By Marianne Mueller


Every year the Stateline Chamber recognizes great works and contributions of businesses or an indivdual who have gone above and beyond in volunteerism or by taking supportive measures. Eight winners were awarded from a nice variety of finalists; each chosen based on public input. Criteria to become a finalist include a total number of nominations and overall merit.

On Thursday evening, Feb. 6 eight winners were announced at the Orchard Farms Pavilion in Rockton.

Outgoing President Ryan Monette recognized and gave special thanks to the event sponsors.

“I was honestly grateful to serve in the capacity of President,” Monette said. “I learned management experience and skills to handle the politics. My leadership is by doing, “added Monette.

“I hope member businesses see the value in being part of the Stateline Chamber of Commerce.”

Monette thanked the Chamber staff, Ambassadors, Board of Directors, legal counsel and all of the past officers for the work they have done. “We have done it all within a budget. “

“Being part of the Chamber is being part of the community. “

Monette gave a warm introduction of last year’s Vice President and 2020 President, John Broda. Monette mentioned several committees that Broda has served on.

“Five years ago the Stateline Chamber celebrated a merger. We saw great business leaders join together and I said, “I have to be part of that,” Broda said. “We have done some great things under Ryan’s leadership. “

In 2019 membership grew by 54 new businesses and held over 20 events throughout the year. The new ELEVATE program was launched as a networking opportunity, connecting members together. This has grown experientially over the past few months.”

“We hosted the 3rd annual Softball Throwdown and many other social and educational events. This year’s Stateline Business Expo, (formerly Ro Ro Expo) is coming in March and we are happy to announce that it will be at Hononegah High Schools Fieldhouse. The last couple of years it was held at Roscoe Middle School.

Broda asked that the Board of Directors stand to be recognized which met with respectful applause.

Ryan Rydell outlined six years of service completed by Patricia Diduch. “While working for the Rockton Village she is a great advocate, “Rydell lauded. “She is responsible for rebranding the Farmers Market. If you have every run an event you know how much works goes into every one. If not for Tricia taking over for us the Farmers Market wouldn’t be what it is today. She also is the organizer of the Rockton Christmas Walk and Yeti Fest. She started on the Chamber Board of Directors and served in this capacity for four years. She has always stayed on point,” Rydell said. Diduch said a few words in acceptance of the award, speaking of her most recent event, Rockton’s Yeti Fest which brought fun for families to the Stateline. She also credited everyone who has worked with her and who has shown support.

Following a social hour complete with entertainment to set the mood for a fun night, and a four course meal WIFR news anchor, Shannon Kelly kept the awards presentation flowing smoothly. “We are coming together tonight to support our businesses,” Kelly said prior to announcing this year’s winners.

The 2020 winners were: New Business: Fresh Horizons Group. Other nominees in this category include Erica’s Board Creations, and Mary’s Market.

Small Business of the Year: Erica’s Board Creations whose owner has future plans on growing her business and expanding by moving into the former Country Cottage building. Also nominated were: RyCom Creative and XL Contracting.

Stillman Bank was awarded Large Business of the Year. Barrick Switzer Law Firm and Savant Capital Management were other nominees.

Community Service went to Harlem Roscoe Fire Department. Additional nominees were: APEX Exteriors and Jim Reilly. Pride of the Stateline was the Rockton River Market. Forest City Gear and Jessica’s Restaurant were nominated.

Chamber Champion: Angi Kolthoff who chaired the Influential Women in Business Luncheon and was recognized for always having a positive attitude was awarded by President Broda. Andy Jones was awarded with the honor of Chamber Ambassador.

In loving memory of Cyndy Fogarty who recently passed away the Stateline Chamber of Commerce; with blessings of Cyndy’s family has renamed the lifetime Achievement Award to the Cyndy Fogarty Lifetime Achievement Award, Fogarty was last year’s Lifetime Achievement recipient. She was the owner of Cyndy’s Country Cottage for 15 years and a long time Rockton resident. Cyndy’s wonderful personality made her a friend to all who knew her. Beyond her kindness for others she also was a generous donor of her time and goods from her place of business. Additionally she was an inspiring volunteer in the Rockton Lions Club and was an active member in the Chamber of Commerce for many years.

The final award of the night went to Dave Syverson who won the Cyndy Fogarty Lifetime Achievement Award for his many contributions to the communities he has served. Barrick Switzer Law Firm and Leonard Porter shared nominations in this category.

A few of the award winners made speeches outlining reasons of gratitude for being nominated and winning. Don Shoevlin of the Harlem Roscoe Fire Department who was unable to attend the presentation expressed being humbled by the recognition and called all of the nominees, “Most deserving.”


The evening concluded with the opportunity to congratulate all of the winners as musical entertainment played in the background.







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