her students will always hold a special place in heart. Ramon, Sam Luke, Emily, David, Sebastian, Tiki, Josh and so so man
y more. Her family could not be more proud of her. She’s the “Real Deal”!
We believe she is truly a difference maker in her home, her school, her community and her world! There is no one more deserving of Educator of the Year. Way to go Mrs. Nolen.

Business of year- Snowflake Donuts- Sophin & Hout Nhek
This year’s Business of the Year has quite the story. They came from Cambodia in 1979 and were sent to Thailand and the Philippines until they were able to come to America in 1982.

They spent 1982- 2010 in Houston, Texas and decided the city life just wasn’t for them. They moved to Sonora in 2010 and opened their business. They have 2 sons. The Nhek’s feel blessed to call Sonora their home.

Citizen of the year – Kevin Litterell
Kevin Litterell was born in Borger Texas. He graduated Borger HS and went straight into the military. He served our country in the Army in the 82nd Airborne division in communications. During the four years he served, he fought in Dessert Storm and was stationed in Germany.

When he returned from Germany he began working in Borger at Glassix where he did automobile pinstriping and window tinting for nine years.

Litterell then went to work for Panhandle Railroad in Borger up until he was hired by the United States Postal Service in 2000. He married his wife Pennie in December of 2000 and they had their first child Brandon in January of 2007 and their daughter ShaeLee in September of 2010.

Kevin started his Postal career as a carrier. He held true to “The Postal Motto” that is associated with the American Postal Worker…” Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”

He has truly worked in all these conditions. He even had to walk home due to his vehicle getting stuck in very deep snow, it was just a block but still.
After many years as a carrier, he moved to the clerk position for several years including covering several other offices under the title of “Temporary Supervisor” and “Temporary Post Master”.

The opportunity to become Post Master of Sonora was a huge accomplishment and well deserved. He has now been the Post Master of Sonora for five years and truly goes above and beyond to help this community.

Litterell joined the Lions Club shortly after moving to Sonora in April of 2017 and not long after, became a board member of the Sonora Chamber of Commerce.

Kevin has truly been an asset to this community and has served Sonora through his job and his volunteer work. Thank you, Kevin and congratulations, on Citizen of the Year!!!

The Conservation Rancher of the Year award was given by the Edwards Plateau S&WCD. The award was given to Mrs. Marsha Cardwell.

Miss Sutton County Taryn Hamm was there to pass out all the nominee certificates. She is the 18 year old daughter of Bethany and Jamie Arispe and a senior at Sonora High School and plans to attend Howard College in the fall where she plans to major in the medical field.

The chamber board of directors would like to say thank you to everyone that attended the banquet. We appreciate the community support.