Jan. 18, community and Anamosa Chamber of Commerce members gathered in the gym of the Lawrence Community Center for the organization’s annual dinner, where the annual awards honored those that helped to make a difference in the group.

The director’s award, handed out by chamber director Blair Lawton, was given to Leanna Husmann of the Jones County Volunteer Center. In explaining his choice, Lawton said Husmann helped plan reindeer run and helped train volunteers for Pumpkinfest.

“Leanna’s a great organizer. She brings a lot of great energy into what she does, volunteers and activists really thrive off of that,” he said. “I personally hope Leanna and I get to organize many different events together over the years.”

For newcomer of the year, Eileen Bates of Two Scoops, who also serves on the chamber’s board, was the selection.

“Who doesn’t love ice cream?” chamber president Shannon Frink said.

The community engagement champion for the year was the Teufelhund Veterans Group, citing their great volunteerism and partnership with the chamber.

“They were instrumental in helping us run the Pumpkinfest car show. We couldn’t have done it without you guys,” Frink said.

The volunteer of the year was Amy Fuller Belding of Blu Track.

“She’s brought fun to our annual events. She helped organize all the kids’ events at Pumpkinfest, which is a huge undertaking,” Frink said.

The event served as a way to update community members on the year that was and the year to come. Over the past year, the chamber saw a 40% increase in memberships and an increase, not only in events, but in participation of the events.

For the coming year, the chamber announced an Emerald Run/Walk 5K to be held at Wapsipinicon State Park March 16, a spring vendor show coming April 27 and a new due structure for members.

In addition to hearing from the chamber, Anamosa superintendent Darren Hanna spoke briefly about the “power of possibility” and laid out his hope for an interconnected trial system connecting Anamosa to Monticello and then south to the Grant Wood Trail.