The Bridge City Chamber of Commerce honored Jamey Harrison and The Record Newspapers at their annual banquet on Thursday, Feb. 17. Harrison was named 2010 Citizen of the Year and The Record was named 2010 Business of the Year.

Kirk Ellender, a Bridge City ISD school board member, had the pleasure of presenting Harrison with the Citizen of the Year award.

“Three years ago, Jamey Harrison came to us as a candidate for our superintendent seat,” Ellender said. “Here was a guy that, in a very short period of time, had been a teacher, a coach, an assistant principle, a principle and a deputy superintendent. What we saw in Jamey was a man who was willing to fall in love with Bridge City.”

The night of Harrison’s second interview, the school board asked him become the superintendent at BCISD.

“What we found out in the first year or so was this man’s energy was refreshing and exhausting at the same time,” Ellender said. “He’s a very spontaneous guy, kind of off the cuff and likes to do things at the last minute. I tell you this, there weren’t any dull moments, especially in that first year. We felt like we chose the right guy.”

When Hurricane Ike hit in September 2008, Harrison kicked it into gear. Within hours, Harrison had portable buildings headed to Bridge City, dozens of contractors ready to work on the school buildings and Harrison had already set a date to have kids back in school. Harrison and BCISD had the students back in school in 19 days.

“I heard someone say one time, ‘everyone has their defining moments,'” Ellender said. “The storm and everything we went through over the last couple of years was Bridge City’s defining moment and it was definitely  part of Jamey’s defining moment.”

Harrison humbly accepted the Citizen of the Year award, not for himself, but on behalf of the entire Bridge City School District.

“I fully recognize that the award is not an individual award,” Harrison said. “This is an award that is for the entire district and it’s for this entire community. I simply am lucky enough to be the guy to accept it.”

Harrison spoke on the uniqueness of Bridge City. He mentioned that in the short time he’s been here, he’s recognized what a special community Bridge City is.

Harrison became the superintendent for Bridge City ISD and has diligently worked to serve this community since July 16, 2007. In January, Harrison announced that he is going to be leaving BCISD to become the Deputy Director for the University Scholastic League (UIL) in Austin.

“This is an extremely special place and an extremely special community,” Harrison said. “I have been blessed to take an unbeleiveable job that many folks would consider a dream job. I had to be talked into it. I said ‘no’ three times. It’s not because it’s not a wonderful job, a dream job. It’s because this community is that special, because this school is that special.”

Harrison plans on finishing out the school year with BCISD.

Judge Carl Thibodeaux presented The Record Newspapers with the 2010 Business of the Year award from the Bridge City Chamber of Commerce. Roy Dunn is the publisher of The Record Newspapers.

“The first words out of the honorable Roy Dunn’s mouth when we walked in was ‘Man, who called you to introduce me tonight?'” Thibodeux said.

“I’ve known Roy since 1963 when I opened my pharmacy in West Orange,” Thibodeaux said. “We’ve been friends for many, many years and I’m proud to call him my friend.”

Dunn was born and raised in Abbeyville, La., but has been a long-time resident of Bridge City since 1955. His family has had business interests in BC since 1926 and, for many years, the Dunn family owned the only motel in town.

His three children, five grandchildren and  three great-grandchildren have all attended Bridge City schools.

His wife, Phyllis; son, Mark; and daughter, Karen have all been involved with the papers over the years.

The Record Newspapers include The County Record, The Penny Record and

The Penny Record was started by Walter Gaston in the 60s and was bought by Dunn in 1995. In the mid 90s, the County Record made it’s debut. The expansion led to the widest circulation of any newspaper in Orange County.

The Record’s web site, TheRecordLive.Com, made it’s debut in 2008 and is one of the fastest growing Web sites in Orange County. The Record has even expanded to reach their readers by using Facebook and Twitter.

The original office was destroyed due to Hurricane Ike. The staff is split between two offices, one in Bridge City and one in Orange. The Bridge City office houses the distribution staff and the advertising sales reps, while the Orange office houses the editorial staff. One thing that hasn’t changed is the readership and acceptance of the paper.

The Penny Record has been in existence for over 50 years, which makes it eligible for a Historical Marker. The Record is an award-winning newspaper, winning awards in every category possible, and continues to be the only free, hometown newspaper in Orange County. The Record is locally owned and operated, which is rare by today’s standards.

“The Penny Record has grown with the community,” Dunn said. “It’s had it’s ups and downs. The advertisers support the paper because there’s no charge [for the reader]. Every citizen gets a [free] paper regardless if they want it or not!”

Upon receiving the Business of the Year award, Dunn wanted to show is appreciation to the Citizen of the Year recipient.

“I want to thank you, [Jamey Harrison], for the wonderful job that you’ve done for us here,” Dunn said. “I want to congratulate you on the great job you did. I’ve always known you’d be passing through, you’re just too bright not to just go up somewhere. It’s been good having you here and having you work with us.”

About Nicole Gibbs

Editor of The Record Newspapers