Total Resource Campaign – Meet the teams

Shannon Norfleet- Titus Regional Medical Center

Team Underdog

Team Chair: Shannon Norfleet, Titus Regional Medical Center

Team Members:

Jennifer Hughes, Hampton Inn & Suites, Assistant Manager

Christopher Rodriguez, Titus Regional Medical Center, Graphic Designer


Shannon Norfleet, the current chairman of the Mount Pleasant Chamber board of directors, is the Titus Regional Medical Center Director of Foundation and Community Relations. With a Bachelor of Science degree in healthcare administration, Norfleet is a registered nurse with 20 years of healthcare experience. She serves on the TRMC management council and is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives and Association for Healthcare Philanthropy. She has served as Chamber Ambassador; Chairman of Leadership Mount Pleasant since 2009; and a member of the Chamber marketing committee. She is also a Life member and past president of Mount Pleasant Junior Auxiliary. Norfleet has been a resident of Mount Pleasant for 19 years. She and her husband of 19 years, Terry Norfleet, have a 14 year old daughter, Allie.

Why do you serve in the Mount Pleasant Chamber?

My favorite part of serving the Chamber has been the relationship-building.  I really enjoy the engagement of our business leaders and volunteers who truly want to see one another succeed for the betterment of our community.

What was your goal as a TRC chair?

Our goal was to continue to build on the success of the previous campaign and build sustainable value for our membership.

How did your team encourage the business community to support the campaign?

Our primary strategy was focusing on the exposure and value for the member, as well as exploring new alternatives as our community grows.

How vital is this campaign to the continued growth and strength of the Mount Pleasant Chamber and why?

It’s extremely vital. More resources mean more opportunities for promotion of the community we are proud to call home.

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Total Resource Campaign – Meet the Teams

Brad Lowry-Pilgrim Bank

Team Chair: Brad Lowry, Pilgrim Bank

Team Members:
Jacob Butler, Pilgrim Bank
Beth Thompson, Northeast Texas Community College
Nita May, Northeast Texas Community College
McCall Dyke, McGuire-Dyke Investment Group


Brad Lowry, who has lived in Mount Pleasant for 30-plus years, is Senior Vice President at Pilgrim Bank. He has worked for Pilgrim Bank in consumer, mortgage, and commercial lending for more than a decade. Lowry received a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of North Texas in 2003. Lowry has served two previous terms as a member of the Chamber board, one term as treasurer, and is currently serving a third term. He also serves as member of the Tourism Committee, Moonlight Jubilee Committee and the Golf Committee. Lowry previously served as a member of the Mount Pleasant Rotary Club. He and his wife, Christi, have been married for 10 years. They have three children; Kinley, age 6; Bradon, age four and Karli, age one.

Why do you serve in the Mount Pleasant Chamber?

I enjoy volunteering my time and energy to an organization that has a goal of promoting businesses and opportunities in the community that I grew up in and that I am choosing to raise my family in.

What was your goal as a TRC chair?

My goal was to continue to build new relationships amongst my team members, but also to develop relationships around the community for the benefit of the Chamber and also to hopefully benefit me in my job at Pilgrim Bank.

How will your team encourage the business community to support the campaign?

It’s important to portray the importance of community and business involvement in our Chamber because the simple goal of the Chamber is to build economic prosperity. Without the support of the business community in the campaign, it will be very difficult for the Chamber to continue to support education, tourism, leadership initiatives, etc., all of which lend to building economic prosperity in our community.

How vital is this campaign to the continued growth and strength of the Mount Pleasant Chamber and why?

The campaign is extremely vital to the overall success of the Chamber because this is the one shot the Chamber has to get businesses involved and committed to the various event sponsorships for the entire year.

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Spencer Miche – Don’t Cook Tuesday Week 2 winner.

The Mount Pleasant-Titus County Chamber of Commerce Eat Local Challenge continues with strong community support. In the second week of the campaign’s “Don’t Cook Tuesday” weekly promotion, Spencer Miche of Pilgrim Bank won the April 9 drawing for a $20 gift certificate to Chili’s. To be eligible for the weekly drawing, diners who eat at chamber-member restaurant on Tuesdays during April must turn in their receipts valued at $5 or more to the Chamber office by Wednesday at 12 p.m. Those receipts and any others turned in by 5 p.m. April 30 will be entered into a grand prize drawing for a flat screen television. The grand prize drawing will be held at the beginning of May at the restaurant that has the most number of receipts turned into the Chamber.

In 2013, the challenge generated nearly $20,000 in sales revenue. The campaign is sponsored by La Carreta, Super 1 Foods and H & R Distributors.

For information on the Eat Local Challenge, contact the Chamber office at (903) 572-8567, visit the Chamber Website,, or check it out on Facebook,

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Third Annual Robert Arellano Dawg Fest Rally brings thousands to Mount Pleasant


The legacy of Robert Arellano continues this weekend as the Dawg Fest Rally revs into gear.

The motorcycle rally and family-friendly festival is set for Friday, Saturday and Sunday, April 11-13, at Camp Langston in Mount Pleasant. The proceeds will benefit the Robert Arellano Foundation scholarship fund and the Texas Lion’s Club camps for children with special needs.

The festival is held in memory of Robert Arellano, a motorcycle enthusiast who served in law enforcement as a Titus County Sheriff’s Department deputy and an investigator for the Titus County Attorney’s office. Nicknamed “DAWG,” Arellano was killed in a motorcycle accident in 2010.

“Robert was a huge advocate for children, working many child cases as an investigator for the County,” said Jeff Martin, sergeant at arms of the Robert Arellano Foundation. “We were all friends and a lot of us rode together. We all came together to give back in honor of him because he was such an amazing man.”

Martin said the foundation, which was founded in 2013, provides educational opportunities for students from low to moderate income families in Titus and surrounding counties, including a criminal justice scholarship for students who aspire to become peace officers and serve in the state of Texas. Last year, the foundation awarded two $1,000 scholarships through Northeast Texas Community College.

“We started the scholarship program in honor of him because of the pride and dedication that he had for law enforcement,” Martin said.


The festival’s main event is the motorcycle rally, with registration beginning Friday at 2:30 p.m. The bikes start their engines and leave Camp Langston, located at off Exit 165 at Interstate 30 and County Road 3227, at 10 a.m. Saturday.

On Friday night, the gates open to the public at 6 p.m. The gate fee is $5 per person unless you are pre-registered for the events. Opening ceremonies begin at 6:30 p.m. A D.J. and karaoke contest starts the entertainment at 7 p.m.

Other Saturday activities include a car, truck and bike show, which is new this year.

“We’re allowing folks to bring in their nice cars and trucks, so that’s going to bring even more people in for the event,” Martin said.

There will also be vendors and food, games for children and adults, raffles, an auction and the Miss Dawg Fest “pageant.”

“That’s actually guys dressed up in drag really. We’ll have some donation cans set out and whoever collects the most funds, wins Miss Dawg Fest,” Martin explained.

Live music on Saturday night will feature Eli’s Redemption, a rock band from Tyler, and the Kolton Moore Band, a Texas Country band from Fort Worth.

On Sunday, church services will held on the rally site by the Northeast Texas Biker Church in Mount Pleasant with Pastor Dominic Crescimanno. Services begin at 9:45 a.m.

In 2013, the rally included 520 bikes and drew 1,800 to 2,000 people.

“This event is doubling each year. It’s really an amazing, family-friendly event,” Martin said.

Mount Pleasant-Titus County Chamber of Commerce CEO Faustine Curry said as a sponsor of the Dawg Fest, the Chamber is excited the rally and festival is coming back to Mount Pleasant again this year.

“Motorcycle rallies and rides provide a benefit to the economy when they eat in our restaurants, stay in our hotels and stop at our gas stations. And, usually, when motorcycle riders enjoy the trails, they come back year after year,” Curry said. “We hope this is a festival that keeps growing and bringing people to Mount Pleasant.”

Martin said there is a huge sense of pride in hosting the event to raise funds for a cause that honors Arellano’s name and the things that he was passionate about.



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Business After Hours Plays Name Game

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Those who attended the Chamber’s March Business After Hours event, sponsored by Buddy Marshall Insurance Agency, left knowing a lot more about their colleagues’ companies. The event, held March 27 at Two Senoritas, featured a “guess the business” game.

Each person was paired up and a business name – representing those present- was safety-pinned to the back of their shirts. They had to ask their partner Yes or No questions to guess the name of the business pinned to their own shirt.

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“The attendees’ enjoyed being at Two Senoritas and we learned a lot about PDI Plastics that night,” said Chamber CEO Faustine Curry. “It was a lot of fun.”

Business After Hours is a fun networking event hosted by a chamber member business every month. The next event is scheduled for May 15, 2014 at 5:30 pm. Contact the Chamber Office at 903-572-8567 to find out more.

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Friday Burger Party April 4

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The first Friday Burger Party of the season was held April 4 at the Mount Pleasant-Titus County Chamber of Commerce. Attendees enjoyed juicy, delicious burgers prepared by this month’s sponsor Century 21 Landmark Associates. There was a great turnout with Century 21 staff serving up 180 burgers. The Friday Burger Party is a networking opportunity for chamber members. The complimentary lunch is held from 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. on the first Friday of the month April through October, except for the month of July. The next event is scheduled for May 2.


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Fort Sherman Days


The 2nd Annual Fort Sherman Days will be held at Lake Bob Sandlin State Park March 28-29. The event takes visitors back to the area’s pre-settlement era of Caddo and Choctaw Indian tribes the Republic of Texas era when Fort Sherman, the first community in what is now Titus County, was an active frontier military outpost.

Established in December of 1938, the fort is believed to be located within the boundaries of the state park.

The inaugural Fort Sherman Days celebration was a one-day event held in June 2013 that drew about 500 people. The event is hosted by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Titus County Historical Preservation Society. The Mount Pleasant-Titus County Chamber of Commerce is supporting the event with a $2,000 sponsorship. The event was moved to March this year to provide a cooler climate and to coincide with Texas History Month.

Friday’s student day will include a reenactment of a Buffalo Soldiers detachment and educational workshops. Both days’ activities will also include Caddo and Choctaw Indian demonstrations, campfire cooking, demonstrations on flint knapping, which is the art of making arrowheads, vintage children’s games and a cannon firing demonstration.

“We’d like to show everyone in Titus County that this area was part of the Republic of Texas and was one of the earliest settlements in Northeast Texas,” said John Shaffer, a member of the Titus County Historical Commission and the TCHPS. “Come out, walk around and enjoy the sights and learn a little bit about the history of Titus County.”

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From Paul Vitale’s newsletter

Speaking of civic pride, Paul recently had the pleasure of visiting Mount Pleasant, Texas to be a part of the Mount Pleasant/Titus County Chamber of Commerce 2014 Membership and Awards Banquet. Located in the heart of Northeast Texas, Mount Pleasant is a dynamic commerce center where people, ideas, and opportunities mold exceptionalism. From manufacturing, to boundless shopping, to culinary variety, Mount Pleasant serves as the economic center for Northeast Texas and is referred to as the “hub of Northeast Texas.”


Chamber representatives Faustine Curry, Martin Bell, and Paul

“The level of pride and participation that I encountered during my time in Mount Pleasant was so inspiring,” stated Paul. “After our evening together celebrating the members’ achievements, I understand even more the meaning of their motto, ‘Everything Texas, Everything Possible!’”

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Hamilton Jewelers again Sponsors Fright-tober favorite “Diamond Dash”



Barry and Lana Hamilton know what it takes to keep a business going strong. The owners of the family- owned jewelry store on Mount Pleasant’s downtown square is thriving after 109 years.


The secret?      

“Number one you have to love what you do,” says Lana Hamilton, who points out that the store is in its fourth generation with their son, Rance Hamilton, working alongside them. “We have loyal customers and you have to treat them fair.”




Rance Hamilton, right, pictured with his parents, Barry and Lana Hamilton, represents the fourth generation of Hamiltons keeping Hamilton Jewelers in business since 1904.

The avid history buff, Barry Hamilton touts that Hamilton Jewelers is the oldest retail establishment in Mount Pleasant. In between helping a steady stream of mid-afternoon customers, he proudly shows off his collection of faded black and white photos and yellowed newspaper clippings of the store and the downtown area from those bygone eras.



Hamilton Jewelers current location on 2nd Street is one of the oldest buildings in Mount Pleasant. The business was originally located inside Wallace Drug on North Jefferson Street. Shown in this 1908 photo, one side of the store was the drug store, while the jewelry store took up the other side. The fourth-generation family-owned business was founded by Barry Hamilton’s grandfather, J.B. Hamilton.

While he revels in the store’s rich history, the couple says they are constantly changing to keep up with trends to stay relevant.


To do that and to keep their costs down, they are part of a jewelry buying group that includes more than 800 stores.


The store offers the finest luxury jewelry, engagement rings, watches of exceptional quality and designer home accessories. Their services include bridal and gift registry, custom jewelry design, engraving on everything from glass to metal, in-store jewelry repair and a fulltime jeweler.


Longtime Chamber partners, Barry Hamilton said he and his wife step up when the Chamber needs them because the Chamber has done so much for their business.


Hamilton Jewelers has generously offered to sponsor the 2nd annual “Hamilton Jewelers Diamond Dash,” a treasure hunt through Mount Pleasant set for Saturday, Oct. 12 as part of the month-long Fright-tober events. Those who sign up for the hunt can win two loose GIA-certified diamonds. One is a .89 carat round brilliant-cut diamond, while the second is a .86 carat round brilliant-cut diamond. The value for both is approximately $5,000.


The Chamber is grateful for the Hamilton’s generosity in providing the Diamond Dash prizes again this year.


“We’re giving back to the community, Barry Hamilton said. “And, it’s a good thing for us. It gets our name out there.”


Each team consists of two people. They must be at least 18 to enter. All locations and challenges will be delivered straight to the team members’ cell phones, a new aspect of the contest, sponsored by Verizon. The team will solve the challenges and earn points to win the sparkling gem stones.


The inaugural Diamond Dash during the 2012 Fright-tober maxed out at 50 teams.

“It was a lot of fun. Everybody ended up here,” said Lana Hamilton. “Our store is really small and we had all those people inside.”


Barry Hamilton said the whole store was packed from the back to the front and spilled out onto the sidewalk. “You couldn’t even move,” he said.


This year, the contest will start at the Chamber of Commerce at 4 p.m. and end at the Titus County Courthouse across the street from the jewelry store.


“We just never dreamed that it would be as much fun as it was. It was all so exciting,” Lana Hamilton said.


Team members can register online for the free contest at

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Google U Recap

Many local business representatives turned out for the Chamber-hosted Google University on Sept. 20 at the Luminant Room. The unique workshop offered businesses the opportunity to delve into the world of Google for Business. They learned a wide range of Google applications to enhance their business operations, including Google Drive, Google Docs, and Gmail. The two-session workshop was taught by Google Certified Teacher/Trainer Amy Mayer, who says companies can run their entire business on Google. The Chamber uses Google for Business, expanding from simply using it to track Website traffic to using Google apps with internal documents, email and social media. To learn more, check out Mayer’s blog at


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