These four were recognized in the 4 under 40 category at the Winnebago Area Chamber of Commerce Awards Night held last week. (L-R) Chuck Meyers, Staci Thompson, Bobby Heisler and Nichole Smith.

Winnebago Area Chamber of Commerce holds awards night
By Doug Schroder/Editor

The Winnebago Area Chamber of Commerce held their yearly awards night on Thursday, March 14. This year brought about some changes to the event as it was held in a different venue than years past, that being New Life Bible Church on Hoisington Road, with new categories added for the awards. The new awards for 2019 included the Community Betterment Award, Entrepreneur of the Year, Volunteer of the Year, Public Servant of the Year, the One to Watch award and the 4 under 40 recognition.
Guests were treated to a dinner starting at 5:30 p.m. featuring faire from local establishments such as Eickman’s, Anna’s Pizza, Kennedy’s on Benton, Sullivans and Culver’s. At 6 p.m. featured speaker, former Winnebago CUSD 323 Superintendent, Scott Bloomquist started his presentation. Bloomquist is now the Assistant Regional Superintendent Boone-Winnebago County ROE and he spoke of the state of education in his region regarding different types of at-risk students and what he plans to do to assist those students.
Bloomquist also told the story of how he ran into one of his old football coaches at an educational board meeting both were attending. Bloomquist hadn’t seen this coach in years and he felt compelled to tell the coach just how much of an impact the coach had had on his life. The coach was moved, as he had always questioned whether he had made a difference in any of his player’s lives. The coach was quite happy to hear that he had.
When Bloomquist was finished speaking, Beth Clift, of Angel’s Treasures, introduced the nominees and winners of this year’s awards. Winners and the award they won are as follows:
Business of the Year – Freedlund Family Chiropractic and Nutrition
Community Betterment Award – Culver’s of Winnebago
Entrepreneur of the Year – Dan and Amy Kennedy from Kennedy’s on Benton
Volunteer of the Year – Mike Weerda
Public Servant of the Year – Stan Maligranda
One to Watch – Alejandra Kottke from Cornerstone Sun Spa and Boutique
4 Under 40 – Robert Heisler, Chuck Meyers, Nichole Smith and Staci Thompson
Past Citizen of the Year winners were Patricia Wakely 2017, Jim Calvert 2016, Del and Phyllis Tedrick 2015, Ron Huggins 2014, Judie Coots 2013, Faye Reed 2012, Warren Cunningham 2011, Irv Koning 2010, Kris Steinwand 2010, Brian Weavil 2009, Guy Cunningham 2008, Mary Gross 2007, Charles Van Sicle 2005, Dennis and Diane Owens 2004, Laren Gambrel 2004 Sally Jo Huggins 2003, Larry Bolhous 2003, John Weerda 2002, Mary Kissack 2002 and Rita Mitchell 2001.
Past Business of the Year award winners were Sullivan’s 2017, Winnebago Public Library 2016, Anna’s Pizza and Pasta 2015, German American State Bank of Winnebago 2014, Culver’s of Winnebago 2013, Sullivan’s Foods 2012, Cunningham Construction, Inc 2011, Culver’s of Winnebago 2010, First National Bank and Trust 2009 and Anna’s Pizza and Pasta 2008.

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