Past Chamber Dinners (2017 and earlier)

Our 30th Annual Dinner Meeting and Awards Ceremony was March 28th, 2017.

The Annual Pike County Chamber of Commerce Business Meeting & Dinner was held Tuesday, March 28th at the Griggsville American Legion.  The meeting was attended 100 Chamber members, state, city and village officials, county board representatives, and members of the media.  Networking and social time began at 6:00 PM, with dinner and the program immediately following.  The delicious catered meal was provided by Stroemer Foods Catering from Barry, Illinois.  Chamber member Hopewell Winery provided wine tasting and sales by the glass and bottle. Member Pauline Little furnished beautiful floral arrangements and Jessica Guthrie Photography, a new chamber member, provided photography services.  

The program focused on the Pike County Chamber of Commerce’s 2016 highlights and activities, tourism, and key initiatives planned for 2017.  

The Chamber’s 2017 sponsors were recognized at the meeting and a PowerPoint presentation containing a thank-you message and their logos ran as a continuous loop throughout the social hour and dinner.  We recognize our 2016 sponsors in the "Sponsor" section, and their logos are throughout our newsletters.  We will recognize them year round. 

The highlight of the evening is always the awards ceremony.  This year Chamber Board president Beth White made the presentation.  Each year the Chamber presents a  Business of the Year, Volunteers of the Year, and Community Betterment Awards.  The winners for all of the awards were selected from nominations made by chamber members and the community at large.  There were a number of nominations for each award.  The Fickle Goddess of Fortune made her eighth appearance as well.  

We believe strongly that each person or business nominated was worthy and we hope they feel honored to be recognized by their peers.  Our awards ceremony features a presentation  that shares the key points from their nomination submission.  It was clear that a healthy business environment and volunteerism are alive and well in Pike County.  The selection criteria is below:   

The Business of the Year recognizes a successful Pike County business that has demonstrated integrity and community involvement.

The Volunteer of the Year can be any Pike County resident who volunteers his or her time to support Pike County and his or her community. 

The eighth annual Community Betterment Award is intended to recognize the contribution of an individual or group of individuals whose vision and actions have bettered the city or village in which they live. 

Please read about all of the winners the the sections below.  

BUSINESS OF THE YEAR 

Recognizes a successful Pike County business and Chamber member that has demonstrated integrity and community involvement.

Dan Perez of Whitetail Properties and Beth White

The Award for 2016 went to Whitetail Properties Real Estate, LLC .  Pictured here is Dan Perez & Beth White (Chamber)

Whitetail Properties Real Estate is a nationwide company with its corporate office and roots deeply embedded in Pike County.  As it continues to grow, it brings more awareness, recognition and d growth to the county.  Whitetails Properties is licensed in 24 states, and has over 170 real estate agents throughout the Midwest.  Through their national TV Show, Whitetail Properties TV, they entertain and educate over 43 million viewers twice a week on the Sportsman Channel. Whitetail Properties distributes a real estate land magazine, American Land.

Because Pike County is home to Whitetail Properties Real Estate, they bring a lot of people to our community.  They provide training and meeting opportunities for their agents here in Pike County at their corporate office. For example, their Annual Sales Meeting brings as many as 200 agents, spouses and speakers to Pike County.

Whitetail properties gives back to the community they call home as a proud supporter of conservation groups, and local fundraisers.  Whitetail Properties offers a scholarship called “We grow Dreams”. 

We are proud to award our Business of the Year to Whitetail Properties Real Estate LLC.

VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR

Recognizes a Pike County resident who volunteers his or her time to support the County and his or her community.  We are proud to say that Volunteerism is alive and well in Pike County.  

Jennifer Liehr and Beth White

The 2016 Winner was Jennifer Liehr

Jennifer Liehr is a human dynamo who provides much of the heart and soul of the Perry Community.  She is the main organizer and driving force behind Perry Pioneer Day, Perry’s hometown festival.  She is also the main organizer of the Perry stop on the Pike County Fall Color Drive each October.  Both of these events she has shouldered for many years.  She is also actively involved with the Perry Color Run.  She organizes the Perry Easter Egg Hunt, and is active in the Perry Methodist Church. 

Jennifer is an active member of the Pittsfield Lions Club and is a participant in every fund raising activity.  During Pike County Pig days (the Lions Club’s event) Jennifer heads the Kids Games Committee and is an instrumental part of the Entertainment Committee. 

Jennifer is also involved in the Honor Flight Program and is always there to greet veterans when their flight returns home.
as the energy to do all this while operating a Daycare is amazing.  We salute Jennifer Liehr as our Volunteer of the Year!

COMMUNITY BETTERMENT  

New Philadelphia Association
Recognizes the contribution of an individual or group of individuals whose vision and action has bettered the city or village in which they live.

The 2016 winner is the New Philadelphia Association board

Since 1996 the NPA has been working to preserve the New Philadelphia town site and promoting the legacy of Frank McWorter and the New Philadelphia community. 

The group has logged countless hours getting the site named to the National Register of Historic Places in 2005,  designated as a National Historic Landmark (in 2009), and included in the National Park Services Underground Railroad Network in 2013. 

NPA worked to obtain the funding for building a Kiosk, (thanks to JWCC and IREC), developed and launched a virtual reality tour, and conducts a yearly speaker series.  It worked with legislators on the passage of a bill authorizing a feasibility study for the site’s inclusion in the National Park System.  NPA organized a public meeting for the National Park Service as part of the study- the first ever in Pike County.  If approved as a unit of the National Park Service, New Philadelphia will have a huge economic impact on Pike County and our region.    

Fickle Goddess Of Fortune 

Several years ago, while going through some old Chamber files, we discovered the original Articles of Incorporation from the early 1950s for what was then the Pittsfield Chamber of Commerce (we became the Pike County Chamber in 1987). The articles stated " the purpose of the organization was to promote the general trade and commerce and perpetuate the visitation of the fickle goddess of fortune". Since then, we have bestowed the Goddess (a traveling doll) to a business we feel fortunate to have attracted- and therefore the fickle goddess has smiled on us!

Doug Daniel and Beth White

This year the Fickle Goddess was awarded to Doug Daniel and Pikeland Motors

Doug started his business in the automotive field in Detroit, Illinois as Detroit Motors.  In spring, 2008 he purchased the old County Market Building in Pittsfield and the business became Pikeland Motors. Later Doug acquired the former Oitker Outdoors building, also on West Washington. In February of 2012, the new car and repair business of Pikeland Motors moved up to the Pittsfield Square after purchasing Zimmerman’s.  

Doug’s business has grown and he now employs 12-13 people in the automotive side of the business.  Equally impressive is the investment he has made in improving our community. He owns and has renovated most of the east side of the Square, making space available for new businesses.  Since most of the businesses have apartments upstairs, which he has also renovated, a number of Pike County residents are enjoying affordable downtown living.  In addition to the apartments, Doug also owns close to 20 rental homes.  Renovation is done by local contractors, contributing to the economy of the area.

We bestow the Fickle Goddess of Fortune to Doug Daniel and Pikeland Motors for the commitment to Pittsfield through his auto dealership, the buying and renovating business buildings and apartments on the Square, and rehabbing residential homes around town.  


2016 Annual Meeting 

The Annual Pike County Chamber of Commerce Business Meeting & Dinner was held Thursday, March 31st at the Griggsville American Legion.  The meeting was attended by  just over 100 Chamber members, state, city and village officials, county board representatives, and members of the media.  Networking and social time began at 6:00 PM, with dinner and the program immediately following.  A delicious catered meal was provided by Chamber member Double M Catering and member Hopewell Winery provided wine tasting and sales by the glass and bottle. Member Pauline Little furnished beautiful floral arrangements and Addie Cunningham Photography took the great photos you will see in this section and in our newsletter. 

The program focused on the Pike County Chamber of Commerce’s 2015 highlights and activities, tourism, and key initiatives planned for 2016.  Our 2015 Annual Report can be found in the section listed in the blue menu bar to the left.

The Chamber’s 2016 sponsors were recognized at the meeting and a PowerPoint presentation containing a thank-you message and their logos ran as a continuous loop throughout the social hour and dinner.  We recognize our 2016 sponsors in the "Sponsor" section, and their logos are throughout our newsletters.  We will recognize them year round. 

The highlight of the evening is always the awards ceremony.  This year Chamber Board president Jill Moss made the presentation.  Each year the Chamber presents a  Business of the Year, Volunteers of the Year, and Community Betterment Awards.  The winners for all of the awards were selected from nominations made by chamber members and the community at large.  There were a number of nominations for each award.  The Fickle Goddess of Fortune made her seventh appearance as well— you can read more below. 

We believe strongly that each person or business nominated was worthy and we hope they feel honored to be recognized by their peers.  Our awards ceremony features a presentation  that shares the key points from their nomination submission.  It was clear that volunteerism and business is alive and well in Pike County.  The selection criteria is below:   

The Business of the Year recognizes a successful Pike County business that has demonstrated integrity and community involvement.

The Volunteer of the Year can be any Pike County resident who volunteers his or her time to support Pike County and his or her community. 

The seventh annual Community Betterment Award is intended to recognize the contribution of an individual or group of individuals whose vision and actions have bettered the city or village in which they live. 

Please read about all of the Volunteer and Community Betterment winners the the sections below.  Our Business of the Year winner, Chris Sitton and Pittsfield Save-A-Lot is featured immediately below.   

BUSINESS OF THE YEAR

business of the year

Chris Sitton and Pittsfield Save-a-Lot were recognized as our Business of the Year. The store has been in operation for 27 years and has served the community well.  Chris also was nominated as a Volunteer of the Year.  Combined Chris and the store were recognized for a number of activities and organizations they help: the Pike County Christmas Basket Program, county fire departments, Pike County 911, Shriners, Law Enforcement, Pittsfield Lions, toy and food drives, raffles, and events such as Taste of Pike County and Redneck Fun Day.  What was unique about the nomination was that it included signatures from 26 other people– that’s how strongly our nominating person felt about Chris and Save-A-Lot! 

Chris & Emily received a standing ovation from the crowd. Congratulations on a well deserved honor. Chris and her daughter Emily are shown here with our Executive Director Kaye Iftner on the left and Chamber Board president Jill Moss on the right.  Thank you to Pittsfield Save-a-Lot for 27 years of community service. 

VOLUNTEERS OF THE YEAR

Maxine Wilder

Maxine Wilder
Maxine was named a Volunteer of the Year as part of our celebration. Maxine has volunteered for at least 28 years at Illini Community Hospital. It is believed she has worked more hours on a voluntary basis than anyone else at the hospital at this time. Thanks to her example, many others have volunteered at Illini. Maxine is also active in her Methodist Church having served as co-chair of the salad luncheon for 25 years. Proceeds are sent to missions around the world. 

Maxine has been on the church dining room committee for over 29 years, and has been an active rug maker in the church. Rugs are sold a fundraiser.  Maxine works tirelessly for others, her church, the hospital and the community.

Jacke and Chuck Shireman with Jill
Jackie and Chuck Shireman
Volunteers of the Year Jackie and Chuck Shireman were recognized for their tireless work with the Pleasant Hill Little League. Jackie as president now for several years, and her husband Chuck have succeeded in bringing Pleasant Hill Little League back from the brink and now seeing it prosper to the benefit of the entire community. Jackie has worked to coordinate the village, school, park board and little leagues to refurbish and improve the 2 ball fields used by the little league. The program provides service to more than 100 children and their families.

 Gary Woods  and Lloyd

Gary Woods and Lloyd Lawber were recognized as Volunteers of the Year for their work on the Pike County All Wars Museum.  Gary and Lloyd have worked countless hours preparing the museum for a 2016 opening.  Gary has organized work nights for the Pittsfield Rotary to help with the remodel.  The mission of the Pike County All Wars Museum is to establish and maintain a collection of military artifacts in a manner that not only preserves their value but also represents the many stories of sacrifice, heroism, and reality regarding war and the true cost of freedom.

COMMUNITY BETTERMENT 
Pittsfield Rotary

The Pittsfield Rotary Club 
Although it is named the Pittsfield Rotary Club, this dynamic organization has members from throughout the county.  The Club chose the Pike County All Wars Museum as a special club grant project in 2015 and 2016.  The club applied for a matching grant through Rotary District 6460 to provide much needed financial help towards the construction of the museum in the former VFW building adjacent to the Old East School.  But the club’s commitment didn’t stop there.  Rotarians have provided physical labor through several work nights to get the museum ready for opening. Accepting for the club were members of the Pittsfield Rotary who were in attendance at the meeting.

 Pole Shed Open

The Pole Shed Open Committee
The annual Pole Shed Open Committee was recognized as a Community Betterment winner this year.  The dedicated group organizes this clever and highly successful event that has raised ten of thousands of dollars to benefit agricultural education in the school system.  The size and scope of the project demonstrates the large involvement.  The Pole Shed Open (a travelling putt-putt golf tournament) strikes the perfect balance between financial success and fun– and allows ag alumni to show their concern and passion for FFA. They are working to insure FFA will be there for many years.  The group could just as easily been nominated under the volunteer category, but we can’t think of a better way to show vision and effort for Community Betterment than by investing in our children.  Accepting the award is Jim Sheppard, a member of the Pole Shed Open committee.

The Fickle Goddess of Fortune visits Pike County again! 

Revolution Cannabis Barry_jill and Kaye

Revolution Cannabis Barry

Seven years ago, while going through some old Chamber files, we discovered the original Articles of Incorporation from the early 1950s for what was then the Pittsfield Chamber of Commerce (we became the Pike County Chamber in 1987).  The articles stated " the purpose of the organization was to promote the general trade and commerce and perpetuate the visitation of the fickle goddess of fortune". Since then, we have bestowed the Goddess (a traveling doll) to a business we feel fortunate to have attracted- and therefore the fickle goddess has smiled on us!

Revolution Enterprises was awarded the Fickle Goddess of Fortune!

Revolution Cannabis Barry is an enormous, state-of-the art facility designed to lead the world in production, 
research and development of medicines derived from cannabis.  The more than 75,000 square foot facility uses highly advanced cannabis plant monitoring technologies to achieve precision accuracy and tracking of plant inputs and other critical control factors.  Revolution Cannabis-Barry operations commenced in August of 2015.

Thanks to CEO Tim McGraw for coming down from Northern Illinois to accept the award and to Lance Kendrick and the other Revolution folks for joining us.  Life. Liberty. Cannabis and the Fickle Goddess of Fortune!

Again, we salute all of our award winners and thank our members for their continues support.

Coming soon:  minutes from the business meeting portion of our event. 


2015 meeting recap

The 28th Annual Pike County Chamber of Commerce Business   Meeting & Dinner was held Thursday, March 26th at the American Legion in Griggsville. The meeting was attended by approximately 95 Chamber members, state, city and village officials, county board representatives, and members of the media.  

Networking and social time began at 6:00 p.m., with dinner and the program immediately following.   A delicious catered meal was provided by Red’s Smokin’ Choo Choo & More of Pittsfield.  Hopewell Winery was available for wine tasting and wine sales by the glass and bottle.   Chamber Board member David Fuhler served as emcee for the evening.

Twenty two Chamber sponsors were recognized at the meeting. Five Platinum Level sponsors for 2015 are Rep. C.D. Davidsmeyer, Farmers State Bank, Illini Community Hospital, Neal Tire and Two Rivers Jeep Club.  Five VIP sponsors for 2015 are Cintas, Farmers National Bank of Griggsville, Pike County Economic Development, Pike County Farm Bureau and United Community Bank.  First Class sponsors include CASSCOMM, Casteel’s, First National Bank of Barry, Illini Health Services, Illinois Rural Electric Cooperative, Niebur Funeral Homes, Northwestern Mutual Financial, Senator Sam McCann, and Wright Place Autobody.  There are three Business Class sponsors, International Eyecare, Pike County Housing Authority, and Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park at Pine Lakes. Sponsors were recognized through a continuous loop PowerPoint played throughout the evening, on the back of the program and announced by the emcee, David Fuhler.

The highlight of the evening was the awards ceremony.  Each year the Chamber presents its Business of the Year and Volunteer of the Year awards.  In addition, the sixth annual Community Betterment Award was presented.  The winners were selected from nominations made by chamber members and the community at large.

2015 AWARDS PRESENTATION  

The highlight of our Annual Dinner meeting is the Awards Presentation.  All of our winners will be celebrated in the local papers, and featured in Chamber communications. 

VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR
Recognizes a Pike County resident who volunteers his or her time to support the County and his or her community.

We are proud to say that Volunteerism is alive and well in Pike County. So much so that we have two winners this year: 
Dr. Stephen Liesen of the Barry Dental Clinic and Heather Hayden

Dr. Stephen Liesen of the Barry Dental Clinic

Dr. Liesen has voluntarily served as the dentist member of the Pike County Board of Health since 1998. For more than 10 years, Dr. Liesen volunteered his time to the health department dental sealant grant program, applying dental sealants for students in Pike County schools. As the only private practice dentist in Pike County who accepts patients who are covered by the Medicaid card, Dr. Liesen saw the need for a safety net dental clinic in Pike County.

While operating his own busy private practice in Barry, he has been an avid supporter and determined champion for the development of the Pike County Dental Clinic. He was instrumental in securing a dentist for the Dental Clinic; assisting with policy and procedure development, and training Clinic staff in his own private office.

Dr. Liesen performs surgical dental procedures at Illini Community Hospital, for patients, including small children, for whom these necessary procedures are not possible in the regular dental office setting.

In addition to all the above, Dr. Liesen volunteers his time and expertise at least one day per month at the Pike County Dental Clinic, to provide oral health services for difficult cases.  Many times he also brings his own staff and his own dental instruments. While providing care to Dental Clinic patients, he is also teaching Clinic staff, thus assisting staff to increase their knowledge and improve their skills.

Dr. Stephen Liesen goes well above and beyond to give his time to assure those who have gone without dental services, are now able to receive care. The amount of time Dr. Stephen Liesen volunteers to the Pike County Health Department and Dental Clinic is a true asset to our community and we believe he should be publically acknowledged for his generosity, kind heart and compassionate ways.  Congratulations to Dr. Liesen. 

Dr  LiesenBarry Dental Clinic

Heather Hayden

For many years, Heather Hayden has been giving of her time and energy for the betterment of young people in our community.

Heather is one of the key leaders in the Pike County Youth Soccer organization. This group serves several hundred children from as young as 5 or 6 years old all the way through high school. Young people get to enjoy this opportunity because of Heather Hayden’s hard work and dedication. Heather organizes sign ups, finds quality coaches and runs the actual game day operations with the concession stand and keeping everything going smoothly.

Heather has also served for the past 5 or 6 years as a volunteer coach for the Saukee Cheerleading organization. Heather, along with her co-volunteer coach, Becky McCartney, took an organization that was down to 3-4 girls and slowly molded it into one of the best extracurricular programs Pittsfield High School offers. They were willing to work with Callie Sears when she was hired as a teacher to include her and encourage her to take over the program. Heather never once looked for personal praise, but instead was always willing to giving recognition to her fellow coaches, the parents and the student-athletes. She traveled to many events and spent many long hours at practices without having a child involved in the program and instilled her passion for perfection in the student-athletes she was/is coaching.

Heather has also been a major advocate of the FFA program at Pittsfield High School. She was one of a small group who came up with the idea for the annual “Pole Shed Open.” In its first year, the event raised money for the Charles “Chief” Ferguson Scholarship. This February, the event raised more than $18,000 for the Ty Rylander Ag Scholarship. Heather put many hours of work into planning, organizing and participating in this event that gives funds to help benefits students in our area and will continue to do so for years to come.

The Pike County Chamber is proud to present the Volunteer of the Year award to Heather for her many years and continued service to our community.

Heather Hayden

BUSINESS OF THE YEAR 
Recognizes a successful Pike County business that has demonstrated integrity and community involvement.

Our 2014 Business of the Year is:

Farmers State Bank 

FSB celebrated 125 years in business this year (since 1889) and employs 53 Pike County residents in Pittsfield.  FSB provides two $1,000 scholarships per year to Pike County students. The bank offers a Bank at School program at PCS where a bank employee teaches 5th grade students one day a month for 9 months - about money, saving and how to pay for things.  FSB established the Farmers State Bank Financial Scholars program at Pittsfield High School.  Farmers State Bank manages a seed test plot as a service to local farmers and publishes the unbiased results so operators can make more informed seed selection decisions. It also hosts an annual dinner with farmers and seed reps to celebrate the independent seed plot and harvest. FSB is a strong supporter of 4-H, and bank employees are active in many civic and community organizations such as Rotary, Lions, PTO, Farm Bureau and the Chamber of Commerce. FSB has hosted the Girls Night out wrap up party for the past several years.
Farmers State Bank

Community Betterment
Recognizes the contribution of an individual or group of individuals whose vision and action has bettered the city or village in which they live.

The 2014 Community Betterment went to the Pittsfield Lions Club.  The club was nominated for the many diverse contributions to the community in the 95 years they have been in existence here in Pike County.  While many of you may know the Lions Club as the sponsor of Pike County Pig Days and the operators of rides at local festivals, Pittsfield Lions have been serving the residents of the county, particularly those who are sight and hearing impaired in quiet but important ways.

From the very start of the club, they have raised money for various projects. The Lions helped Illini Hospital get funding to build, and helped sell bonds for construction. They were the sponsors of King Park, raised the first $20,000 for the pool to be built, and helped get the WPA to build it.  The Pittsfield Lions gives scholarships each year, and has given food baskets at Christmas to people in need for 95 years.

The Pittsfield Lions have purchased thousands of eyeglasses for adults and kids in our area who would not have been able to afford them, and collected used eyeglasses for Lions International for distribution around the world.

The Lions have helped shape Pittsfield and Pike County into the great place we all enjoy, and we are proud to award them this honor!
Pittsfield Lions

FICKLE GODDESS OF FORTUNE

As many of you know, we introduced this traveling recognition last year when we discovered in our history our original purpose when the organization filed articles of incorporation. Our goal is to recognize a business that we feel fortunate to have in our county- thus the Fickle Goddess of Fortune has smiled on us.

This year we present the Fickle Goddess to Free Press Coffee on the south side of the Square in Pittsfield.       

Think about this:  How does a town the size of Pittsfield get a "big-city" coffee shop?  Through the vision and hard work of its owners- Jane Ann and Jonas Petty!

Located at their other business, The William Watson Hotel, since opening in June of 2014 Free Press Coffee has provided Pike County residents and visitors with delicious coffees, smoothies, scones, pastries and other yummy items.  As they have grown, so has their menu- and hearty soups and sandwiches are now available. 

But Free Press Coffee is more than just a coffee shop.  It’s a cozy place to do business, a community meeting place, a place for fundraisers, art activities and other community events.  Free Press Coffee now has a Book Club, and a Bicycling Club. 
Jane Ann Petty Fickle Goddess of Fortune
Congratulations to all of our 2014 winners!

HIGHLIGHTS FROM 2014

The 27th Annual Pike County Chamber of Commerce Business  Meeting & Dinner was held Thursday, March 20th, 2014 at the Griggsville American Legion.  The meeting was attended by  just over 100 Chamber members, state, city and village officials, county board representatives, and members of the media.  Networking and social time began at 6:00 PM, with dinner and the program immediately following.  A delicious catered meal was provided by Chamber member Jennifer Niebur and her crew at Catering & More.

The program focused on the Pike County Chamber of Commerce’s 2013 highlights and activities, tourism, and key initiatives planned for 2014. 

The Chamber ‘s 2014 sponsors were recognized at the meeting and a PowerPoint presentation containing a thank-you message and their logos ran as a continuous loop throughout the social hour and dinner.  Special thanks to Platinum sponsors Farmers State Bank, Illini Community Hospital, and Representative C.D. Davidsmeyer.  Our VIP sponsors include First National Bank of Barry, Neal Tire, Northwestern Mutual, Pike County Economic Development, Pike County Farm Bureau, and United Community Bank.  This year’s First Class Sponsors are Area Disposal, CASSCOMM, and Illini Health Services.  2014 Business Class sponsors are Casteels, Illinois Rural Electric Cooperative, New Way Signs, Niebur Funeral Homes, Pike County Housing and Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park at Pine Lakes. 

The highlight of the evening is always the awards ceremony.  Each year the Chamber presents a  Business of the Year and a Volunteer of the Year award.  In addition, the fifth annual Community Betterment Award was presented.  The winners for all of the awards were selected from nominations made by chamber members and the community at large.  There were a number of nominations for each award.  The Fickle Goddess of Fortune made her fourth appearance as well.

We believe strongly that each person or business nominated was worthy and we hope they feel honored to be recognized by their peers.  Our awards ceremony featured a presentation  that shared the key points from their nomination in the words of the person who made the nomination.  It was clear that volunteerism and business are alive and well in Pike County.  Please read about all of the Volunteer, Community Betterment, and Business of the Year nominees and winners below.

2013 winners (announced at the 2014 meeting)

VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR

We had four excellent nominations for Volunteer of the Year- which shows that volunteerism  continues to be one of the strengths of Pike County.  The four nominees were:

Charlie Hull, Kathleen & Bob Dunn, Harry & Shirley Kingery, and Harry Wright

Charlie Hull
Charlie was recognized for his work and volunteer activities with young people. He has been a volunteer with the Pike County Little League, spending many hours improving the ball fields in Pittsfield.  He has also umpired numerous games, served on the Little League board and coached a number of teams. In 2013, he assisted with a coach pitch team that his 6 year old son played with.  Charlie is truly dedicated to the young people in Pike County.  Charlie also participates in the KHQA Student Athlete of the Week program board as a volunteer reviewing and selecting athletes who display leadership on the field or court and also in the classroom.  

Most recently he with a group of other like-minded community volunteers have started a Saukee Nation support group that is targeting how they can assist with extracurricular activities at Pittsfield High School.  Beside his work and volunteer service, Charlie is also active in his church activities playing in the praise team at First Christian Church in Pittsfield, where he and his family attend. 

Kathleen & Bob Dunn
Kathleen and Bob were recognized for always doing for others without any thought of “What’s in it for Us?” Kathleen was cited recognized for her commitment to education as a retired teacher and mentor, Bob for all the people he has touched with his love for fishing and being such a great handyman.  Most importantly, they are a true team– they both volunteer at Illini Community Hospital and at St. Mary’s Church.  Kathleen  also counsels those fighting cancer through a support group and Bob drives people to cancer treatments. 

Harry & Shirley Kingery
Harry & Shirley are actively involved with the Pike County Senior Center, participating in 
countless activities that serve the seniors in our area. Many of their activities are centered around providing entertainment through their music.  Shirley teaches a chair class for seniors.

Harry Wright
Harry has spent a lifetime in Rotary and is also a member of the Pike County Shrine Club.  He volunteers at the hospital, is active with the American Legion, where he calls bingo and works their events.  Harry is a member of the Pike County Board and is currently president of the Board of Two Rivers Regional Council of Public Officials.  Harry is a past winner of the Chamber’s Volunteer of the Year Award.  In short, Harry is always willing to put himself out there in the community!

When the votes were tallied, 
Bob and Kathleen Dunn were awarded Volunteer of the Year honors.  Congratulations Bob and Kathleen!

Community Betterment

We had three nominations for this award, which we introduced in 2011.  The nominees were:
Pike County Health Department/Pike County Dental Clinic
Village of Detroit and the East Pike Lending Library
Kathy Zimmerman

Pike County Health Department/Pike County Dental Clinic

Since 1966, PCHD has provided essential public health services for all of Pike County and has also offered Medicare 
Certified Home Health Services for those within a 40 mile radius of Pittsfield.

PCHD along with numerous community partners identified oral health care for underserved Pike County children to be an unmet need which must be addressed. After nearly 10 years of researching, grant writing, planning, and organizing, PCHD opened the Pike County Dental Clinic in Dec. 2013. In 3 months, the staff at Pike County Dental Clinic has provided 
dental care for over 300 children from 24 zip codes and 6 IL counties. These children and many more, will now have a dental home for regular and ongoing dental care.

Village of Detroit & East Pike Lending Library

Village president Steve Manker and the Village has been very active getting vacant lots cleaned up and improving the look of the community.  Working together with Susan Jump and members of the community they now have a free lending 
library serving the needs of south east Pike County.

Kathy Zimmerman

No one works as tirelessly as Kathy to preserve and promote our rich Lincoln and Civil War heritage.  As 
Executive Director of the Abe Lincoln Project of Pike County, Kathy was instrumental in getting Pittsfield designated as a Looking for Lincoln community and getting several wayside exhibits located in the area.  Kathy heads up the Civil War reenactment that takes place the first weekend in June each year at Lake Pittsfield. 

2013

The 26th Annual Pike County Chamber of Commerce Business Meeting & Dinner was held Thursday, March 21st, 2013 at Collver Family Winery in Barry. David Fuhler, WBBA Radio and immediate past president of the Chamber Board served as Master ofCeremonies.  The meeting was attended by over 150 Chamber members, state, city and village officials, county board representatives, and members of the media.  

The theme of the meeting was “25 Years of Connecting Pike County” in recognition of the 25th anniversary of the Chamber changing from a Pittsfield only Chamber to a countywide Chamber in 1987.  The program took a look back at the last 25 years before focusing in on 2012 highlights.

Cake   Medium       David Fuhler as Master of Ceremonies  Large

Networking and social time began at 6:00 p.m., with dinner and the program immediately following.  A delicious catered meal was provided by Catering & More, Pittsfield, IL.

Twelve Chamber sponsors were recognized at the meeting. Three VIP sponsors for 2013 are Area Disposal, Neal Tire and the Pike County Farm Bureau. Three First Class sponsors include CASSCOMM, Illini Community Hospital and Niebur Funeral Home.  There are six Business Class sponsors: Casteel’s, Representative C.D.Davidsmeyer, Illini Fitness, Pike County Housing, Wright Place Auto Body and Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park at Pine Lakes.

The highlight of the evening was the awards ceremony.  Each year the Chamber presents Business of the Year and Volunteer of the Year awards.  In addition, the fourth annual Community Betterment Award was presented.  The winners were selected from nominations made by chamber members and the community at large.

There were a number of nominations for each award. We used a PowerPoint presentation to recognize each nominee, as we feel each person or business nominated was worthy in their own rights.  We wanted the audience to understand the nominees' contributions to the Chamber and Pike County.  

VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR

There were three excellent nominees for Volunteer of the Year: 

Kathleen & Bob Dunn  Kathleen was recognized for her commitment to education as a retired teacher and mentor.  Bob & Kathleen both volunteer at Illini Community Hospital and at St. Mary’s Church.  Kathleen also counsels those fighting cancer through a support group and Bob drives cancer patients to their treatments.

 Janita Metcalf has maintained and expanded the Barry Museum for many decades since founding it.  Most recently she campaigned to raise funds to restore the civil war era flag the museum owns and succeeded!  Janita has kept the county informed with articles in local papers.  As a result of her efforts, the Barry museum is an anchor of local history, culture and tourism. 

Ann Yaeger at 92 years of age is a vital volunteer at the Pike County Reach-out Center & Food Pantry. Dedicated and dependable, she is there every day they are open. When her eyesight started to fail, Ann continues to get there by walking the 4 blocks to the center.  In good weather she drives her motorized scooter- in bad weather her grandson takes her. But rain or shine you’ll find her there serving our community.

Richard Metcalf accepting the award for his mom Janita  Large                     janita metcalf march  smaller

The Volunteer of the Year was presented to Janita Metcalf.  Janita was unable to attend due to health issues but the presentation included a photo of her and the award was accepted by her son Richard Metcalf.  

BUSINESS OF THE YEAR

The Chamber had two nominations for Business of the Year which shows that Business is also alive and well in Pike County.  Those two businesses were Farmers National Bank of Griggsville and Two Rivers FS.

Farmers National Bank of Griggsville began business on February 13, 1943 and is celebrating 70 years of serving Pike County this year.  When the bank opened its doors in 1943, 181 citizens deposited $140,000 that first day. Today, their facilities in Griggsville, Milton, and Mt. Sterling offer full service to their customers. The nomination for FNB was made by the Village of Milton.  The Milton branch donates napkins for fundraising activists for East Pike Fire Protection District and Ladies Auxiliary.  They also donate a hog to the Milton Corn Carnival each year and make a monetary donation to the Corn Carnival as well. FNB worked with East Pike FPD to purchase a dilapidated property in Milton which will soon be home to a new East Pike firehouse. President Doug Smith is just a phone call away and isn't too busy to address community issues and concerns.

Recently, FNB donated money towards repairs and restoration on the historic bandstand in the square in Milton.  It was the bank that approached the Village; they wanted to give back to our community after a successful year. FNB asked if there were any projects we needed help with. What a blessing for our town. The bandstand project has just come onto our agenda and FNB fully funded the project.

Friendly, accessible and giving service made Farmers National Bank a candidate for Business of the Year.

Two Rivers FS maintains more than 15 locations throughout their territory to serve their agricultural customers more efficiently. Competent, well-trained staff at each location offers a variety of services for farming operations.  It was Terry Daniel and the Two Rivers branch in Milton that was especially recognized.  Manager Terry Daniel goes above and beyond to help both my community as a whole and the individuals who live there.  Terry provides above and beyond services to members of the Milton community by picking up vehicles in need of tire repairs and then returning them home for the customer once the tires have been replaced or repaired. We guess you could say, he makes house calls!

FS makes a very generous donation to the Milton Corn Carnival each year and rather than specifying items the donation is to be spent on, they allow the Corn Carnival Committee to use the funds as needed.  If the weather is rainy during the Corn Carnival, FS allows the Corn Carnival to hold events in the FS warehouse in Milton. For a community like Milton where there is no gymnasium or large space to hold events, this can be a real lifesaver!

FS also donates napkins and paper plates to the Milton Ballpark (enough for the entire ball season) and East Pike Fire Protection District for fundraising events as well as for the Corn Carnival. Eat some of the awesome food at any event in Milton and chances are it is being served on an FS paper plate!

Each year, FS in Milton hosts a Customer Appreciation Dinner (usually serving delicious pork chops) for customers and the members of the community for free. This well attended event welcomes both customers and members of the community with open arms.  Everyone feels at home there and it is that sense of belonging and community stewardship that make FS in Milton Business of the Year!

Milton FS Manager Terry Daniel will be retiring in September of this year. The Village of Milton felt this award would be a fitting acknowledgment for all the many ways and many years he has served FS and our community.

Terry Daniel Two Rivers FS  Large

The Business of the Year was presented to Terry Daniel and Two Rivers FS.  Terry accepted on behalf of his company and himself.

COMMUNITY BETTERMENT

There two nominations for this award:

Pat Syrcle
Milton 4 H Raise-Its

Milton Raise-its 4H

The club started the Flags in the Park project and raised the funds to surround the Milton town square with American flags on special occasions and holidays. Members put the flags around the square each holiday and take them down following the holiday as well as maintain, repair or replace them as needed. Each fall, 4-H members decorate the Village of Milton with corn stalks, ribbons and bows for the Corn Carnival and Color Drive.  They also plant flowers and maintain the flower beds at the Milton ballpark. 

Milton 4-H members work hard filling over 1200 eggs for the Annual Easter Egg Hunt in Milton and arrive an hour before the Easter Egg Hunt to help the Easter bunny hide the eggs.  Several Milton Raise-Its Bake sales each year also help to keep Milton community friends and families full of goodies, pies, cakes and cookies!

Each Christmas, Milton Raise-Its members contribute items and fill shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child.  This organization sends toy, toiletries and school supplies to children in need around the world. 

Doing good works and good deeds in Milton and around the world, Milton Raise-Its 4-H club betters our community!

Pat Syrcle

Pat has been serving Pike County and the City of Barry for many years.  Pat serves or has served in leadership roles on numerous boards, including the New Philadelphia Association, Illini Community Hospital, and the Western Illinois Economic Development Association.  Pat was instrumental in bringing the Western YMCA to the county and last year was part of a team recognized with the Community Betterment award for that effort.  For many years Pat has helped prepare the City of Barry and Pike County for the future, and has worked to connect us as a region.

The 2012 Community Betterment Award was presented to Pat Syrcle.  Accepting the award for Pat was Lance Kendrick, City Administrator for Barry.  A photo of Mr. Syrcle and his plaque will be posted later.

FICKLE GODDESS OF FORTUNE

Carolyn Casteel and the Fickle goddess   Large       Fickle goddess of fortune   Medium

The Chamber introduced this traveling recognition four years ago when it discovered in its files that the original purpose when the organization filed articles of incorporation was “To promote the general trade and commerce and perpetuate the visitation of the fickle goddess of fortune to our residents”.

The goal is to recognize a business that has taken significant risk, defied the odds, and caused the Fickle Goddess of Fortune to smile on Pike County, a business that the Chamber feels fortunate to have in Pike County.

Te Fickle Goddess of Fortune was first presented in 2010 to J. Roberts Jewelers, in 2011 to Innoventor, and last year to Chestnut Ridge of Pike County Chestnut Farm.  This year the Fickle Goddess of Fortune was presented to Carolyn Casteel and Casteel’s Color Wheel. 

Where would we be without Casteel’s in Pike County?  Casteel’s has been serving customers for over half a century. It opened as a one-room paint and wallpaper store in 1950. Since then, due to client demand, they have expanded services into a three-room store offering interior and exterior home improvement items, custom framing, women and baby apparel, home décor, and more.

From name-brand paints such as Benjamin Moore and Pittsburgh Paint to wallpapers and tools, Casteel’s is a one-stop shop for all of your project needs. You’ll find women’s apparel and accessories along with a helpful staff always willing to help you select the perfect outfit and accessories to allow you to make a memorable impression!

Of course, that’s not all- Casteel’s carries crystal and other gift items, custom framing and window treatment center, home décor, religious and inspirational items, a baby section, and a bridal and baby registries.

The comfortable atmosphere, friendly staff, commitment to quality, and dedication to service is why we thank the Fickle Goddess of Fortune for letting us have Casteel’s!

SPECIAL AWARD PRESENTED TO KAYE IFTNER

Kaye with plaque  Large        Kaye s plaque  Large

Following the four annual awards, Chamber Board president Kent Hawley made a special surprise presentation to Chamber Executive Director Kaye Iftner.  The award was made in appreciation for Iftner’s leadership, dedication, commitment and support to the county’s organizations and Pike County as a whole.  In his remarks Hawley said  “This special award is for someone who isn’t originally from Pike County, and hasn’t spent most of her life here and yet probably does more for Pike County and all of its organizations than anyone I know.  In addition to all of the organizations listed on this plaque, Kaye even finds time to be the executive director of the Chamber and does a fantastic job!” 

ANNUAL BUSINESS MEETING

Following the Awards ceremony, the Chamber conducted its annual business meeting.  Chamber Board President Kent Hawley called the meeting to order.  Minutes from the 2012 meeting were presented and approved.  The financial report was accepted and placed on file.  Two new Board members were elected, Beth White of Farmers National Bank of Griggsville and Brian Nation from Central State Bank.  The Chamber approved a Resolution opposing proposed legislation to raise the minimum wage from $8.25 to $10, citing the adverse impact this increase will have on small businesses. The Chamber also presented and appproved a Commitment of Support for Pike County's proposed Workforce Readiness Certification program.  There being no other business, the meeting adjourned at approximately 8:00 PM.

2012
The 25th Annual Pike County Chamber of Commerce Business Meeting & Dinner was held Thursday, March 29, 2012 at Collver Family Winery in Barry. The meeting was attended by 135 Chamber members, state, city and village officials, county board representatives, and members of the media.  

Networking and social time began at 6:00 p.m., with dinner and the program immediately following.  A delicious catered meal was provided by Stroemers Foods.

Seven Chamber sponsors were recognized at the meeting. Neal Tire is a VIP sponsor of the Chamber.  Illini Hospital and Pike County Farm Bureau are First Class sponsors. There are four Business Class sponsors, Farmers National Bank of Griggsville, Illini Fitness, Wright Place Auto Body and Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park at Pine Lakes.

The program focused on the Pike County Chamber of Commerce’s 2011 highlights, tourism and  key initiatives planned for 2012.  The Chamber announced a new program, MAD Money.  MAD stands for “Making a Difference”.  MAD Money will provide “seed money” to small communities to help them start their own fundraising.  It will be funded with 50% of the money the Chamber takes in collects in sponsorships.

The highlight of the evening was the awards ceremony.  Each year the Chamber presents   Business of the Year and Volunteer of the Year awards.  In addition, the third annual Community Betterment Award was presented.  The winners were selected from nominations made by chamber members and the community at large

There were a number of nominations for each award.  We used a PowerPoint presentation to recognize each nominee since each person or business nominated was worthy in their own rights.  We wanted the audience to see that volunteerism and business is alive and well in Pike County.

VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR

Volunteers of the Year Bonnie Bruce Doug Whitlock  Large           

There were two excellent nominees for Volunteer of the Year, Bonnie Bruce and Doug Whitlock

After retiring from Pikeland School District, Bonnie Bruce could have chosen to only take care of her own wants and desires. But fortunately, she decided to continue her dedication to Pike County by volunteering.

Bonnie is a huge advocate of Illini Community Hospital, and volunteers in many ways for the organization. She volunteers weekly at the information desk, welcoming patients and helping them to their destinations. When Illini installed CareLink units, Bonnie was handled many of the installations in Pike County. During installations, Bonnie was always friendly and caring. She made sure each client understood how to use his or her unit and answered any questions he or she may have had. Bonnie understood the challenges seniors face when dealing with Medicare, so she received SHIP (Senior Health Insurance Program) training, and now voluntarily takes time to help members of our community with Medicare questions.  Not only does Bonnie volunteer at the hospital, but she also volunteers at the Methodist Church in Pittsfield, helps at the voting polls, and drives cancer patients to and from Quincy to receive treatment. Illini Community Hospital considers itself  lucky to have Bonnie at the hospital and in our community.

Doug Whitlock was nominated for his never ending service to the Village of Milton.  In a small town like Milton volunteers are not a luxury, they are a necessity!  Doug has been on the Village of Milton Town Board for over 10 years. He volunteers to cook pork chops at all Little League games in Milton. This is not just an occasional thing. Doug cooks pork chops every night for 8-10 weeks in the summer. That is often in addition to his 12 hour work days at Dot Foods. Many an evening, someone gets the BBQ grill warm as the ballgames begin and Doug races home, after a 12 hour day at work, to cook all evening long for the refreshment stand at the ballpark.

The proceeds from the refreshment sales go towards upkeep of the ballpark as well as purchasing playground equipment. Again, it is Doug who orders the playground equipment and volunteers his time to install it. He makes sure the mulch under the playground equipment is in good shape as well.  Last year, Doug spent other evenings cooking pork chops and hotdogs and helping with our Original Movies in the Park fundraisers to raise money for Milton’s new Christmas decorations. Not only does he help raise the money for the decorations, he spends several days putting up decorations before the holidays and several more days taking them down after the holidays.

Because the Village of Milton does not have a full time employee, it is Doug that gets the Village snow plow ready for winter, fills it with rock chips and even blades the snow on city streets.  Recently Doug spent his day off getting all of the Village’s 5 weed eaters in good repair and ready for mowing season. Doug helps maintain the water and sewer plants. If the water tower runs over in the middle of the night, you call Doug. He gets up and takes care of it and then may have to go to work at DOT at 4am. He is the guy residents call when they have a water leak, billing issue or any other town problem. He will be there digging the ditch or on the phone to help when needed.

After a town board meeting it was Doug who was called upon to tackle a code hearing issue. He has a way of handling these things effectively and peacefully, which is not always easy. Doug does all this and more and all while raising a family and working 12 hour shifts at DOT. As far Milton is concerned, Doug is not just Volunteer of the Year, he’s Superman!

When the votes were tallied there was a tie.  Since both Bonnie and Doug have been nominated before, the Chamber decided to award them both with Volunteer of the Year honors.  Congratulations Bonnie and Doug!

BUSINESS OF THE YEAR

Community Betterment Award to Western Community YMCA group  Large

The Chamber had four nominations for Business of the Year which shows that Business is also alive and well in Pike County.  Those 4 businesses were Area Disposal, Farmers State Bank, First National Bank of Barry and Pike County Farm Bureau.

Area Disposal Service Inc. has been in operationon for 20 years.  Area Disposal now provides free recycling year round to all of Pike County.  They donate free service for all major festivals in Pike County. Area Disposal employees are local, they shop local.  Their landfill pays fees to Pike County that allow the county to do things in the county to benefit all of us, Area Disposal donates both money and services to many organizations in Pike County which last year amounted to over $4,800.  Area Disposal takes pride in their service and loves having its business in Pike County

Farmers State Bank has been in business for 123 years since 1889 and employs 49 Pike County residents in Pittsfield.  FSB provides two $1,000 scholarships per year to Pike County students. The bank offers a Bank at School program at PCS where a bank employee teaches 5th grade students one day a month for 9 months - about money, saving and how to pay for things.  FSB established the Farmers State Bank Financial Scholars program at Pittsfield High School.  This three year commitment, at $3,000 per year, is a web based program that uses video, animations, games, social networking and avatars to teach students about credit scores, insurance, credit cards, student loans, mortgages, taxes, stocks, etc.  Farmers State Bank manages a seed test plot as a service to local farmers and publishes the unbiased results so operators can make more informed seed selection decisions. It also hosts an annual dinner with farmers and seed reps to celebrate the independent seed plot and harvest. FSB is a strong supporter of 4-H, and bank employees are active in many civic and community organizations such as Rotary, Lions, PTO, Farm Bureau and the Chamber of Commerce.

First National Bank of Barry has been in operation since 1901.  They have always been very supportive of community organizations and a strong supporter of both the Chamber and the Pike County Economic Development Corporation.  FNB offers SBA loan guarantee administration to interested businesses, such as to Innoventures in 2011. FNB rolled out new their new KASASA program where customers can earn money from their account activity.  FNB makes many contributions to the community, teaming up with Save-A-Lot on many fundraising projects. The bank also contributes gift certificates and coins to school functions and community events.  First National Bank of Barry was a tremendous supporter of the Western Community YMCA project, supporting it through a 2 month membership incentive of $45,000 towards the project. FNB also purchased memberships for their employees wishing to use the facility.

Pike County Farm Bureau The Pike County Farm Bureau has been a valuable supporter of economic prosperity and growth in the county. They have worked for over ninety years (organizing in May of 1919) to represent the interests of its 2,200 members. The organization's directors provide leadership to local schools, governments, churches, and other groups serving Pike County. The Farm Bureau and its many affiliated businesses provide necessary farm production inputs and risk management services to farmers and rural residents alike.  Farm Bureau led the efforts to create the Pike County Chamber of Commerce.

The winner of the 2011 Business of the Year was Area Disposal Services Inc.

Community Betterment 

Community Betterment Award to Western Community YMCA group  Large 

There were three nominations for the third annual Community Betterment Award.  

The Western Community YMCA Group was nominated for their work to bring a YMCA facility to the county. A copy of the nomination recognizing the group, with all of the committee members can be found here.

The Union Difference was nominated for their work on the Pike County Skate Park.  The Union Difference donated labor to construct the park which opened in November and provides a great addition to the recreational options for our kids. A copy of their nomination and the rationale for nomination is attached here.

The Griggsville Uptown Beautification Committee, the 2009 winner, was nominated again. The group spearheaded the project to beautify the uptown district in Griggsville. As a result of their planning and fundraising efforts, Griggsville has new lights, seating areas, trash receptacles, landscape and a flagpole.  The uptown area is much more appealing during both day and night, and the gigantic US flag serves as a welcoming beacon to all who approach the business district.

The Community Betterment Award was presented to the Western Community YMCA Group.

Fickle Goddess of Fortune
 
Fickle Goddess of Fortune Chestnut Ridge  Large

The Chamber introduced this traveling recognition 3 years ago when it realized that the original articles of incorporation for the organizations listed the purpose as: To promote the general trade and commerce and perpetuate the visitation of the fickle goddess of fortune to our residents. 

The goal is to recognize a business that has taken significant risk, defied the odds, and caused the Fickle Goddess of Fortune to smile on Pike County. 

The Fickle Goddess of Fortune was first awarded  in 2010 to J. Roberts Jewelers where she was proudly on display for a year.  Last year she was presented to Innoventor, Inc of Barry.  This year’s recipient was

Chestnut Ridge of Pike County.  Owned by Dale and Linda Black, Chestnut Ridge currently has 30 acres of Dunstan Chestnut trees in production high on the bluffs above the beautiful Mississippi River Valley on the top of “Atlas Hill”. The trees are planted and tended by hand, and thrive on the lush hillsides.  The Blacks and their crew lovingly pick, clean and package the chestnuts and send them directly from their farm to customers.  It is an amazing operation to see. The farm has been featured in the Pike Press, theQuincy Herald-Whig and in Illinois Farm Bureau’s Farmweek Magazine.  Most recently, Dale and Linda were interviewed by Mark McDonald of Illinois Stories. The segment aired several times on PBS during November.  

Chestnut Ridge took a risk but with hard work and dedication, the Fickle Goddess of Fortune has smiled on them and on all of us here in Pike County.  

Following the Awards ceremony, the Chamber conducted its annual business meeting.  Chamber Board President Kent Hawley called the meeting to order.  The financial report was accepted and placed on file.  Officers had been elected to 3 year terms in 2011, so there were no officer elections or board member nominations.  The meeting adjourned.

Four lovely floral centerpieces donated by Carla Black of Flowers N More were given away as door prizes.  The 50/50 was won by Rod Prentice of State Farm Insurance who donated his winnings to be put into the MAD Money program.

2011
The 24th Annual Pike County Chamber of Commerce Business   Meeting & Dinner was held Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011 at Collver Family Winery in Barry. The meeting was attended by 145 Chamber members, city and village officials, county board representatives and friends.  

Networking and social time began at 6:00 p.m., with dinner and the program following at 6:30 p.m.  Catering was provided by Catering & More.

The program focused on building platforms for business here in Pike County.  Mr. Phil Conover, dean of career, technical and workforce education at John Wood Community College was the featured speaker.  Phil discussed retaining and attracting business in today’s economic climate.  Kaye Iftner, Executive Director of the Chamber presented highlights from 2010 and key initiatives planned for 2011. 

In other Chamber business, Robert Dieker of Barry was elected to the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.  The Board’s leadership team was announced.  David Fuhler, WBBA radio,   completed his 3 year term as president, and Kent Hawley of JWCC and current vice-president was named the new president.  Fuhler will remain on the Chamber Board.  Jill Watkins, Illini Hospital, was named vice president. 

We wish to thank David for his years of service to the Chamber. We also thank him for being the emcee at our meeting every year, and providing the sound system.  He’s been great to work with.  With David staying on an already strong board, and new leadership, we’re positioned for good things in 2011.

The highlight of the evening was the presentation of the Chamber’s annual Business of the Year, Volunteer of the Year, and its second annual Community Betterment Award.  The winners were selected from nominations made by chamber members and the community at large.

There were a number of nominations for each award. The Chamber utilized a PowerPoint presentation to recognize each nominee since each person, business or organization nominated was worthy in their own rights.  We wanted the audience to see that volunteerism and business is alive and well in Pike County.

VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR

There were two excellent nominees for Volunteer of the Year, according to Iftner.

Jim Blakemore and his wife Wanda, volunteers at Illini Community Hospital, were nominated for helping make Illini a great place to receive care.  They are active in Illini’s Cancer Care program. On Wednesdays when the patients come into see the oncologists, they take treats for the patient and always see that the nurses are taken care of too. Jim in particular brings magazines.  It’s not unusual for Jim to be at the hospital on other days to visit with patients and families.  Jim also takes pride in the hospital and has been known to work in the flower beds and around the grounds picking up cigarette butts to keep the hospital looking good.  Jim is a huge advocate for Illini and they are very proud to have him as one of their volunteers.

Ray Davenport has been a Boy Scout leader for nearly 32 years.  He has been a member of the Pittsfield Lions since 1970, and logged many hours operating Lions Club rides at local festivals and selling pork sandwiches.  He is a two time past president of the Lions, holding office in 2 different decades.  Ray has served on the Pittsfield Park Board, and was also chairman of it. Ray was an educator for over 30 years, and during that time coached many sports teams.  Ray served on the Pike County Board, and is currently chairman of the Board for the Griggsville Christian Church.  With these many years of volunteerism and focus on our youth, Ray is a real asset to Pike County.

Ray Davenport was selected as Volunteer of the Year. 

BUSINESS OF THE YEAR

There were five nominations for Business of the Year. Those 5 businesses were:

GFC
Illini Health Services LLC
In Motion
Liberty Village of Pittsfield
Pine Lakes

GFC, owned by Owen and Lisa Brown has been in business for 12 years.  GFC developed, engineered and sells the “Bale Bandit” hay accumulator.  The manufacturing of this machine was brought to Pike County in 2010 and created approximately 9 new jobs.  Visit balebandit.com to learn more.

Illini Health Services LLC was nominated for going over and above to make sure Pike County patients get the medicines, oxygen, services and information they need- often after hours or on weekends- and on I H S employees’ own time.  If they don’t have an answer, they will find it. If they don’t have a certain medicine, they will find it. Always! Always watching out for their customers, the team is an asset to our community.

In Motion, owned and operated by Jane Riley was nominated for advocating and working hard to help Pike County residents of all ages lead healthier lives.  Jane purchased and renovated a business location where one closed. She is enthusiastic and motivating and always keeps current with new programs and information.  The facility at 1135 W. Washington has user friendly hours and easy access.  Jane offers classes for rehab, sports enthusiasts and those who care about their appearance.

Liberty Village of Pittsfield has served Pike County for 20 years.  They provide quality care to the senior and disabled community.  Liberty Village also provides a variety of care options to the community- rehabilitative, hospice, respite, Alzheimers /dementia care, long term care and assisted living. They work closely with other healthcare provides to assure quality care.  Liberty Village employs over 100 people, making it one of the largest employers in the area.

Pine Lakes Resort has been a vital asset to Pike County for several years. Since being under the progressive management of Ted and Deb Festa, the last few years have seen significant improvements that have generated additional tourism for the county and increased leisure activities for residents and visitors alike. Ted and Deb are true entrepreneurs in that they left their jobs and family in another state to come to Pike County to operate a vacation resort.  They have added many new features such as lakefront and creek-side rustic camping which are enjoyed by vacationers and hunters alike.  Most recently, they have secured a Yogi Bear Jellystone Park franchise which will bring many more new features as well as many more tourists to our area- benefiting all of Pike County.

Pine Lakes Resort, soon to be called Yogi Bear Jellystone Park at Pine Lakes was named Business of the Year. 

Deb Festa’s mother passed away Friday morning, March 18th so Deb and Ted were unable to attend the Annual Meeting.  Accepting the award for them was Peggy Piper, a dear friend.  The Festas let the meeting participants know their grand re-opening as Yogi Bear Jellystone Park at Pine Lakes will be Memorial Day weekend. 

COMMUNITY BETTERMENT

The Chamber received two nominations for this award, which was first awarded in 2010:

Citizen Assistance for Purple Martins
Doug Whitlock

Citizen Assistance for Purple Martins was formed in April of 2010 by a group of citizens from the Griggsville area concerned about caring for the 40-foot purple martin tower and the purple martin houses that line Purple Martin Boulevard.  The group held their first work day in May and more than 30 people showed up to help.  A local company provided a bucket truck to assist with the cleaning of the tower.  The group now plans a 3-time overall clean-out (spring, summer and fall) as well as regular maintenance throughout the martin season.  Later last year, the group took on the additional responsibility of staffing the Nature Society Gift Shop in downtown Griggsville to continue to offer martin housing, accessories, wildlife prints and more.   Just recently, CAPM has secured “MartinFest 2011” the 14th annual purple martin festival which was previously held in Finger, Tennessee.  It will be June 17-19, 2011. The efforts of CAPM will help maintain Griggsville as “the Purple Martin Capital” and keep the martins coming back to our area.  The Gift Shop keeps a viable shopping stop for visitors and MartinFest will bring tourism dollars to our area. 

Doug Whitlock, a village trustee in Milton, was nominated for everything he does for the village and its residents.  Doug cooks pork chops at all Little League games in Milton.  They money raised from these pork chop sales goes to the ballpark for maintenance and playground equipment.  Doug also cooks pork chops and helps with movie night fundraisers to raise money for Christmas decorations. Money raised at these movie nights goes to purchase new Christmas decorations for the town.  Doug also blades snow, helps with repairs and takes on many other projects in the village. Because the village does not have a fulltime paid employee, Doug does whatever is needed, whenever it is needed.  Doug Whitlock makes Milton better for all of his hard work.     

Citizen Assistance for Purple Martins was awarded the Community Betterment recognition.

FICKLE GODDESS OF FORTUNE

In 2010 the Chamber introduced a traveling recognition when it discovered some interesting and humorous information in its history.  When the original articles of incorporation were filed, the organization’s purpose was listed as “to promote the general trade and commerce and perpetuate the visitation of the Fickle Goddess of Fortune to our area”  The Chamber presented the Fickle Goddess of Fortune in 2010 to J. Roberts Jewelers where she has proudly been on display this year’s meeting.  The goal of this is to recognize a business that we feel fortunate to have in our county- thus the Fickle Goddess of Fortune has smiled on us.

This year the Fickle Goddess of Fortune was presented to Brian Nation and Innoventor, Inc of Barry

Innoventor, Inc.® has developed and is manufacturing a unique and patented body weight support system (TheraStride™).  The TheraStride System assists individuals in the recovery of ambulation and overall health after Stroke, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), and Spinal Cord Injury (SCI).  Innoventor, Inc. extended their facility base into Illinois by opening up a new manufacturing facility in Barry, IL to produce TheraStrides for the global healthcare market.  Innoventor employs a number of people in the Barry area, and plans further growth in the near future.

2010

Information from the Chamber's 2010 Annual Meeting (held Thursday, March 25th, 2010) at the Crossroads in Pittsfield:

At the Chamber's Annual Dinner Meeting each year, several awards are given.  The Business of the Year and Volunteer of the Year awards have been presented for a number of years,  In 2010, the Community Leadership Award was added, as well as a new recognition- the Fickle Goddess of Fortune.

Business of the Year
The Business of the Year Award recognizes a successful Pike County Chamber member business that has demonstrated integrity and community involvement. 

At the 2010 Annual Dinner Meeting held March 25th, Jim Brown and County Market were presented the 2009 Business of the Year Award for all County Market does to support Pike County events and our schools, and Jim's work bringing boxing to Pike County youth:

             fff     

Jim Brown of Pittsfield's County Market accepts the award from David Fuhler, Chamber Board President, and Kaye Iftner, Executive Director.                

Nominations for Business of the Year are taken from the Chamber membership and the community at large.  Voting is done by the Chamber Board and Chamber Ambassadors.  The 2010 Business of the Year Nomination Form to be awarded at the 2011 Annual Dinner Meeting on March 22, 2011 is provided in PDF format: 2010 Business of the Year Nomination Form

Volunteer of the Year
The Volunteer of the Year Award is presented to a Pike County resident who volunteers his or her time to support Pike County and his or her community.

At the 2010 Annual Dinner Meeting held March 25th, Cindy Gerard was presented the 2009 Volunteer of the Year Award for all she does to support Farm Safety 4 Just Kids, and many other projects:

Cindy Gerard our  Volunteer of the year 

2009 Volunteer of the Year, Cindy Gerard,  accepts her certificate from David Fuhler, Chamber Board President and Kaye Iftner, Executive Director

Nominations are taken from the Chamber membership and the community at large.  Voting is done by the Chamber Board and Chamber Ambassadors.  The 2010 Volunteer of the Year Nomination Form to be awarded at the 2011 Annual Dinner Meeting on March 22, 2011 is provided in PDF format: 2010 Volunteer of the Year Nomination Form.

Community Betterment Award
The Community Betterment Award was presented for the first time in 2010, but will become an annual recognition.  The Community Betterment  Award is intended to recognize the contributions of an individual or group of individuals whose vision and actions have bettered the city or village in which they live. The 2009 Community Betterment Award was presented March 25th, 2010 to the Griggsville Uptown Beautification Committee for their efforts to repair and renovate uptown Griggsville. The 2010 Community Betterment Nomination Form (to be awarded at the Chamber's 2011 Annual Dinner Meeting March 22nd can be downloaded here.

The Griggsville Uptown Beautification Committee, the 2009 winner, was nominated again. The group spearheaded the project to beautify the uptown district in Griggsville. As a result of their planning and fundraising efforts, Griggsville has new lights, seating areas, trash receptacles, landscape and a flagpole.  The uptown area is much more appealing during both day and night, and the gigantic US flag serves as a welcoming beacon to all who approach the business district.

The Community Betterment Award was presented to the Western Community YMCA Group.

The Chamber had four nominations for Business of the Year which shows that Business is also alive and well in Pike County.  Those 4 businesses were Area Disposal, Farmers State Bank, First National Bank of Barry and Pike County Farm Bureau.

Area Disposal Service Inc. has been in operationon for 20 years.  Area Disposal now provides free recycling year round to all of Pike County.  They donate free service for all major festivals in Pike County. Area Disposal employees are local, they shop local.  Their landfill pays fees to Pike County that allow the county to do things in the county to benefit all of us, Area Disposal donates both money and services to many organizations in Pike County which last year amounted to over $4,800.  Area Disposal takes pride in their service and loves having its business in Pike County

Farmers State Bank has been in business for 123 years since 1889 and employs 49 Pike County residents in Pittsfield.  FSB provides two $1,000 scholarships per year to Pike County students. The bank offers a Bank at School program at PCS where a bank employee teaches 5th grade students one day a month for 9 months - about money, saving and how to pay for things.  FSB established the Farmers State Bank Financial Scholars program at Pittsfield High School.  This three year commitment, at $3,000 per year, is a web based program that uses video, animations, games, social networking and avatars to teach students about credit scores, insurance, credit cards, student loans, mortgages, taxes, stocks, etc.  Farmers State Bank manages a seed test plot as a service to local farmers and publishes the unbiased results so operators can make more informed seed selection decisions. It also hosts an annual dinner with farmers and seed reps to celebrate the independent seed plot and harvest. FSB is a strong supporter of 4-H, and bank employees are active in many civic and community organizations such as Rotary, Lions, PTO, Farm Bureau and the Chamber of Commerce.

First National Bank of Barry has been in operation since 1901.  They have always been very supportive of community organizations and a strong supporter of both the Chamber and the Pike County Economic Development Corporation.  FNB offers SBA loan guarantee administration to interested businesses, such as to Innoventures in 2011. FNB rolled out new their new KASASA program where customers can earn money from their account activity.  FNB makes many contributions to the community, teaming up with Save-A-Lot on many fundraising projects. The bank also contributes gift certificates and coins to school functions and community events.  First National Bank of Barry was a tremendous supporter of the Western Community YMCA project, supporting it through a 2 month membership incentive of $45,000 towards the project. FNB also purchased memberships for their employees wishing to use the facility.

Pike County Farm Bureau The Pike County Farm Bureau has been a valuable supporter of economic prosperity and growth in the county. They have worked for over ninety years (organizing in May of 1919) to represent the interests of its 2,200 members. The organization's directors provide leadership to local schools, governments, churches, and other groups serving Pike County. The Farm Bureau and its many affiliated businesses provide necessary farm production inputs and risk management services to farmers and rural residents alike.  Farm Bureau led the efforts to create the Pike County Chamber of Commerce.

The winner of the 2011 Business of the Year was Area Disposal Services Inc.

Community Betterment 

Community Betterment Award to Western Community YMCA group  Large 

There were three nominations for the third annual Community Betterment Award.  

The Western Community YMCA Group was nominated for their work to bring a YMCA facility to the county. A copy of the nomination recognizing the group, with all of the committee members can be found here.

The Union Difference was nominated for their work on the Pike County Skate Park.  The Union Difference donated labor to construct the park which opened in November and provides a great addition to the recreational options for our kids. A copy of their nomination and the rationale for nomination is attached here.

The Griggsville Uptown Beautification Committee, the 2009 winner, was nominated again. The group spearheaded the project to beautify the uptown district in Griggsville. As a result of their planning and fundraising efforts, Griggsville has new lights, seating areas, trash receptacles, landscape and a flagpole.  The uptown area is much more appealing during both day and night, and the gigantic US flag serves as a welcoming beacon to all who approach the business district.

The Community Betterment Award was presented to the Western Community YMCA Group.

Fickle Goddess of Fortune
 
Fickle Goddess of Fortune Chestnut Ridge  Large

The Chamber introduced this traveling recognition 3 years ago when it realized that the original articles of incorporation for the organizations listed the purpose as: To promote the general trade and commerce and perpetuate the visitation of the fickle goddess of fortune to our residents. 

The goal is to recognize a business that has taken significant risk, defied the odds, and caused the Fickle Goddess of Fortune to smile on Pike County. 

The Fickle Goddess of Fortune was first awarded  in 2010 to J. Roberts Jewelers where she was proudly on display for a year.  Last year she was presented to Innoventor, Inc of Barry.  This year’s recipient was

Chestnut Ridge of Pike County.  Owned by Dale and Linda Black, Chestnut Ridge currently has 30 acres of Dunstan Chestnut trees in production high on the bluffs above the beautiful Mississippi River Valley on the top of “Atlas Hill”. The trees are planted and tended by hand, and thrive on the lush hillsides.  The Blacks and their crew lovingly pick, clean and package the chestnuts and send them directly from their farm to customers.  It is an amazing operation to see. The farm has been featured in the Pike Press, theQuincy Herald-Whig and in Illinois Farm Bureau’s Farmweek Magazine.  Most recently, Dale and Linda were interviewed by Mark McDonald of Illinois Stories. The segment aired several times on PBS during November.  

Chestnut Ridge took a risk but with hard work and dedication, the Fickle Goddess of Fortune has smiled on them and on all of us here in Pike County.  

Following the Awards ceremony, the Chamber conducted its annual business meeting.  Chamber Board President Kent Hawley called the meeting to order.  The financial report was accepted and placed on file.  Officers had been elected to 3 year terms in 2011, so there were no officer elections or board member nominations.  The meeting adjourned.

Four lovely floral centerpieces donated by Carla Black of Flowers N More were given away as door prizes.  The 50/50 was won by Rod Prentice of State Farm Insurance who donated his winnings to be put into the MAD Money program.