Elgin Area Chamber's annual event weaves together 'thanks' and 'giving'

Elgin Area Chamber board chair Yaneth Medina welcomed more than 125 chamber friends at the 42nd annual Community Thanksgiving Luncheon held at Elgin Community College on Nov. 21. The event celebrated "thanks" and "giving" while singing the praises" of eight unsung community heroes.

"Thanksgiving is an ideal occasion to join together to give thanks for our bountiful blessings," said Carol Gieske, Elgin Area Chamber president and CEO. "One of the standing traditions in the Greater Elgin area is the annual Community Thanksgiving Luncheon where we reach out in true gratitude and friendship to local service clubs and organizations and sponsor a community luncheon."

The focus of the program included singing the praises of eight special people by bringing them into the spotlight to thank them for giving back," Gieske said. Those who received recognition as Outstanding 2023 Citizen Volunteer were:

• Tammie Wilson, Hoof Woof & Meow Animal Rescue;

• Tom Lesiewicz, Community Crisis Center;

• Donna Goplerud, PADS of Elgin;

• Al Walters, Elgin History Museum and First United Methodist Church;

• Deb Stakey, Anderson Humane;

• Lisa Crowe, Marklund;

• Karen Smith, Elgin Partnership for Early Learning;

• Bill Hoffer, Alignment Collaborative for Education.

Each of these recipients have committed many meaningful years of volunteer service and involvement to their special not for profit organization and continue their heartfelt dedication.

"We truly have extraordinary people in our community that continue a tradition of giving," Gieske said. "This annual community Thanksgiving luncheon lets us reach out in true gratitude and friendship with our co-sponsors and highlight these amazing individuals."

Representatives from these organizations joined as co-sponsors of the luncheon and were recognized for the tremendous commitment made in making Elgin a great place to live, work and play. They were: Elgin Partnership for Early Learning, School District U-46, Black Women's Association, Marklund, Anderson Humane, Housing Authority of Elgin, Elgin Community College, PADS of Elgin, Elgin Area Leadership Academy, Gail Borden Public Library, IL MBDA, Community Crisis Center, Alignment Collaborative for Education, Boy Scouts of America Three Fires Council, Elgin History Museum, Hoof Woof Meow Animal Rescue and Boys and Girls Club.

Gieske also recognized grade school children and their art teachers from Elgin Area School District U-46 who provided centerpieces decorated for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Find out more about the "Thanks" and "Giving" luncheon by viewing a short video presented at

The Elgin Area Chamber is a proven collaborative business community resource and provides relevant, innovative, and impactful programming and services that ensure a healthy business climate and enhanced quality of life.

For more information, connect with the Chamber online at; on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIN social media platforms, or by phone at (847) 741-5660.

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