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Geneva's Vetang wins Wood Award

Published: Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012 5:30 a.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012 11:27 p.m. CDT
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Tim Vetang

GENEVA – Tim Vetang was named this year’s “ultimate volunteer” by the Geneva Chamber of Commerce.

He accepted the Wood Community Service Award on Tuesday during the Geneva Chamber of Commerce’s annual dinner.

After a short video revealed that he had won the award, Vetang said he was speechless.

He said when he and his wife, Vicki, moved to Geneva in 1981, they had a good feeling that Geneva held the promise of being a “vibrant and caring community.”

“When I think of all the people who have won this award, it’s quite an honor,” he said.

The award is presented each year to an individual who has made contributions in business, education, youth involvement, civic organizations, art, recreation, charity or government.

The award is named after Bill and Elis Wood and Nell and Burton Wood, and was first presented in 1985.

Vetang’s public service resume is long. It includes serving with the Geneva Cultural Arts Commission, the Geneva History Center and serving as an alderman for the city of Geneva.

“Tim has created a better Geneva,” said Scott Lebin, chair of the Geneva Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.

Terry Emma, executive director of the Geneva History Center, said Vetang was instrumental in the center’s success.

She said he helped move the center from its Wheeler Park location to its Third Street location while he was president of the organization.

Emma said Vetang continues to support the Geneva History Center in his spare time, especially with technology.

“We’re just lucky at the history center that he believes in us and supports us,” Emma said.

Carolyn Hill, a commissioner on the Geneva Cultural Arts Commission, also said Vetang has been instrumental in stabilizing the organization that started six years ago.

“He’s been a very dedicated leader guiding us for the last six years,” she said. “He’s very well respected. We had to rely on him a lot for his knowledge. ... I’m surprised how much we accomplished in six years.”

Hill received the Wood Community Service Award in 2009 with her husband, Sam.

She said she believes everyone who gets the award feels very humbled by it.

“Volunteers work hard, but don’t always get recognized for it,” she said. “What’s important with that award is recognizing people that have contributed.”

Geneva Mayor Kevin Burns worked with Vetang when he served as 5th Ward alderman for eight years.

“Tim Vetang represents the very best Geneva has to offer,” Burns said.

“His enthusiasm, generosity, passion, kindness and sincerity is everywhere in everything he does.”

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