What hasn't Joe Didier been involved with in the 45 years he has lived in Sugar Grove?
The man named Sugar Grove Citizen of the Year Friday has done volunteer work for the Corn Boil, the Old-Timers Reunion, the Senior Center,; American Legion Post 1271, Sugar Grove United Methodist Church, and youth baseball.
"He's just an all-around good guy. He doesn't ask for anything in return but helps out with everything," Village President Sean Michels said Friday.
He also cares enough to speak up when he thinks something isn't going right. "Joe's got an opinion on everything," Michels joked, but he said he understands Didier wants to make sure the positions of longtime residents are taken in to consideration, not just people who moved to Sugar Grove in the boom times of the 1990s and early 2000s. Didier spoke up in favor of the town allowing a commercial water park, saying it would relieve the property tax burden on older homeowners. Last year Didier told the village board it was pointless to ban video gambling because people could sit at home in their basements and gamble online. He favored allowing video gambling, so the Legion post could install machines.
His love of the town, and service to it, prompted friends and neighbors to nominate him. According to a prepared statement from the Sugar Grove Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the nominations included these comments: "Joe is a very active and vital community volunteer," "Joe is a good neighbor and friend," "Joe is extremely family-oriented," "An unsung hero in community events. Volunteers and gets things done. Considerate -- always there to help those that need an extra hand," "Joe often visits friends and neighbors while in the hospital or nursing home. He helps care for older family members."
He and wife, Mary, have three daughters, seven grandchildren, two step-grandchildren and a step-great-grandchild.
Didier is a retired Illinois State Police officer, and he owns D & S Painting.
Previous citizens of the year are Helen Jorgensen, Lil Adams, Beverly Holmes Hughes, Jim Wilhelm, Karen McCannon, Joe Wolf, Pat Graceffa, Karen Pritchard, Arnie and Byrel Liefheit, David Seraphin, Kevin Tindall, Delmar and Ruth Krieghbaum, Stan Anderson, Chris Dayvolt and Terry Siebert. The award was first bestowed in 1998.
Established in 1998 by the Village of Sugar Grove and the chamber, the award recognizes individuals or groups that best exemplify "that pioneering spirit which helps our village grow and prosper."
Besides the glory, Didier received a thank-you basket full of items from local businesses, individuals and a church.