Trenton Area Chamber of Commerce honors community contributions at annual banquet


On Aug. 11, Stephanie Burnfin, Chairperson of the Trenton Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, reviewed the past year at the chamber’s annual banquet.

Describing the year as “adventurous” for the chamber, Burnfin highlighted several changes. These included modifications to events, the license office, and chamber personnel. Additionally, the chamber chose not to renew the license office contract.

Two Pillars of the Community and the Organization of the Year were recognized at the Trenton Area Chamber of Commerce Annual Banquet on August 11th. The Pillars of the Community are Laura Sue Daniels and Diane Lowrey. Bright Futures Trenton is the Organization of the Year.

Laura Sue Daniels helps community members with genealogy, has helped gather information to get structures added to the National Register of Historic Places, and has helped digitize Grundy County newspapers and put them on the Grundy County Jewett Norris Library’s website.

Daniels accepted her honor from her banquet table. She said it was an honor to be recognized with Lowrey, the Businesses of the Year, and the Organization of the Year. She thanked the chamber and others.

Diane Lowrey came to Trenton in 1978 to work at the Trenton Republican-Times as a news reporter. She has served one term as president on the Trenton Area Chamber of Commerce Board, as the Trenton Rotary Club’s first female president, and on the North Central Missouri College Board of Trustees for 25 years.

Lowrey said she believes people should give back to their community because the community gives a lot to them. She is glad she came to Trenton and decided to stay.

The Trenton Area Chamber of Commerce recognized two Businesses of the Year at the chamber’s annual banquet on August 11th. State Farm Insurance—Dillon Harp Agency is the Up and Coming Business of the Year, and Barnes Greenhouses is the other Business of the Year.

Dillon Harp worked for eight years in higher education in college admissions before joining State Farm and opening his agency in Trenton. He fundraises and volunteers for area organizations is a partner with Main Street Trenton, and serves as a Trenton Area Chamber of Commerce ambassador.

Barnes Greenhouses was established by Elizabeth and Benjamin Barnes in 1890. The business expanded in the 1940s and 50s, and it started selling its products at chain stores in the 1960s. The fifth generation of the Barnes family now operates the business, including Beth Mack.

Mack added that a lot of good people have worked at the greenhouse and noted more than 750 people have worked there in the last 27 years. She said that the business is also lucky to have returning customers and the best customers.

Burnfin also mentioned an upcoming change, the retirement of Chamber President Debbie Carman. She emphasized that throughout all the changes, the constants remained Carman and the chamber board.



Carman expressed gratitude to the many community members who donated their time to various events. She extended special thanks to Crystal Whitaker for her assistance with events. Notably, Whitaker stepped in for Carman at the previous year’s banquet due to Carman’s surgery.

Reflecting on her tenure, Carman stated that she couldn’t have accomplished everything over the past 12 years without support.



The banquet concluded with a performance by Trenton High School Vocal Music Instructor Tyler Busick, who sang “What a Wonderful World.” Carman revealed she specifically requested this song from Busick because she views Trenton as a “wonderful world.”

The event also featured a Lip Sync Extravaganza. Performances included Grundy County Chief Deputy Seth Cox and Trenton Police Sergeant Jeb Walker with Brooks and Dunn’s “Hard Workin’ Man.” Trenton R-9 School District Superintendent Daniel Gott showcased Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire.” Trenton Hy-Vee Manager Chad Boyd and Noah Boyd lip-synced to “Old Town Road” by Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus. The North Central Missouri College Men’s Basketball team, led by Coach Jeremy Esry, performed Madonna’s “Like a Prayer.” Tyler Busick also entertained with Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off.” Carman declared all lip sync participants as winners.

In other news, Chamber Ambassador Bonita Price announced that the 50/50 raffle raised a total of $266. The winner, Josie Baugher, received $133.

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