GENEVA – Before he arrived at the 29th annual William D. Barth Award ceremony Thursday evening, Fred Norris said he had no idea that he was the man of the hour.
He said he was originally led to believe that his brother would be honored Thursday. But when he arrived at Riverside Receptions in Geneva, he learned that he would be this year’s recipient.
“It’s a humbling experience because you just do what you do in the community,” he said.
Between government, church and service organizations, the list of civic engagements Fred Norris has been involved with is as diverse as it is lengthy.
His involvement includes serving as St. Charles mayor for 20 years and as an alderman, as well as service organizations such as the Illinois Jaycees, Fox Valley Shrine Club, Cotillion Club of Fox Valley, the Elgin Community College Foundation, the St. Charles Park Foundation and many others.
Miranda Barfuss, development director with TriCity Family Services, said the award recipient is chosen each year by Tri-Cities mayors, a former recipient and the organization’s board president. The award was established as a way to say thank you to all of the people who support TriCity Family Services’ mission, which is to be an outpatient mental health service provider.
She said it was especially fitting that Fred Norris won this year’s award because he has been a longtime supporter of the organization. Norris said he was president of St. Charles Family Counseling, which partnered with an Elgin organization to form TriCity Family Services as it’s known today.
Fred Norris was nominated by his son, Fred Norris Jr., who said his father’s involvement encompasses education, charity, service, civic engagement, government, youth services, culture and service with his church, which is why he wanted to nominate him. He said his father helped raise money to build a facility to train first responders at Elgin Community College and also helped secure 9,000 acres to add to the Kane County Forest Preserve.
Fred Norris said being involved in his community is just how he was raised.
“It’s just a part of living in a community you love,” he said. “If you really want to make a hometown your home, get involved.”