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It’s always more fun to honor someone when they don’t expect it, and when they honestly don’t understand what all the fuss is all about. Then, you can be assured that they’re doing their good deeds for the right reasons.
Such was the case with this year’s honorees for the Abe Awards, presented last Thursday by the Vandalia Chamber of Commerce.
Receiving the prestigious awards for exemplary community service work were Joyce Mueller and Doug Kenebel.
As the non-chamber-member recipient, Mueller was recognized for her amazing list of involvements in various community organizations. Among the groups in which she’s volunteered her time are Nice Twice, Vandalia Tourism Commission, National Road Interpretive Center, OUR PLACE, Home and Community Education, United Methodist Women, Fayette County Museum and Evergreen Outreach.
After receiving the award, Mueller said that “it never crossed my mind that I’d get an award like this. I just enjoy each and every undertaking I’m involved in.”
Knebel, likewise, has an impressive list of organizations in which he has worked. In addition to his roles with the chamber (president in 2008 and member of several committees), he has held leadership roles in the Vandalia Rotary Club, Vandalia Main Street, SAFE, Fayette County Hospital District Board and the Vandalia Country & Golf Club.
“A big part of my job is to get involved in the community,” said Knebel, whose day job is the community bank president of the Vandalia branch of Midland States Bank. “That’s turned out to be the most rewarding part of what I do. It’s all part of giving back to this wonderful community.”
Both recipients are deserving of the Abe Award. They serve unselfishly in the proud tradition of the distinguished award. Well done. And keep it up!