Benton / West City Area Chamber of Commerce
2021 aNNUAL DINNER
oF THE YEAR NOMINEES
CITIZEN OF THE YEAR
1. Rhonda Gilbreath : Graduated from Benton Community High School. President of FBLA and was also a member of the Nation Honor Society. Graduated from Rend Lake College with a Secretarial and Accounting Degree. Worked for Arondelle & Venegone in Christopher. Has been employeed by State Bank of Whittington for the last 20 years. Mariied to Dwight Gilbreath for 40 years and has a son Shawn Gilbreath. Been involved with fundraisers for the american Cancer Society, and Casa. Served as Sergeant in Arms & Treasure for the Benton Rotary Club. Served on the Board of Directors for the Benton West City Area Chamber of Commerce for many years, 3 of which was served as President. Served and volunteered on Rend Lake Car Show, Rend Lake Water Festival, Rend Lake Fireworks, Golf Scramble and Annual Dinner Committees. Always humble and grateful to her family and community.
2. Rachel Gartner:
3. Andy Lamont: Studied at Rend Lake College. Night Manager at the Benton Save A Lot. Creator and Manager of Do Your Part Recycling.
4. Brook Craig: A life-long resident of Benton, graduated from Benton Community High School, and graduated from Rend Lake College. I worked for SIH as a medical transcriptionist before I started working for the City of Benton in 2006 as the Water Clerk and Deputy City Clerk. In 2013 I became the Benton City Clerk. In 2015 I spearheaded the Fall Fest and Festival of Lights activities for the City of Benton that had been missing for years. Along with community involvement this was a huge success. I helped complete the 2020 census for our community working hard to count as many as possible and have hosted numerous vaccine clinics at the City Hall. I work behind the scenes to get the necessary permits for road closures and to make sure our festivals and parades happen in town. I do my best for our businesses and am continuing to work on economic development to bring new businesses to our town. I love the sports programs in our community and over the years have volunteered with parent clubs feeding our athletes and decorating our city as well as helping to put on wrestling tournaments for our athletes. My husband and both my children are very involved in sports as coach and athletes; it is a family affair. We are proud to call Benton our home!
BUSINESS OF THE YEAR
1. Benton Super Lube:
2. LA Fiesta Benton:
3. Franklin Hospital:
4. Mr. D's:
EDUCATOR OF THE YEAR
1. Shannon Bennett: I just started my 18th year of teaching Kindergarten at Akin Grade School. I am honored to be teaching at the same school, that my parents and I attended as kids. I attended Akin Grade School from K to 8th grade. I went on to Benton High School for 4 years. I then, went to Rend Lake College and played volleyball and graduated with my Associates of Arts degree. I went on to SIUC and Graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Early Childhood Education in 2001.I love working with kids in my community. I have been the Director of my Church's Bible School for the past 20 years. I’ve coached volleyball in the past at Akin. I love volunteering in my community. I currently live in Akin with my Husband Jason of 19 years, my two sons ( Tanner 13 and Clayton 10).
2. Aaron Lay: currently in his sixth year of teaching, and his fourth as Director of Bands for the Benton Grade School program. He graduated from Murray State University, Murray, KY in the fall of 2015 with a Bachelor in Music Education degree. While at Murray State, Aaron majored on the instrument of trumpet and performed in many ensembles. Aaron was also a part of the fraternity, Phi Mu Alpha, the national fraternity for music. Aaron served two terms as music director for the fraternity. Aaron began his teaching career in Kentucky serving as an Assistant Band Director at both middle and high school levels. Under his direction, his bands have received distinguished ratings at Concert Band Festivals. Once the opportunity became available, he applied to come back home to Benton. He began his playing career in this very program and is honored to lead this group. Aaron currently resides in Benton, IL with his wife Chelsea, son Calvin, and soon to be daughter.
3. Mark Minor: Married to Pamela Cook Minor, with 5 Children. Graduated BCHS 19n 1972, Liberty University in 1995 with a Bachelor Science - Psychology and received his master Science - Educational Psychology from SIU om 1998.
Served as the Managing Editor for Illinois Magazine in Benton until 1975. Good News Circle, Niles MI until 1977. Pastor at Whittington Church and Is a Part Time Instructor at Rend Lake College. Served on the Benton High School Board of Education for over 30 years. Also served on the Ewing-Northern Grade School Board of Education. Served as an IHSA Sports official for both Basketball and softball. Served on the board of Directors for Baptist Children's Home and Spero Family Services. Mark has dedicated most of his life to the education and service of Children.
4. Sandy Blackman:
rend lake visitors center
Rend Lake is one of the premier vacation spots in Southern Illinois providing quality areas for boating, water skiing, camp sites, nature trails, hiking, biking, golf, picnicking, swimming, fishing, and hunting
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The Benton/West City Area Chamber of Commerce is a non-profit organization dedicated to the improvement of business, education, and the quality of life in our communities. To do this, we plan community events and networking opportunities, support civic programs, and fund scholarships for the entrepreneurs of tomorrow.
The Chamber organizes many community events that bring thousands of visitors to our area every year. In the spring and summer, we organize the Rend Lake Water Festival, Parade, and Carnival the end of April first week of May. In the Fall we host the Rend Lake Car Show, which brings in cars from all over the surrounding area. The Chamber/Rotary Golf Scramble the first weekend in October. We also assist where needed with the West City Fall Festival , Benton Fall Festival., and the Festival of Lights.
Each spring, we award Student Chamber of Commerce Scholarships to graduating seniors of BCHS, and support their Adopt-A-Highway clean-up program in the Fall. We also financially support the Food Pantry and the Benton - West City Economic Development Corporation.
Chamber membership is good citizenship. Will you be a part of the growth and betterment of your community by becoming a member of the Benton/West City Area Chamber of Commerce?
Thank you to our Visionary Members for your support and investment in the Chamber of Commerce.
sPECIAL THANKS TO jWALT pHOTOGRAPHY
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