Duree named the Chamber of Commerce’s Citizen of the Year

David Duree has helped work with nonprofits to bring in new businesses to Odessa and help the community grow for a number of years.

His work has helped make Odessa a better place and it hasn’t gone unnoticed.

Next month, he’ll be honored for his efforts as he has been named the 2022 Odessa Citizen of the Year by the Chamber of Commerce.

However, upon learning about his award, Duree originally thought it was a mistake.

“I thought ‘are you guys having a bad day?’ I can give you some names of people that belong in there,’” Duree said while laughing. “But they’re a good bunch. The Chamber does so much good for the community. It keeps us coming together. It keeps us pointed in the right direction. I can’t talk highly enough about the Chamber. They’re a great group.”

Duree will be honored with a ceremony that will take place at 11:30 a.m. Feb. 2 at the Odessa Marriott Hotel and Conference Center.

“It’s very humbling,” Duree said. “It’s very surprising. There are probably a thousand names that should be in there before me. That’s not why we volunteer to the community. It’s not for accolades or honor. It’s to try and make this place a better place. There are a lot of people doing a lot of good and I’m just surprised that somebody would call me out like this. I’m very humbled. I’m very honored.”

Duree recently retired as a CPA from the Weaver Accounting Firm in Midland.

He is a longtime Odessan.

“He’s been involved a lot behind the scenes in many ways,” Odessa Chamber of Commerce President Renee Earls said. “He has worked in the audit side of Weaver, performing audits on many companies, most of them nonprofits. He has lent his financial expertise to so many different nonprofits throughout the decades of his work. He has worked on school bonds and economic development. He served as the immediate past president of the Odessa Country Club. He’s been around for quite some time and has a long history of service.”

Since 1958, the Odessa Chamber of Commerce has honored one or two individuals each year (with the exception of 2020) who have helped make the community a better place through their jobs and volunteer work.

The award ceremony was not held for 2020 due to the pandemic.

However, last year’s honor was awarded to the staffs at Odessa Regional Medical Center and Medical Center Health for their work at the frontlines of the pandemic.

It was the first time that the award was given to more than two people.

“Normally, we pick one person, or maybe a couple like a husband and wife combo,” Earls said. “But we felt like that with all that had happened, it was a little out of the box but we chose the employees of the two healthcare facilities who have been at the frontlines of the pandemic. People step up and do extraordinary things here in Odessa. They don’t do it for any particular reason other than to give back. They want their community to prosper and grow. They live here and they work here. They raise their families here and want their community to be as excellent as can be.”

Duree has worked with Grow Odessa (formerly the Odessa Industrial Development), helping bring businesses to the area and helping with the economic development.

“We’re very fortunate and very blessed,” Duree said. “There’s plenty to do if you want to help make this place better for the children and grand children.”

One of the things that made Duree step out was his longtime service to the community and leadership.

“From his accounting background, he’s a numbers guy,” Earls said. “He looks at the numbers and makes sure that things are the way they’re supposed to be for these companies and nonprofits. Because of his position, he did have direct contact with many of the organizations in town. He’s very steady. If you ask him to do something, he’ll follow through and takes care of it. You never have to have a question or a doubt about his volunteer services.”

Earls said there were a lot of great people nominated for the Citizen of the Year and that it was a daunting task to select a person for the award.

“There were a lot of nominations this year and some very high caliber nominations,” Earls said. “It’s a very difficult process for the committee to go through. There are so many people to honor. Even David, when we called him, he was like ‘there are so many people who should get this.’ But Odessa is so fortunate to have so many people step up and do the work because they want to have a great community. The list is so long of people that are truly extraordinary to be in our community. David is very proud to be honored this year. He really has a resume of longtime service.”

For more information about this year’s award ceremony, go to tinyurl.com/3cf54eac.

If you go

  • What: Odessa Citizen of the Year award ceremony.
  • When: 11:30 a.m. Feb. 2.
  • Where: Odessa Hotel Marriott and Conference Center.