Membership event begins to heat up

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<p>photos by KENNETH FRY</p><p>Anthony Brooks has taken a shine to his pink socks.</p>

Van Buren Chamber of Commerce membership event chairman Anthony Brooks loves his new pair of pink socks.

Brooks, the administrator and chief finanical officer at Summit Medical Center, received the socks adorned with hearts Wednesday with a note, allegedly from “The Chamber’s Winning Team.”

“Hot socks won’t help you in this race,” the note reads. “You might as well go to the house!”

However, the threatening note did little to dampen Brooks’ competitive spirits.

“I am looking to steal me some captains,” Brooks said. “I may be the new kid in town but someone is going to be short on Oct. 29.”

Tuesday, Oct. 29, is the date membership event chairmen will have their captains in place for a training session.

The Nov. 12-14 membership event is being organized by Jimmy Cusano and a group called Your Chamber Connection.

For two and-a-half days, more than 100 volunteers will work against the clock and against each other to sign up new chamber members and create a greater community awareness of the important role of the chamber of commerce, according to Jackie Krutsch, executive director of the chamber.

Shortly after Brooks received his socks, a green mask was sent to another chairman, Dr. Ray Wallace, provost and senior vice chancellor of the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith.

“You poor Irish fool,” the attached note read. “You thought you had the last laugh. You’ll need this mask when it comes to taking pictures in November.”

“The pink socks were admittedly terrible looking, but to actively attack the national origin of the leader of the team which will win this blessed event is under-handed, highly irregular, and down-right unconvincing,” Wallace countered.

Wallace also reminded fellow chairmen he was born and raised in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

“We know a thing or two about revenge and we never forget,” he said. “I warn you, beware the ‘Wrath O’ the Green.’ “

The taunting did not stop with Brooks and Wallace.

Debbie Foliart, owner of The Destiny Group and account executive for the Press Argus-Courier received a package of tissues with a note stating, “Wiping your tears! Don’t waste your time crying,” and signed again by The Chamber’s Winning Team.

“I am not sure who thinks we are a bunch of cry babies but there are no tears here and not a chance of throwing in the towel,” Foliart said. “As the saying goes, ‘He who laughs last laughs best.’ Game on … challenge accepted.”

Brooks said he does not know who sent him the pink socks but it does not matter because he loves them. He wore them Thursday to the Optimist Club meeting and said the pink socks are appropriate since October is breast cancer awareness month.

“It is on now,” Brooks said. “I will wear them the day my team wins. This just got personal.”

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