Our community has spoken!
The Shine the Light Campaign has given our area (Granite City, Madison, Pontoon Beach, Venice and Mitchell) a voice — an opportunity to say what and who we think is making a difference in our lives and/or making an impact on our community. I think everyone realizes that it is time for us to start reflecting on the many positives and to start building on them.
You nominated 20 people, organizations and churches from our community that you felt needed to be thanked and recognized in the Shine the Light Campaign. You started voting in June and wow did you vote, with more than 20,000 votes cast!
On Oct. 27, those candidates will be recognized and thanked at the Chamber of Commerce’s annual meeting, and the three candidates with the highest vote count will be recognized and profiled. It gives me great pleasure to announce the three candidates that received the highest number of votes in the Shine the Light Campaign.
John Manoogian, staff and students of the Granite City High School Performing Arts Department
Under Mr. Manoogian’s exceptional leadership, the Performing Arts Department has gained recognition for the outstanding accomplishments it has achieved. His expertise in the field of theater arts and his willingness to graciously give of his time and knowledge is sought by many groups and individuals. He has assisted numerous college and high school colleagues in addressing and remediating issues that have ultimately enhanced the Fine Arts programs of their respective schools.
The instrumental music component of the Performing Arts Department has flourished and expanded under his guidance and knowledge. He has an innate ability to draw together excellent faculty members and meld them into a cohesive unit to provide creative and positive direction for the students. Under the direction of Mr. Roberds, the Granite City High School Band has been awarded a plethora of significant honors.
In addition to theater arts and music, the Fine Arts Festival presented by the students exhibits distinctive art work featuring a myriad of media for viewing. The artistic talent displayed by the students is described as incredible.
While many Illinois schools are eliminating foreign language from the curriculum, the Granite City High School Performing Arts Department is anticipating adding another language selection. In December, Manoogian will direct the 10th annual production of "A Christmas Carol," attended so far by more than 16,000 guests. Mr. Manoogian’s vision was to create an event that would serve as a bridge between our community and the school district. Building on a positive relationship focusing on fine arts opportunities available, this vision has become a reality.
Pastor Roy Boyer, Harvest Community Church
Never forgetting the heart of his hometown, Pastor Roy has ensured his church gives back to this community however it can. Roy, along with Dave Polovick, began the Patriots in the Park Celebration 20 years ago. This event highlights all that is great in our area and attracts thousands of families to Granite City every Fourth of July. Another program is the Noel Project, a project whereby hundreds of local families receive toys, food and gifts for Christmas. Additionally, every child participating in the Noel Project receives a bike.
Because Roy has a great desire to help revitalize the downtown area he has set into action T.I.D.E. (Transforming Identity and Downtown Evangelism), a local food and gospel message outreach program. He organizes and supports the annual National Day of Prayer on the steps of City Hall and also organized the first 9-11 ceremony.
If all that was not enough, Pastor Roy has been a member of the local Ministerial Alliance, organizing the Community Day of Thanksgiving, the local Rotary Club, Granite City Park District, and has served as a board member of the Chamber of Commerce of Southwestern Madison County. He has served his community faithfully helping to make our community a better place for everyone.
The Family Treehouse – TWIGS
Since 2011, TWIGS has been feeding thousands of hungry kids and their families with the help of hundreds of volunteers, the support of our school and city officials, and the generosity of the St. Louis Area Foodbank, Kraft Heinz, Armour-Echrich, and others. The Family Treehouse and TWIGS’ vision is “a child, a neighborhood, a community, a world without hunger.” The TWIGS program was started in our community by Lisa Guilliams of Trinity United Methodist Church.
Long before the school year comes to an end, TWIGS volunteers are working hard to secure and store the food needed to provide lunches for children once the schools close. Volunteers distribute meals from multiple locations across four Illinois counties. Every child who shows up is fed with no questions asked and no strings attached. In 2011, 2,350 lunches were distributed at four locations in Granite City. These numbers have grown every year, and in 2015, 60,643 lunches were distributed at 32 locations in 15 communities.
In addition to the summer feeding program, TWIGS piloted a program in 2012 for high-risk children identified by their school principal and social workers. They launched a year round mobile food market and in 2013 began testing a weekend food program called Pack-a-Sack. Every Friday a sack is packed by volunteers and placed in each child’s backpack for the weekend. During the 2015 school year, 6,183 weekend food packs were distributed to students in Granite City and other nearby communities.
Let’s not allow this energy, this passion that has been stirred by the Shine the Light Campaign to die. It is time for all of us to continue pushing to fuel this momentum and promote how proud we are. On Oct. 27, help us to support the great people of this community-people who give of themselves to provide the arts, make the area inviting, and see to those less fortunate. And it is up to you to nominate the next group of heroes next January.
Conrad “Babe” Champion, 2016 Citizen of the Year
We also are proud to announce Conrad “Babe” Champion will be honored as the 2016 Citizen of the Year. This award is decided by past winners of the award and is the most prestigious award the chamber presents. Last year’s recipient, Margaret Holland Pennell will present the award to Mr. Champion on Oct. 27 at the meeting.
The Chamber of Commerce’s Citizen of the Year award is presented to a person who has demonstrated success in their chosen business or profession, provided extraordinary service to the community, and exemplified high ideas in their personal life. The recipient shall have established a reputation of personal conduct that brings honor to the chamber, the community and to this award. Consideration may be given to activities performed and service provided outside of the community, but only as an adjunct to recipient’s local achievements.
Mr. Conrad “Babe” Champion was born and raised in Granite City and has been an intricate part of our school district and our community for years, including countless contributions and accomplishments in every venue of athletics, his dedication to the Granite City Sports Hall of Fame, the Wall of Fame, the High School Field and the Track, his work on the movie "The Men of Granite" and the Granite City Area Community Foundation.
He began teaching in the Granite City School District in 1956. He served as a baseball coach for 20 years, a basketball official for 37 years, officiated major college football from 1977-1992 and has been a most active volunteer for the Granite City School District since 2000.
He married Sue Weston in 1953, the parents of four children, eight grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Babe and Sue have retired from organizing trips for the Granite City Park District, devoting more time to special community projects.
Join us to recognize and thank Babe Champion for his years of selfless dedication to making our school district and our community a better place for everyone.
For more information regarding the event or to RSVP for the event, call (618) 876-6400 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.