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Bill Stocker’s Lifetime Achievement Award at the 68th McAllen Chamber of Commerce Banquet

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Bill Stocker Receives Lifetime Achievement Award at the 68th McAllen Chamber of Commerce Banquet - A Tribute to His Decades of Dedication and Service to McAllen's Community and Chamber of Commerce. Image by Noah Mangum González
Bill Stocker Receives Lifetime Achievement Award at the 68th McAllen Chamber of Commerce Banquet – A Tribute to His Decades of Dedication and Service to McAllen’s Community and Chamber of Commerce. Image by Noah Mangum González
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By Roberto Hugo González

The McAllen Chamber of Commerce’s 68th annual Banquet and Man and Woman of the Year awards night celebrated community, leadership, and dedication. Among the many recognized, one community member stood out for his exceptional contributions and longstanding commitment to the city of McAllen and its Chamber of Commerce. This year, the Chamber presented Bill Stocker with the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award, a name synonymous with dedication and community service.

Bill Stocker’s journey is tangled with the history of McAllen itself. He is a direct successor of a family business that thrived for 98 years, serving the community until its closure this year. His leadership and commitment to the city of McAllen and the Chamber of Commerce have been instrumental in shaping the community’s vibrant and dynamic character.

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During the event, the Chamber emphasized that Stocker was a deserving honoree, noting his service on multiple boards and committees and his active, vocal presence in the community. “Stocker, one of these great leaders, deserves tonight’s recognition,” a speaker remarked, highlighting his extensive contributions.

Upon receiving the award, Bill Stocker expressed his heartfelt gratitude. He thanked fellow community leaders Larry Falleck and Lorena Castillo, “Man and Woman of the Year,” for their remarkable efforts in helping McAllen and the Chamber of Commerce. Emphasizing his modesty, he joked about the length of his speech, saying, “I don’t make long speeches sometimes, but I wrote this, and it’s one minute and 29 seconds. Is that a good thing?”

In his speech, Stocker reflected on the growth and progress of McAllen, calling it “the Pearl at the heart of our Magic Valley.” He acknowledged the Chamber’s role in this transformation, crediting it for setting standards and aiding the city’s development. He also shared a moving message, urging the audience to remember the milestones, good times, and hope each new turn brings. “Looking back is a sweet, satisfying part of today’s celebration,” he remarked.

His message was reminiscing and about looking forward with optimism. He concluded his speech by expressing his hope for the future, wishing for the same feeling of joy and adventure ahead as experienced during the night of the banquet.

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Stocker’s recognition at the McAllen Chamber of Commerce’s annual banquet was due to his lifetime of service and dedication to the community. His words resonated with the audience, encapsulating a spirit of gratitude, reflection, and hope. His legacy as a leader and community advocate will continue to inspire McAllen for years.

As an additional comment of this reporter, Bill Stocker’s tenure at Palace Cleaners, a family business in McAllen since 1925, represents and symbolizes a legacy tangled with the city’s history. Taking over in 1951 and working since he was five, Stocker has witnessed the evolution of McAllen and the dry-cleaning industry. His decision to close after 98 years, just shy of a century, reflects business considerations and a deep connection to the community. As he reflects on the journey from manual operations to automation, his gratitude for being part of McAllen’s growth and community is evident. Palace Cleaners’ closure on May 26 was a business culmination of a significant chapter in McAllen’s story. 

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