The Temple Chamber of Commerce has proudly hosted a celebration of the military and veterans the past 35 years. Due to the pandemic, the 36th annual event was reimagined as a virtual salute to honor those on the front lines of the COVID-19 battle. This recognition will include the military (13th ESC/Fort Hood, 1st Medical Brigade/Fort Hood, 36th Sustainment Brigade/TxANG), veterans, JROTC, law enforcement, fire & rescue, EMS, and medical/health care professionals.
UNITY WITHIN COMMUNITY is the theme for the 36th Military & First Responder Salute.
The traditional components of the Military Appreciation Luncheon such as the presentation and retirement of the Colors, National Anthem, Vietnam Era Veteran pinning, patriotic music, and messages of support are being recorded to create the virtual program.
Also, videos have been requested from various partners to ensure an impactful virtual program sharing the message of how the partners have waged “war” against the pandemic.
Community and military leaders have been asked to provide a short “shout-out” to recognize our honored guests for their engagement and leadership in the community.
Replacing the annual luncheon, the Chamber and HEB are planning LUNCH TO GO outside of the Santa Fe Business Center on October 27, 2020, from 10:30 am - 2:00 pm (while supplies last).
Veteran organizations, food kitchens, shelters, and sponsors will have an opportunity to pre-order lunch for pick-up. The general public, including walk-ups, will be accommodated with LUNCH TO GO either using a drive-up process or to-go table.
Video footage will be taken of LUNCH TO GO to include in the virtual presentation.
The inaugural airing of the finished product will occur on Tuesday, November 10, on the Temple Chamber of Commerce YouTube channel.
The overall video will be approximately 30-45 minutes in length. It will mix a message that is mindful of the struggles all have endured since early March, and the importance of the Greater Temple community bonding together to help our neighbors.
Photos from filming
TEMPLE, TX – The City of Temple has partnered with United Way and the Temple Chamber of Commerce in response to the economic hardships experienced by small businesses resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The organizations have established a Small Business Grant Program in an effort to retain jobs and stabilize local businesses. This program provides gap financing for businesses that have lost revenue as a result of social distancing and are at risk of layoffs or closure.
The program is funded through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Community Development Block Grant – Coronavirus (CDBG-CV) funds.
“The primary goal of the program is to provide support so that businesses can retain jobs held by low to moderate income persons,” said Stephanie O’Banion, United Way CEO. “We are also hoping to provide assistance to microenterprises with low to moderate income owners. We know that these businesses are vital to the economic health and well-being of our community.”
The program will use $90,000 of CDBG-CV funds to provide grants of up to $5,000 to businesses with up to fifty (50) full-time equivalent employees at the time of application, or up to five (5) full-time equivalent employees with a low to moderate income owner. The business must demonstrate a loss of gross revenue as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic to be considered for funding.
Applications will be accepted through August 5, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. on the United Way website.
Due to the anticipated number of submissions and limited funding, applications will be processed by an evaluation committee composed of United Way, Temple Chamber of Commerce, and City of Temple staff.
For more information about this program, contact the United Way by calling 211 or visiting www.uwct.org.
The application can be found here.
The Chamber hosted a virtual program on April 24, 2020, called Good Morning Temple, with guest speaker Elliot Germany, President of Panel Specialists, Inc., and Temple Chamber Board Member. Elliot gave a motivational message to attendees and shared a poem that he wrote titled COVID-19: A Message of Hope.
Elliot has given the Temple Chamber permission to share his poem:
COVID-19: A Message of Hope
While many danced in the New Year at the Last Night Gala,
In the background lurked a thief in the night,
From a bat to a man, born a virus in China,
That would bring uncertainty to our way of life,
Through the city of Wuhan, it rapidly spread,
South Korea, then Italy, gaining steam,
A coronavirus traveling from country to country,
Now given the name - COVID-19,
By January 20th, it penetrated Washington State,
As our National Leaders, tried to put us at ease,
We were told not to worry about this developing ailment,
Because this was a Chinese Disease,
In February, flights from China were cancelled,
While many travelers continued to roam,
All Americans who journeyed to countries in Europe,
Were free to depart and come home,
Our Statue of Liberty would become infected,
With New York seeing cases on the rise,
Spoken softly in the background, a word called Pandemic,
As the volume increases in size,
By early March we were handed a big blow in Austin,
Our Texas Pride was being put to the test,
Without a single outbreak of Coronavirus in the City,
They Cancelled South by Southwest (SXSW),
The “WHO” said we should put Distance between us,
For our Social behaviors must change,
But in Bell County we are all so Connected,
So, to be apart from each other is strange,
We Optimistically waited as more cases developed,
And continued to unfurl with such thrust,
The 1st case in Texas - was on March 4th - in Fort Bend,
It became clear this was traveling towards us,
The Spirit of Central Texans remained vibrant as ever,
And quite honestly, we were feeling no strain,
Until on the 19th of March, when an announcement was made,
That a sick Belton Man arrived in from Spain,
Did COVID know Bell County is a Medical Community?
With hospitals and clinics abound,
It now decided to bring this fight to our Doorstep,
But this is Texas, so we will Stand Our Ground,
Judge Blackburn, gave the order to our Citizen Community,
To Shelter in place Free from Harm,
And begin preparing our cities for eminent danger,
For the Fight would be hard, and be long,
This war needs no tanks from our Army Brigades,
No weapons from Three Corps Command,
But rather respirators, ventilators, sanitizers, and masks,
And testing kits, which not enough was on hand,
Between Temple and Belton, the sewers united,
Undaunted with an immeasurable task,
Individual people and companies like Custom Crest in Belton,
Who started making coronavirus protective masks,
So unfazed were our Doctors and Nurses on top of the hill,
Who Worked Tirelessly through Day and through Night,
Unsung Heroes whose faces were no longer visible,
At Baylor Scott & White,
Our National Community, although Faithful, did panic,
As a buying spree quickly ensued,
We raided our HEBs, Walmart, and our Targets,
And our store shelves became vacant of food,
Operation Feeding Temple began stamping out hunger,
As Employment now rapidly fell,
So, we tended to those who are less fortunate,
To ensure our Community remains well,
We hosted pizza for our Public Works Department,
TISD serves children with not much to eat,
Sharing times to break bread, knowing we all are fed,
Because God said to us, “Go Feed My Sheep”,
A Temple Summer cannot lose its Sizzle,
For a mere virus cannot take that away,
Because the hearts and the souls of Bell County are Strong,
Like Fort Hood Soldiers, we will fight every day,
And for this War, we will battle like Wildcats,
Unleashing our Tigers & Leopards, and swarms of our Bees,
Backed by Prayer from a Church of Crusaders,
We will see COVID drop down to its knees,
In many areas, businesses are shutting their doors,
But in Bell County there is a key differential,
With businesses like McLane’s, Wilsonart, & PSI,
There is no doubting that we are Essential,
But for those in the Profession of personal service,
Who were left with no choice, but abort,
Like our Manicurists, Beauticians, our Barbers and more,
Are in dire need of our Unyielding Support,
For this is not our first Corporate Challenge,
And it surely will not be our last,
Therefore, we Salute to all our Businesses,
Who remain Committed, Resolved and Steadfast,
Our Workforce will bring Solutions to Central Texas,
Our Leadership Temple, a perspective that is new,
Our Economic Development Corporation is a strong force of nature,
And Our Chamber of Commerce will help businesses through,
Governor Abbott has called in a Strike Force,
To get our economy back on an even plane,
When he searched for the best, who would be up to this test,
He called Temple, to seek Drayton McLane,
Our Community is blessed with so many Helping Hands,
It is Our Ministry, Our Calling, Our Deed,
When one is knocked down, one more will Step Up,
And start the process of Sewing A Seed,
For the families who have lost a loved one to this virus,
Remain Hopeful, you will See Brighter Days,
And Remember Our God, He is Faithful and Just,
So, continue to give Him Your Praise,
During this time, we all can use some uplifting,
While on this journey, as some moments can seem low,
So, consider a small Random Acting of Kindness,
For a stranger or someone you know,
Our Courage comes from our Vulnerability,
And our Bravery will Conquer our Fears,
We were around before this Coronavirus began,
And when it is gone, we will be Standing Right Here,
I promise we will still have the Chrome in our Carols,
We will be United, because we know the Way,
Bell County is an Army who knows its Salvation,
Our Visiting Angels decided to stay,
As we Restore all areas that suffered from harm,
A Sense of Newness will come to this place,
When we sit together at a luncheon the food will taste sweeter,
And we will Cherish a Warm and Friendly Embrace,
Our Story will be printed in the Telegram,
Channel 6 will say, Breaking News Live Here at One,
There was a City and County, at War with a Virus,
And we are Proud to Report, We Have Won!
Written By: Elliot A. Germany, April 22, 2020