Galva Chamber honors Friends, Citizen of the Year

Carol Townsend
John and Anne Hathaway accept the Galva Chamber of Commerce’s Friends of the Year award in honor of their late parents, Jack and Mary Hathaway.

The Galva Chamber of Commerce recognized the Friends of the Chamber and Citizen of the Year recipients at its annual meeting and dinner Saturday night at Kewanee Dunes Golf Club. Jack and Mary Hathaway were honored posthumously as the Friends of the Chamber, and Teresa Byers was presented the Citizen of the Year award.

Friends of the Chamber

Chamber president Adam Jaquet presented the Friends of the Chamber award to John and Anne Hathaway, the son and daughter of Jack and Mary. “Last year Galva lost two icons of our community,” Jaquet said. “Many of us probably saw the Facebook post by Eric Sorensen of WQAD Channel 8 shortly after Mary’s passing where he said, ‘She was a super eccentric and quick to boast about all that was good around the City of Galva. She reminisced about how things used to be and was steadfast in her belief of how great things would be in the future.’” “I think this describes Mary and Jack to a ‘T’. They were the consummate community supporters and embodied so much of what makes Galva a great community to call home. Whether it was helping weekend warrior do-it yourselfers, professionals in the trades or the countless other customers who walked through the door of the store they owned and operated for 47 years; volunteering their time for the fire department, school, Manx Society, Home Extension and other groups; or supporting so many events and organizations, Jack and Mary’s love for Galva and the people in it was evident every day,” Jaquet said. “They made an impression on people from outside the area the very first time they met, and that impression would stay with them forever.” “Jack and Mary left a legacy in Galva, and it will live on in the great history of our town. And it can be seen in their children and grandchildren, as they have picked up the Hathaway torch and carried it forward in Galva and far beyond,” Jaquet added.

Citizen of the Year

“For almost 24 years, if you walked into Galva’s City Hall, there was a constant presence filled with knowledge of her community and a passion to see it succeed,” Jaquet said. “For countless new residents, Teresa Byers was the first face of the City they would see. And you could not have asked for a better representative to greet them. As Doug Boock said in his feature article a couple weeks ago, ‘Her own face puts a good face on the city itself.’ If you need to know something about what’s going on in Galva, the absolute expert is Teresa.” “But it’s more than just her knowledge of Galva that distinguishes Teresa, it is her commitment to her friends and neighbors to support the community and see it succeed,” Jaquet added. “For years, she has served in many roles on the Freedom Fest Committee, helping to make Galva the talk of the region every Independence Day. And when she and some others felt that Galva needed a boost of energy to revitalize our community, she helped start the Ready, Set, Grow group that has undertaken numerous beautification and repair projects, particularity in the downtown area of Galva.” “I will always do whatever it takes to help my hometown. I love Galva and am always ready to help whenever I can,” Byers said in the Galva News article.  “And by her actions,” Jaquet said, “we have all seen Teresa live this attitude every day. And while her smile won’t be the first thing you see walking into City Hall anymore, there is no doubt Teresa will continue to be an ambassador for Galva, while working to keep our community growing and improving.”

Also from the meeting:

Jaquet thanked Harvest Pageant director Dr. Colleen Lewis for all of her work with the girls. The Chamber sponsors the pageant each year.

Jaquet recognized past citizens of the year who were in attendance. Those recognized were Ann Smith from 1991; Bernie Cromien, 2011; Rip Everett, 2012; and Dwain Jacobson, 2014.

Jaquet recognized City of Galva employees who were present to see their former co-worker receive the Citizen of the Year award for 2017. Those employees recognized for being present were John McArthur, water department; Greg Thompson,  water superintendent; and Debbie VanWassenhove, clerk.

A motion was made and approved to keep the same Chamber board and officers for the 2017 year. They include: Adam Jaquet, president; Dr. Clint Martin, vice-president; Melissa Niemeyer, secretary; and Jake Anderson, treasurer. Board members are Mike Yepsen and Jeff Johnson.

Jaquet said 2016 was a busy year for the Chamber. He mentioned some of the projects, such as the Chamber getting six trash cans made locally for the downtown area, Easter Egg hunt for all area children, Summer Fest with the Plain Jane Band at Wiley Park, 14 Dinner in the Park events on Wednesday nights, Harvest Pageant and the Ol’ Fashion Christmas. The 14 organizations that served the Dinner in the Park made $7,500 which they used for projects.

Jaquet noted that there were two ribbon cuttings — University of Illinois and Midwest Carpets. He said he feels that 2017 will be a good year for new business in Galva.