He praised the banquet and the people who had gathered there.
"Everybody in a small county, and I'm from a small county, are good friends. Good people don't see strangers, and the people of Lincoln County are courteous, friendly, well-disciplined people," said Keightley.
Keightley's praise was followed by recognition of exceptional community contributors by the chamber board.
First honored was the late Board of Education attorney and Master Commissioner Jim Williams III, whose family was presented with a plaque. Williams died in late March. Board chairman Jim Kelley said through 20 years on the board, Williams never gave bad advice to anyone or charged the board for his services.
The business design impact award was given to Jess and Angela Correll for their work on the 100 block of W. Main Street.
About $2 million has been put into renovating Main Street, said Mary Middleton, director of the Main Street Program in Stanford, "and probably three-fourths of that came from businesses and residents' own money."
Middleton also presented Gary and Ronnie Yocum of 403 W. Main Street with the residence Design Impact Award.
One local math teacher was recognized for her unfailing dedication to education. Big Apple award recipient Susan Harris was described by the presenter as a spirited teacher that is genuinely interested in her pupil's success. "She maintains a balance of educating students and makes class entertaining with seamless harmony," said Sheree Gilliam.
"I don't know if I should do a cartwheel or what," said a surprised Harris as she accepted the plaque.
The Lincoln County Outstanding Farmer of the Year was described by presenter Patty Young as a home-grown Kentuckian with years of experience healing animals and helping neighbors. He was also described as a 25-year supporter of the county fair and an avid Kansas State football fan.
Dr. Larry Oliver of Stanford's Animal Care Center also seemed surprised to be named, saying a quiet "thank you" as he was awarded.
The Health Care Award, presented by Dr. Naren James, was given to a person with outstanding customer service and a determined willingness to go the extra mile, said Dr. James. "Friendly local pharmacist" Alfred Pence Jr. was named as this year's outstanding health professional.
The final award for Citizen of the Year was given to a woman with a lengthy list of accomplishments and charity services.
Ordained minister Bessie Smith is the chaplain at Fort Logan Hospital, oversees the Salvation Army's Angel Tree program during Christmas, has served on several education associations, including at the national level, and is involved with multiple cancer programs and organizations.
She has dedicated much of her time to citizens to help them have a better life, said presenter Mae Renner.
"It's certainly been a pleasure to serve Lincoln County. I have been given awards at different times, but none mean so much as being recognized by your own people," said Smith.
Event officials said they couldn't have asked for a better night.
"I'm pleased, real pleased," said Andrea Miller, chamber executive director and event organizer. "It gives you a chance to network, have a good time, see people you haven't got a chance to talk to."