Press Release, Beckie Moore
Wednesday, March 31, 2021, Hope, Arkansas, The Hope-Hempstead County Chamber of Commerce is excited to announce the plans for their upcoming 2021 Annual Meeting & Auction.
The Facebook Auction will open on Friday, May 14 at 4:00 PM and will close on Monday, May 17 at 4:00 PM. Hosting the auction on Facebook allows the community to bid on items throughout the weekend. This will be the third Facebook Auction for the chamber.
Facing Forward “A Whole New World” is the theme for this year’s Annual Meeting that will take place on Monday, May 24 from 4:30 PM – 6:00 PM. Adhering to guidelines and restrictions in place at Hempstead Hall, the chamber will offer a new twist for this year’s event.
Jake Bequette will be the 2021 Annual Meeting Keynote Speaker. Jake was born and raised in Little Rock, Arkansas, where he attended Little Rock Catholic High School. He played football at the University of Arkansas from 2007-2011, where he was an All-SEC defensive end in 2010 and 2011. He was a third-round draft pick of the New England Patriots in the 2012 NFL Draft, where he played until 2015 – including the Super Bowl XLIX championship team in 2014. After his football career, Jake decided to join the Army. He commissioned as an Infantry lieutenant, graduated from the U.S. Army Ranger School, and deployed to Iraq with the 101st Airborne Division. Since leaving the Army and returning home to Arkansas in January, he has launched The Arkansas Fund – a nonprofit that is dedicated to helping Arkansas small businesses that have been struggling due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since launching in February, The Arkansas Fund has raised over $100,000 and distributed 29 grants to struggling small businesses statewide.
The first business in Arkansas to receive funds from The Arkansas Fund was Tailgaters. Sharon Caldwell said, “Jake Bequette and The Arkansas Fund made it possible for Tailgaters to receive much-needed assistance. He made his way to Hope during the snowstorm and joined John and me at our restaurant in order to present the money to us. We will be forever grateful to Jake and those who contributed to The Arkansas Fund.”
Christy Burns, Board President, shared, “We typically host a banquet in conjunction with our meeting, but restrictions, in the banquet rooms, will not allow us to do so if we want to extend the invitation to a group larger than 100 people. Therefore, we are going to offer the opportunity to attend the meeting by joining us in the Hempstead Hall Auditorium.”
Several key points of interest are in place for this year’s meeting. The time for the meeting will be adjusted to take into account that dinner will not be offered. The community will gather at 4:30 PM and will be dismissed at 6:00 PM, so they may enjoy dinner in one of the local restaurants. The chamber is currently contacting local restaurants in asking them to offer a 10% discount for those who present an Annual Meeting program upon ordering dinner.
Since last year’s meeting was held virtually, the chamber is particularly excited to offer an in-person gathering this year. The evening will begin with a Celebration of Life, in memoriam moment, for those in our community who passed away in 2020 & early 2021.
During the course of the evening, a United Way board member will present their annual awards and acknowledgements. One of the highlights of the Annual Meeting is the announcement of Citizen, Educator, Business and Nonprofit of the Year. The chamber reminds everyone that they are still accepting nominations for these awards. Please mail your nomination letter(s) to the chamber at PO Box 250. Extended deadline is May 3.
Tickets for the meeting will be $20.00 per person. To reserve your ticket(s) early, please call the chamber at 870.777.3640 or email [email protected]. Sponsorship opportunities will soon be released.