GENOA – In a fitting tribute during FFA Week, the Genoa-Kingston FFA Chapter was recognized as the Genoa Area Chamber of Commerce’s ambassador of the year.
Chamber Executive Director Cortney Strohacker, who took over the role in December, said FFA members are always willing to volunteer.
“The award is given to an individual or group that gives back to the community,” Strohacker said. “They do that. They provide so much community service. You see the FFA volunteering for everything.”
She said chapter members assisted with the painting and renovation of the chamber’s new office at 111 N. Sycamore St., and they annually provide a petting zoo during the Celebrate the Season downtown holiday event and help with the March business expo.
“Their adviser, Annica Hulstedt, bends over backwards to get them doing community service,” Strohacker said.
Hulstedt and several chapter members were on hand for the chamber’s annual meeting and awards dinner. She said students were surprised and honored to learn they won the award.
“The award is to recognize our organization’s volunteer work, but without the support of the Genoa community, our chapter would not be as strong as it is,” Hulstedt said.
“We couldn’t accomplish a lot of what we do without the support of the community,” chapter president Travis Hughes said. “It was just great to be able to see the faces of so many people who support us and thank them personally.”
Awards also were presented to Tricia Wagner as the outstanding member of the chamber’s Ambassador Club and Josh Kubiak as the recipient of the Dave Tobinson Award.
Named for former member and owner of Tobinson’s Ace Hardware, the award was presented by his daughter, Carolyn Tobinson. She said it’s awarded each year to someone who works hard for the chamber and the community, just like her father did.
Excellence and anniversary awards were presented to a number of members before keynote speakers took the stage.
Jason Anderson, economic development director for the city of Rochelle, talked about the value of teamwork in economic development. He was followed by Mim Evans, former Genoa Main Street executive director who is now employed as a research associate at the Center for Governmental Studies at Northern Illinois University.
Evans announced the creation of the Genoa Economic Action Committee, a collaboration of the Genoa Chamber, Genoa Main Street, DeKalb County Community Foundation and NIU’s Center for Governmental Studies, among others. She urged chamber members and the community to attend meetings, respond to surveys, join a commiteee, work on a project and donate.
“Together, we can make Genoa even better than it is now,” Evans said.
• Ambassador of the Year: Genoa-Kingston FFA
• Ambassador Club Outstanding Member: Tricia Wagner
• Excellence Award: Genoa Pharmacy
• Dave Tobinson Award: Josh Kubiak