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Gray: Award winners shine at Woodstock Chamber dinner

Published: Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014 5:00 a.m. CDT

The Woodstock Chamber of Commerce & Industry hosted its 69th annual dinner Thursday at the Woodstock Public House.

Our annual awards are always of interest to the community, shining the spotlight on the best and brightest of the last year.

The 2013 Professional Service Provider of the Year Award was presented to Woodstock Professional & Business Women. The organization has been in the Woodstock community since 1931 and first became a member of the chamber in 1983. The group is involved in community projects including the Miss Woodstock Scholarship Pageant. Since 2005, the organization has provided scholarship money for the pageant and volunteers for the night of the actual event, helping with ticket sales, ushering, and other vital roles pertinent to the evening going off without a hitch. In addition, a member of the Woodstock Professional & Business Women sits on the chamber’s board, helping to support the local business community.

The 2013 Industry of the Year Award went to Claussen Pickle Co. Claussen Pickle Co. has been in the Woodstock community since 1976. A strong business leader, Claussen has been a member of the chamber since 1980 and a chamber partner since 2008. Claussen has been a major sponsor of Woodstock’s annual Pickle Palooza music festival. In keeping with its commitment to the community, Claussen Pickle provides a representative to serve on the chamber board, adding Claussen’s insights on successful business strategy to the whole business community.

The 2013 Retailer of the Year Award went to Woodstock Theatre. A member of the chamber since 2009, the newly remodeled Woodstock Theatre, which is owned and operated by Classic Cinemas, really upped its game in 2013 in terms of chamber activity. The theater was a vital part of the chamber’s membership drive by donating movie passes to all new and renewing members. If that wasn’t enough, the theater took an active role in supporting the chamber’s annual Community Guide publication.

The 2013 Volunteer of the Year Award was taken home by Todd Kinker. When it comes to demonstrating commitment to the chamber, its members, and the community, few can demonstrate a volunteer record to rival Kinker, who is vice president of Golden Eagle Community Bank. He has held a seat on all chamber committees since 2009. He also served as board president from 2009-13. Demonstrating a strong commitment to the chamber, Kinker is always willing to do whatever he can by volunteering his time and talents wherever needed. His guidance, insight, direction, and support has been invaluable to the success of the chamber.

To cap the evening’s festivities, we presented the highly prestigious Harold Buschkopf Community Service Award. This award is given to a deserved Woodstock resident whose commitment to their community is reflected in Buschkopf’s legacy. Buschkopf was a community leader, spokesman and ambassador who gave unselfishly of his time, energy and money. He was a man who loved Woodstock.

This year’s award was given to Kim Larson, executive director of Family Alliance and a Woodstock resident. Larson’s unselfish giving of her time and talents to organizations such as Christmas Clearing House, Tag Sale Days, Woodstock Noon Rotary, Community Development Block Grant Commission and Human Service Advocates of McHenry County made her a worthy recipient. 

We are proud of all of our deserving award winners and applaud them for their unique ways of supporting the Woodstock business community as well as the community itself. But there is no reason that you and your business can’t stand out in supporting the chamber and be award winners in the coming years.

• Shari Gray is executive director of the Woodstock Chamber of Commerce. Reach the chamber at chamber@woodstockilchamber.com or 815-338-2436.

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