The Greater Orange Area Chamber of Commerce will begin its Mardi Gras season Tuesday, Jan. 15, with the annual dinner meeting as Billy Burrow will be installed as the 2008 chairman of the board.

Also, the Chamber will honor Peter and Patty Cloeren as Citizens of the Year for the contributions to the community.

The dinner will be at 6:30 p.m. at the VFW Hall on Texas 87, and the hall will be “decorated in splendor for your entertainment.” Dress is casual with participants encouraged to wear Mardi Gras T-shirts or sweatshirts, which can be purchased from the Chamber.

Tickets to the dinner are $25 each and reservations may be made by called the Chamber at 883-3536. Chamber members may have the admission billed to their Chamber accounts, or the fee may be paid at the door.

The Cloerens were nominated for Citizens of the Year by Gary Stelly, along with Corky and Betty Harmon.

Stelly, in his nomination letter, cited Cloeren as the president and CEO of Cloeren Industries, an international corporation with headquarters in Orange. “And with offices around the country and the world, he continues to stay centered in Orange, employing 220 people,” Stelly said.

In addition to being a businessman and corporate executive, Cloeren has become a photography enthusiast. “Seeing that this area did not have a good photography store, he opened Infocus a couple of years ago,” Stelly said.

Some people told Cloeren he needed to open the photography store in Beaumont to draw enough business, but he opened it in Orange, where it draws photographers from around the region. “Infocus was born as the only store of its kind between New Orleans and Houston, and now they rival those areas with their inventory and printing expertise,” Stelly said.

“Cloeren is known around town as a tough businessman, and most successful ones are, but he’s also given close to $200,000 to area schools and continues to make donations to various projects today,” Stelly said.

The Harmons cited Mrs. Cloeren’s work with Infocus, which includes a gift shop, which she runs, along with her volunteer work in the community.

“She is very much involved in volunteering through the Chamber and supports the efforts through foundations for educating our students,” the Harmons wrote.
Mrs. Cloeren is a sustaining member of the Service League of Orange and is also a member of the First Baptist Church and the Greater Orange Area Chamber of Commerce. She also worked with the Chamber’s Room Makeover project and is a member of the Ivy League Garden Club. She is on the boards of directors for the Little Cypress-Mauriceville Education Foundation and the Lamar State College-Orange Foundation.

The Chamber dinner will also include the installation of new officers, the community service business award, the non-profit business award, the ambassador of the year award and the committee chair of the year award.