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9th Annual HOT HOST, Hero of Tourism, Heroes of Tourism and “Hats Off” Recipients

By Nanci Liles



Meeting hosts and community volunteers gathered to celebrate their role in tourism’s $374 million impact on Taylor County at the annual HOT Host Awards. Abilene’s HOT Hosts – or “Heroes in Tourism” brought in 60% of Abilene’s revenue from meetings and events this past fiscal year – over $13 million in direct revenue to the community. A record number of HOT HOSTS attended the awards ceremony. {{more}}To qualify as a HOT Host, a meeting must book 100 room nights at local hotels, generating hotel/motel taxes and venue taxes for the community. Abilene hosted 263 meetings last year. The Abilene Convention and Visitors Bureau presented the following awards at the annual HOT HOST awards:Hospitality Heroes – professionals in the hospitality industry who are nominated by HOT HOSTS for demonstrating outstanding service and hospitality. This year’s two “Heroes” are David Davis, Rose Park Tennis Center and Dwight Aston, owner of Towne Crier Restaurant. David Davis is this year’s recipient of the “Hero of Tourism” award. His great reputation in state and local tennis arena has allowed Abilene to be a favorable site of tournaments, hosting countless UIL, USTA and regional tournaments like the Highway 80 and Rose Park Classic, generating great economic impact into our city.The desire to serve and go that “extra mile” has earned Towne Crier restaurant the “Heroes of Tourism” award. Dwight purchased the Towne Crier in 1977. He is known for his compassion for people and devotion to God. For many years he hosted a Thanksgiving Feast for the homeless. Jennilee Latimer helped with the presentations. The Hot Host annual meeting was held at The Grace. Photo by Sienna Miller.The ACVB is proud to present The “Hats Off Award” to board member and volunteer Myra Dean for her promotion of Abilene on a daily basis and promoting Abilene’s hospitality during the production of Prairie Home Companion hosted by KACU last October. Myra Dean served as ACVB Chairman 2000-2001 and helped create the HOT HOST program. Nanci Liles, Executive Director of Convention and Visitors Bureau with Myra Dean winner of this year’s “Hats off Award.” Photo by Sienna Miller.A local artist, JV Johnson, owner of Mine by Design, created a gift especially for our tourism heroes. Each year, a new item is added to make this a truly HOT collection.The ACVB recognized 69 HOT HOSTS, representing 89 meetings that each generated at least 100 room nights. This is 34% of the total meetings Abilene hosted this year, and these meetings generated $13 million. L to R David and Jan Davis, David was recipient of the “Hero of Tourism” award. Photo by Sienna Miller.HOT HOSTS generating more than 100 room nights:Kris Anderson, Disability Resources, Inc.Guy Bailey, American Junior Golf Assn.Chris Barnes, West Texas Al-AnonCoach Britt Bonneau, Lone Star ConferenceBarbara Bridges, Fort Phantom Bridge Unit 224Ricki Brown, Friends of the Abilene Public LibraryBrady Bryce, Abilene Christian UniversityTerry Bull, Texas State Genealogical SocietyCoach John Byington, American Southwest ConferenceCoach Brent Camp, Abilene Independent School District Coach Mike Campbell, Abilene Christian UniversityCoach Jerrod Cook, University Interscholastic LeagueTim Crowe, Little League BaseballCoach Tri Danley Wylie Independent School DistrictDavid Davis, United States Tennis Assn.Nate Davis, National Collegiate Athletic Assn.Edie Deichmann, Evangelical Lutheran Church in AmericaMary Jane Dewitt, Abilene Kennel ClubBeth Doan, Alcoholics AnonymousCoach Sterling Doty , Texas High School Powerlifting Assn.Cheryl Edgar , USA Jump RopeJennifer Ellison, Abilene Christian UniversityLinda Fawcett , Texas Assn. of Schools of ArtClay Freeman, University Interscholastic LeagueFreddy Gillentine , Texas State Assn. of Free Will BaptistsBen Gonzalez, LULACJimmy Green, Big Country Soccer Assn.Gary Grubbs, Abilene Sports AlliancePhil Guitar, Western Heritage ClassicCarolyn Gully, Abilene Spectacular CuttingJack Guzman , Texas Amateur Softball Assn.Donnie Hart, Texas Amateur Softball Assn.Coach Mark Hathorn American Southwest ConferenceTim Haynes, University Interscholastic LeagueLynda Hill, National Assn. of Postmasters of the U.S.Nelda Hodges , Texas Assn. For Symphony OrchestrasKit Horne, Texas State 4-H Adult Reining ClinicCharles Hughes, Team Roping Assn.Barney Johnson , Texas Shrine Assn.Jason Johnson, Abilene Slowpitch Softball Assn.Rochelle Johnson, Texas High School Rodeo Assn.Dean Kennedy, Abilene DragstripDanny Kittley, Kittley Sports ProductionsTim Lancaster, Northwest Texas Hospital Assn.Gaye May, Texas Christian Schools Assn.Coach Jon McAden, Abilene Independent School DistrictJohn Neese, American Southwest ConferenceTommy O’Brien, Texas Water Utilities Assn.Coach Cammie Petree, University Interscholastic LeagueCoach Di Di Pierce, Abilene Independent School DistrictRob Poor, Abilene SpeedwayPriscilla Rayford Templeton, Code Enforcement Assn. of TexasCorrie Reed, Polk Key City Invitational Girls Basketball ClassicRegina Sanders, USA Volleyball – North Texas RegionCoach Fred Scott, Abilene High SchoolWes Sims , Texas Farmers UnionJon Smith, Prime Time SportsCoach Veronica Snow, American Southwest ConferenceScott Sowers, Texas Forensic Assn.Pat Stafford , Texas Assn. of Domestic RelationsCrystal Stark, Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative ServicesDon Steele, Zen Sports GroupJeff Stewart, Funeral Directors Life Insurance CompanyDona Triplitt, Big Country Quarter Horse Assn.Anita Vigil, Amateur Athletic UnionGlen Webb , Texas Wildlife Assn.Rev. Dr. James Webbs, Original West Texas Baptist District Assn., Inc.Coach Julie Young, Abilene Independent School DistrictMarilyn Miller, Windham School

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