ST. CHARLES – The St. Charles Chamber of Commerce on Friday presented former Park Commissioner Gloria Klimek with its highest honor: the Charlemagne Award.
The lifetime achievement award was the last of many recognitions given during the 92nd annual Charlemagne Awards Dinner, which was held at the St. Charles Country Club.
Established in 1968, the Charlemagne Award is given to an individual with a distinguished history of service to the community.
It was based upon a legend written by former Mayor C.V. Amenoff about four foxes and their father, Charlemagne. Charlemagne wanted his sons to be guardians of the growing settlement and charged each to look after an aspect of the community: the civic, business and industrial life; education and cultural expression; religious expression; and natural recreation.
Klimek has certainly looked after the community's natural recreation opportunities.
A St. Charles Park District commissioner for 24 years, Klimek was interested in the acquisition of park land and the preservation of natural areas for the community’s future.
During her tenure, the park district acquired and developed more than 900 acres, including the James O. Breen Community Park, River Bend Community Park, East Side Sports Complex and Delnor Woods Park.
Upon her retirement last year, Klimek said in a written statement issued by the park district that she always hoped the park district could develop a nature center. Hickory Knolls Discovery Center was built during her tenure.
The exhibit hall at Hickory Knolls was named after Klimek last April.
Klimek also has been involved with the Downtown St. Charles Public Arts Committee, the St. Charles Heritage Center and the St. Charles Arts Council.
Rosemary Canfield won the L.E.A.P. Award, which is given to a woman who goes above and beyond the call of duty in her business, the chamber, women's business council or community in helping women. It recognizes leadership, excellence, achievement and professionalism.
The other award winners were as follows:
• Civic Image Award – St. Charles Public Library, St. Charles Park District, Richmond Intermediate School and Fine Line Creative Arts.
• Community Development Award – Advance Auto Parts, Bank of America Home Loans, Baltria Corporation, Cadence Health, city of St. Charles, Elite Extrusion Technology, Forever Yogurt, Goldfish Swim School, Perfect Plastic Printing Corporation, TCBY and U.S. Bank.
• Community Image Award – Acquaviva Winery; Dick Pond Athletics; Hometown Self Storage; Lundeen's Fine Wine & Spirits; Macarena Tapas; MCC Technology; BMH Enterprises doing business as Pro Martial Arts; Riverview Counseling Services; St. Charles Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep; STC Capital Bank; and StillWaters Behavioral Health.