Chamber announces 2018 award recipients


The Champaign County Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce the recipients of this year’s Simon Award and Volunteer of the Year Award. The Chamber received nominations for many deserving individuals and would like to thank all who nominated a fellow community member.

The Simon Award recognizes a local community member who has improved the quality of life in Champaign County. The ideal recipient has an exemplary service record to the local community in single or multiple initiatives, thus enhancing the prosperity of the overall population.

For 2018, the Chamber is proud to honor Marcia Ward as this year’s Simon Award recipient. A 1964 graduate of Graham High School, Ward served the community as a teacher, advisor and administrator for over 40 years. Beyond her role in education, she has served her alma mater as a member of the Graham Alumni Association and the Music Boosters. She has spent recent years serving as a leader of the Champaign County Habitat for Humanity Board and championing the First Generation Scholarship Foundation for Graham and Urbana schools.

Since 2011, the Chamber of Commerce has also recognized an individual who has demonstrated initiative, creativity, leadership and the ability to shoulder major responsibility and involvement on the front lines of a project. The recipient of the Volunteer of the Year Award is someone whose vital contributions of time, energy and resources have benefited Champaign County and the surrounding community.

The Chamber is honored to recognize Vince and Sandy Gonzalez as the 2018 Volunteers of the Year. The Gonzalezes have donated countless hours to many organizations, including the Champaign County Preservation Alliance and the Historical Marker Committee. They also have contributed their time to a variety of community events, including the CCPA’s annual Historic Home & Garden Tour, the Urban Loft Tour, the Simon Kenton Chili Cook-Off & Hoopla Parade and Art Affair on the Square.

The Chamber will celebrate award winners during the organization’s Annual Dinner on Friday, April 20 at Urbana University’s Grimes Center. The social hour, business expo and silent auction will begin at 5 p.m. and dinner will begin at 6 p.m. Award winners will be recognized during the Annual Meeting at 7 p.m. The evening’s Master of Ceremonies is Urbana native and comic magician Michael Kent. Auctioneer Steve Mabry will entertain the audience with a live auction throughout the evening. More information about the event can be found on the Chamber’s website,

Join the Chamber for the upcoming Annual Dinner and to honor this year’s award recipients by making your reservations by noon on Thursday, April 12. Interested parties should call the Chamber at 937-653-5764 or email [email protected] for further details.

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