Chamber honors Bates, music series and Freedom Fest Friends

Carol Townsend, For The Galva News
Galva Chamber of Commerce President Adam Jaquet , left, presented the 2019 Citizen of the Year honor to Jason Bates.

Jason Bates was presented with the Galva Chamber of Commerce’s 2019 Citizen of the Year honor at the organization’s annual meeting and awards dinner Saturday (Feb. 2) night at Kewanee Dunes Golf Club.

Two groups were recognized with the Friend of the Chamber honor —Galva’s Freedom Fest committee and the organizers of the Levitt AMP Galva Music Series.

Outgoing chairman Michelle Newman and new chairman Melissa Halsall represented the Freedom Fest, while John Taylor accepted the award on behalf of the Levitt AMPGalva Music Series.

Citizen of the Year,

Jason Bates

Chamber of Commerce President Adam Jaquet said Bates began volunteering in 1991 while he was still in high school as a Little League baseball coach.

Jaquet said Bates personally purchased trophies for his entire team when it won the league tournament that year. Jaquet knows — he was a member of that team and the trophy still sits in his china cupboard at his home.

Colleen Cromien Meyers wrote in her nomination of Bates that before her dad, Bernie Cromien, passed away he noted how much Jason does for Galva.

“And my dad knew how to promote Galva,”she said.

The next nomination for Bates came from Kraig and Dawn Gale.

"Jason for several years has volunteered to organize and create videos, gather statistics, ad announce the inductees for the Galva Wall of Fame. He has selflessly promoted this organization to ensure precious outstanding athletes receive recognition for their wonderful accomplishments, while inspiring future athletes to reach for greatness in hopes of one day achieving membership into this club. Yet this altruistic act is not uncommon for Mr. Bates.

Jason spends countless hours volunteering for our country's veterans. Raising money for Shave the Brave, serving as guardian on numerous Honor Flight trips, and helping to prepare the veterans' floats in our local parades, are actions that Jason does without a second thought. He has a profound love for those that have given so much for our country's freedom, and again wants to ensure that these heroes receive the praise they deserve. While other citizens might feel that these actions would be enough to support their community, Mr. Bates goes even further.

Jason can be and has been found promoting the Levitt Foundation, coaching JFL, and announcing many events such as Prom Preview, the Galva Harvest Pageants, sportscaster for Galva sports, and Dancing with the Stars. He has sat on the Galva Youth Board, and volunteered with the Galva Historical Society.  These are just a few of the selfless acts that Jason gladly takes on to make his community a better place to live. His heart is one grounded in integrity, kindness, humility, and civic duty.”

Friend of the Chamber,

Galva Freedom Fest

Jaquet said a lot of work goes into making Galva’s annual Fourth of July celebration a success.

The committee, most recently led by Newman and now under the leadership of Halsall, raises funds to support the event.

Newman has been the chairman of the committee for the past six years, with Halsall stepping into lead the 2019 event.

Galva’s Freedom Fest is known far and wide for its great fireworks display to cap the holiday at the Galva Park District. The cost of that display is $18,000, and most of the funds for the fireworks come from the committee’s annual street dance.

Between $4,000 to $6,000 is collected at the gate each year from people attending the fireworks show.

The committee also hosts a car show to help raise funds for the Freedom Fest. That event will return to Wiley Park with its traditional August date this summer.

Friend of the Chamber,

Levitt AMP

Galva Music Series

In 2018, Galva was among 15 cities across the United States to be selected as winners in the Levitt Foundation’s Grant Award program, which offers a matching grant of up to $25,000 to help the selected cities offer a summer music concert series.

Supporters of the Levitt AMPGalva Music Series effort raised the $25,000 necessary to earn the entire matching grant, and the 2018 edition of the 10-week music series in Wiley Park was a rousing success.

"Ten concerts and over 7,000 attendees later, everyone in the area had to agree it was a great success." said Jaquet, “and now it is happening again in 2019, and every expectation is that it will be an even bigger success."

"The person behind this monumental feat, who dreamed it was possible, was John Taylor of Cambridge,”Jaquet added.

Taylor, who was the chairperson of the Levitt AMP Galva Music Series, said the concert series brought the Galva community together to vote, together to raise the matching $25,000 and together to execute the Sunday night concerts.

He added Galva was one of the few concert series that was organized entirely by volunteers.

"I put in a lot of time, but it doesn’t seem like work," Taylor said.

Taylor said area music enthusiasts would have to travel to Chicago or St. Louis to hear the groups that performed in Galva’s Wiley Park.

He also thanked Jason Bates for his efforts with the concert series.

"I am very humbled and touched. I really appreciate this,”Taylor said.