Grambling Chamber honors local indiviuals

Dr. Ponton and other local indiviuals honorees

The Greater Grambling Chamber of Commerce held the 7th Annual Community Contributions Banquet on Oct. 23.
The event served as a way to recognize the commitment of local individuals who serve the community of Grambling.
The award winners of the Community Contributions Banquet are nominated and chosen amongst members of the Chamber of Commerce. Before being chosen, each nominee must meet the criteria which is associated with each award. Award honorees included Coach Wilbert Ellis, The Domestic Abuse Resistance Team, State Rep Patrick O. Jefferson, Mr. Robert j. Clark, and Mrs. Ruby Lee Weekly Billups.
“It’s been a very enjoyable occasion,” said Nettie Goree, treasurer of the Chamber of Commerce said following the award ceremony. “All of the honorees deserve to be recognized.”
 The Interim Vice President of Student Affairs,  David C. Ponton was given a special recognition award for his selflessness and genuine concern for the well-being of students.  Ponton received his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Southern University A&M in Baton Rouge in 1986. He later earned his master of science degree in sports administration and doctorate of developmental education from Grambling State University. Throughout his tenure at GSU, Ponton has touched the lives of many students and faculty of GSU. Most people familiar with Ponton fondly identify him as “Coach P”.
“I’m glad they recognized Coach P because he’s done a lot for GSU,” said Miss Juneteeth 2014, Kimberly Spikes of Bogulusa, in a post event interview.
Ponton’s genuine desire for the success of GSU and its student body is evident. He described that he is humbled yet honored to receive a special recognition award at the banquet and encourages students to become leaders in the community as well.
“I think the first thing they should do is put themselves in the position, both academically and socially, so that they can help their community,” said Ponton.
Although this year’s banquet was the mostly attended up to this point and sold out, feelings were mixed about changes to the event. The annual banquet was moved from its usual location in the Black and Gold Room on the campus of Grambling State University to the Ruston Civic Center.
“We’ve had some heartburn about it . . . For years we have been in the Black and Gold Room on Campus,” said Barbara McIntyre, President of the Chamber of Commerce.   
According to McIntyre, the change in location was necessary due to changes in cost associated with holding the event. She also explainsedthat the move turned out to be beneficial because the event was able to accommodate more guest. Because the Annual Community Contributions Banquet is the only fundraising event that the Chamber of Commerce holds, the ability to gain revenue from the tickets is vital.
The purpose of the Greater Grambling Chamber of Commerce is to encourage businesses within the Grambling community. Anyone who is interested in joining the Greater Grambling Chamber of Commerce is welcomed to become a member. McIntyre described that one does not have to be a business owner nor a resident of Grambling though.
“Anyone who has a heart for Grambling, we welcome their membership,” said McIntyre.  
The Greater Grambling Chamber of Commerce also welcomes students to take part in internship opportunities that are offered. Meetings are held at the Greater Grambling Chamber of Commerce office, located in the village across the street from the Post Office every Tuesday at 5:30p.m.