Gordon Elliott thought he was going to help present the Spirit of Pittsburg Award Thursday during the Pittsburg Area Chamber of Commerce annual banquet and meeting.

Gordon Elliott thought he was going to help present the Spirit of Pittsburg Award Thursday during the Pittsburg Area Chamber of Commerce annual banquet and meeting.

But, as he heard others listing the recipient’s activities and accomplishments, he started to get a little suspicious. Morning Sun publisher Stephen Wade settled the issue by proclaiming Elliott as winner of the  2010 Spirit of Pittsburg Award.

“I’ve been had, royally,” he said.

Elliott has worked on numerous organizations and projects as a founder or in a leadership role, including the United Way of Crawford County, St. John Lutheran Church, Crestwood Country Club, Mount Carmel Foundation, Revolving Loan Fund, Kansas Nature Conservancy, Kansas Venture Capital, Inc., Alliance for Technology/Commercializaiton Committee, Community Foundation of Southeast Kansas, Pittsburg Family YMCA, Small World Nursery, Mt. Carmel Board of Directors, Pittsburg Area Festival Association, Governor’s Scholarship Award Program and the Family Resource Center.

Monica Murnan, Family Resource Center director, praised Elliott for his role in the center’s recent move to its new location.

“Gordon has done everything from spending hours with the financial staff of The Center analyzing every expense and revenue to reviewing contracts for leases and loans,” she said. “His knowledge of finance and construction are incredible.”

Murnan described Elliott as “a guy who understands where he lives, a guy who chose to be here and a guy who lives the Spirit of Pittsburg.”

Dawn McNay added that Elliott “should be the standard for all future Spirit recipients.”

But Elliott said he was humbled by the award. “I’ve had the opportunity to work with everyone who has won the Spirit Award, and its humbling,” he said.

He said that he came to Pittsburg in 1969 on a one-year contract, but liked the community so much that he and his family stayed.

“I got involved with Gene Bicknell, made a good living and raised a wonderful family,” Elliott said following the ceremony. “Everything has been just as great as Middle America can have it.”

As for the Spirit Award, he said that it truly is an award given by peers. “There’s a long list of worthy people,” he said. “I don’t know how you can be better honored than to be a citizen of Pittsburg.”

Mark Werner, outgoing Chamber board chairman, noted that the past year has brought considerable challenges to the community, but that the Chamber has been able to respond to these challenges.

“The Chamber has stepped up legislative advocacy, and met leaders  in Topeka and Washington, D.C.,” Werner said.  “The Chamber produced a marketing campaign to keep shopping in Pittsburg for the holiday season, and with gift certificates helped keep $10,000 in Pittsburg.”

He added that the chamber serves as an information clearing house for the area, and has responded to 20,000 requests for information in the past year.

The Chamber also helped with the campaign to bring the new NPC call center to Pittsburg, and Blake Benson, Chamber president, and Mark Turnbull, Pittsburg director of economic development, were recognized for their role in this.

Several other awards were presented during the evening. Miller’s Professional Imaging was recognized as the City of Pittsburg Employer of the Year and the Business Education Alliance Partner of the Year.

Business Education Alliance Volunteer of the Year was  Ruthie Moore Muller, and Elias Tawil, MD., was recognized as Small Business of the Year.