The Serve Illinois Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service presented 24 Illinoisans and four businesses with the Governor’s Volunteer Service Award during a special reception at the Hoogland Center for the Arts on April 20th, 2015. The award recognizes volunteers and volunteer programs that have made a difference in Illinois and highlights the importance of volunteerism and community service.
“These 28 awardees represent the work that 2.57 million Illinoisans do each year,” said Scott McFarland, Executive Director. “The work these individuals and businesses do make the lives of thousands better. We are honored to have the opportunity to highlight their service.”
The Governor’s Volunteer Service Awards focus on five areas: Economic Opportunity, Education, Environmental Conservation, Disaster Preparedness/Response, Health, and Veterans’ Affairs.
Individual awards in each of the commission’s five service regions (Northeast, Northwest, East Central, West Central and Southern Illinois) are presented in three categories: youth ages 18 and under, adult ages 19-54 and seniors ages 55 and older. Additionally, National Service Awards are presented to one Senior Corps, AmeriCorps member in each region. This year marks the third time that the Business Volunteer Engagement Awards will be presented in each region.
DeKalb’s own Dan Kenney was among those who received an award, for his work with the DeKalb County Community Gardens.
Dan received his B.S. in Education from Northern Illinois University in 1977, and is a published writer and poet. He spent nineteen years as educator for the DeKalb County School District, retiring in May of 2013. Dan is and advocate for the disadvantaged, serving as President of the Board of Directors for Hope Haven a homeless shelter in DeKalb, and Treasurer of the Sondra King Memorial Crop Walk to end hunger.
Dan’s true passion is to ensure food security to the nearly 20,000 DeKalb County residents who struggle with hunger. Over the past three years Dan has spent countless hours as the founder, director and chief volunteer for DeKalb County Community Gardens. This not-for- profit organization produced 40,000 pounds of fresh produce over the past three years that was distributed to community organizations, businesses, municipalities, schools and churches. Enlisting the help of 300 volunteers and 70 community partners; the program has grown from several school based sites to over 40 locations throughout the county. Dan’s newest initiatives include the development of a vocational farm as well as exploring the possibility for the creation of a Food Hub bringing farmers, markets and employment opportunities to DeKalb County. Dan has spoken widely on the issue of poverty, food security and community development and is a 2014 appointee to the Illinois Local Foods, Farms, and Jobs Council.
The following are the entire list of 2015 Governor’s Volunteer Service Award recipients. Recipient biographies can be found on Serve Illinois’ website at www.Serve.Illinois.gov.
Northeast Illinois Award Recipients
· Adult: Kenneth Jennings – Chicago –For service to: Gridiron Alliance
· AmeriCorps Member: Dylan Mooney – Wayne –For service to: Northern Illinois Food Bank
· Business: Groupon, Inc. – Chicago — For service to: Chicagoland
· Senior: Dan Kenney – DeKalb — For service to: DeKalb County Community Gardens
· Senior Corps Member: Rita Murphy – Yorkville — For service to: Senior Services Associates
· Youth: Nicole Harrington – Winthrop Harbor — For Service to: Live Out Loud Charity/ Girl Scouts
Southern Illinois Award Recipients
· Adult: Dominic Goggin – Greenville — For service to: Bond County Health Department Hospice Program
· AmeriCorps Member: Maria Madrid – Fairfield — For service to: Wayne County Health Department
· Business: Mt. Vernon Outland Airport — For service to: Mt. Vernon Outland Airport
· Senior: Bev Virobik – Centralia — For service to: City of Centralia Recycling Center
· Senior Corps Member: Judie Louden – Belleville — For service to: RSVP Station Memorial Hospital
· Youth: Savannah Beck – Mt. Vernon — For service to: Cove Connection
East Central Illinois Award Recipients
· Adult: Ed Maubach – Peoria — For service to: Holy Family Parish School
· AmeriCorps Member: Cecilia Montesddeoca – Normal — For service to: McLean County Health Department
· Business: Wells Fargo Home Mortgage – Springfield — For service to: United Way of Central Illinois
· Senior: Trisha Horner – Bloomington — For service to: Fibers of Love
· Senior Corps Member: Vera Bright – Clinton — For service to: Friends in Action & DOVE, Inc. RSVP
· Youth: Allison Schmidt – Altamont — For service to: University of Illinois Extension
West Central Illinois Award Recipients
· AmeriCorps Member: Nick Swope – Macomb –For service to: McDonough County Health Department
· Business: Keller Williams Realty – Peoria — For service to: South Side Mission Camp Kearney
· Senior: Cindy Schuford – Washington — For service to: Threads of Hope and Love
· Senior Corps Member: Alan Kulczewski – Monmouth –For service to: 1st Street Armory/RSVP
· Youth: Alexis Grace Lawson – Colchester — For service to: McDonough District Hospital
Northwest Illinois Award Recipients
· Adult: Scott Brouette – Moline — For service to: WIU/WQPT & regional pre-schools
· AmeriCorps Member: Etta LaFlora – Kewanee – For service to: LVI Jumpstart Program
· Senior: Sharon Kersten – Dixon — For service to: Sauk Valley Community College
· Senior Corps Member: Barbara Novak – Moline — For service to: RSVP of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois
· Youth: Ashlee Werkheiser – Kewanee — For service to: Sunshine Community Services Center
The Serve Illinois Commission is a 40-member (25 voting and 15 non-voting), bi-partisan board appointed by the Governor and administered by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH). Its mission is to improve Illinois communities by enhancing volunteerism and instilling an ethic of service throughout the State.