RANTOUL — Jessica Holmes was named citizen of the year at Friday night’s annual Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce banquet held at The Linden Banquet Center.
This marks the 95th anniversary of the founding of the chamber of commerce.
The chamber also honored the top educator and presented recognition awards for volunteer of the year, lifetime achievement and top business and new business.
Holmes, who was unable to attend, was honored for her many volunteer acts in the community.
Among them are organizing the annual Luke Remington Cancer Walk, she was an early member of the Rantoul Theatre Group, she serves on the Rantoul Public Library Board, she reads to young children at Head Start, has started a program to give books to youth monthly and holds several fundraisers to support local organizations.
Educator of the year
Michelle Koretke was named educator of the year.
Koretke, who teaches at J.W. Eater Junior High School, was nominated for going "above and beyond as a teacher and coordinator, providing support for bilingual students," according to the person who nominated her. "She spends time outside the school working to make it a better program. She inspires her students to be better readers, writers, explorers and scientists."
Other educator of the year nominees were Mallory Anning, Brooke Billings, Jenny Jamison, Becky Krall, Lindsay Rubach, Kim Schultze and Sarah Hafer.
Volunteer of the year
Cadet Abcde Delizo of Lincoln’s Challenge Academy was recognized as volunteer of the year.
Delizo has put in more than 100 hours of community service with various not-for-profit groups.
She serves as commander of the Levant Guard, which conducts military honor ceremonies. She has volunteered at Champaign County Head Start, the Salvation Army, Urbana parks, Loaves and Fishes and other organizations.
Lifetime achievement award
Leonard and Lorraine Wirges are winners of the lifetime achievement award.
Leonard Wirges accepted the award. His wife was unable to attend.
The Wirgeses have been active members of the Rantoul community for more than 70 years. They have been involved with Knights of Columbus, Rantoul VFW, Rantoul Garden Club, Red Cross and the Blue Star Program.
Through their work, Rantoul received the designation of Tree City USA.
State Rep. Mike Marron also recognized the Wirgeses for their service.
Business of the year
Willow Pond Golf Course was recognized as business of the year.
Owner Kevin Applebee accepted the award on behalf of the business.
New business of the year
The Villas of Holly Brook was named the new business of the year.
Executive Director Kayla Rogers accepted the award on behalf of the business.
New Rantoul Village Administrator Scott Eisenhauer also spoke and introduced his wife, Amy.