One of the highlights of the Suwannee River Chamber’s Annual Meeting each January, is naming the recipient of the annual Eric "Eck" Bass Community Service Award.
This award, created in remembrance of Eric "Eck" Odlund Bass was first awarded in January 1999. Since then a deserving member of the community has been named nearly every year. In keeping with this annual tradition for this year’s meeting, held Tuesday, January 28, 2020 at the Suwannee Community Center, resident Mary Haufler was named as the recipient of the latest Eric "Eck" Bass Community Service Award.
Mary Haufler receives the Eric "ECK" Bass Community Service Award from Suwannee River Chamber of Commerce president Owen Prince on January 28, 2020
"The 'Eck’ Bass award is not big on strict, written rules or guidelines, but is instead big on heart," Chamber president Owen Prince said during his opening comments before making the award. He then went on to speak about Eric "Eck" Odlund Bass herself, who was born on Odlund’s Island where her parents had settled around 1910, and the reasons for having a community service award in her name. "She was a true Suwannee native who raised her family here, and served others through her care and concern," he said. He added that she also served as a founding director of the Suwannee Water Board and only retired when her health began to fail, after over thirty years of service on the board.
"Mrs. Eck had one of the 'greenest thumbs’ and always had time to listen to others’ problems," Prince added. "She was a wonderful example of a good citizen, mother and friend. The annual award is given by the Chamber to a Suwannee citizen who exemplifies her example."
In presenting the new award he said, "Mary Haufler is a perfect example of an individual exhibiting the qualities of the Eck Bass award. For years she has been a friend, mother, and confidant to many of the residents and friends of Suwannee. She started and maintains the 'boats’ of plants and flowers that decorate the entrance to town. Mary is truly a friend of Suwannee."
A plaque with the names of each recipient of the award is displayed in the Suwannee Community Center on the inside wall nearest the main entrance. Mary’s name is the 21st to be added.