Father of Year - 1

Keeping three things—faith, family and friends—balanced leads to a happy, healthy soul. That’s the philosophy of life for Jon Lang, of South Beloit, Ill., Country Living magazine’s Father of the Year.

Amy Smith and her son, Rutger, nominated Lang for the award sponsored by the statewide magazine for Illinois electric cooperatives.

Their nomination letter was chosen as the winner, and Lang was honored on June 18 at Rock Energy Cooperative’s Family Night at the Ballpark. He also threw out the first pitch before the Beloit Snappers baseball game.

“We’ve had a lot of fun nights out here, but I don’t think that we’ve ever had as special an evening as tonight with Jon Lang being awarded the Father of the Year,”

Shane Larson, Rock Energy’s chief executive officer, said in a brief presentation before the game. “That is a wonderful honor that we’re so happy to bring to northern Illinois.”

As Father of the Year, Lang received gifts from Rock Energy and the Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives. In addition, a $100 donation was made in his honor to the Rock River Food Pantry, where he volunteers and serves on the board of directors.

Lang worked as a Rockford firefighter for 30 years while operating a small hog farm southeast of South Beloit.

Since he retired, the farm has expanded from four to 45 sows with a new litter coming every two weeks. Duane Noland, president and chief executive officer of AIEC, said the award is special because the nominations are made by family members.

He invited Smith, also of South Beloit, to read her nomination, which was a Top Ten list of reasons Lang should be named Father of the Year. The list includes hardworking, honest, passionate, generous, present, role model, friends and family. Faith is the No. 1 reason.

“He is a man of faith,” Smith said of her dad.

“He believes strongly that God has blessed him with everything he has. God put him here to give back to others. He wants to bless others the way the Lord has blessed him.

“Rutger and I admire that most about Dad/Grandpa. He sets a strong faith example for us to follow and to live by. We are blessed to be part of his family, and why we feel so strongly that he is the Father/Grandfather of the Year.”

In accepting the award, Lang said, “This is a family tribute, not just a tribute to me. If it wasn’t for my parents and the influence they had on me when I was growing up, my in-laws once I found my wife and their influence on me, and most of all, my wife (Jane). I couldn’t do any of this without her support.”

Established in 1936, Rock Energy Cooperative is a not-for-profit utility distributing safe and reliable electricity and natural gas to approximately 27,000 meters across its eight-county service area in northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin.

Headquartered in Janesville, Wis., the cooperative also has an office in South Beloit, Ill. For more information, visit www.rock.coop.

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