ELBURN – Pat Hill, owner of Hill’s Country Store and the village president of Kaneville, sounded surprised Saturday when she heard her name called at the Elburn Chamber of Commerce’s winter dinner.
Hill was announced as the chamber’s member of the year. Before getting up from her seat to collect her award, she said, “What did I do?” Those honoring her told her that it was for her many donations and efforts at chamber events.
The Elburn chamber honored Hill, as well as Paisano’s Pizza & Grill in Elburn, which took home the business of the year honor. Paisano’s, at 106 N. Main St., was displaying the award on its Facebook page.
The chamber’s annual dinner is a fundraiser for the organization’s scholarship fund, which benefits Kaneland High School students.
The theme again was horse racing, and those in attendance bought tickets to “bet” on taped horse races, with winners receiving small prizes. Many of the women in attendance wore elaborate “derby hats.”
The event took place at the Elburn Lions Club.
Money was raised through dessert auctions that those in attendance could bid on. Also, there was a silent auction, with items donated by participating businesses.
Annette Theobald, who owns Paisano’s with her husband, Dick, said it was the second year that the business had been honored by the chamber.
“It feels good,” she said. “But you are shocked because you are doing something that just comes natural for you.”
Paisano’s is widely hailed for playing a key role in supporting the Elburn community. Theobald said she and her husband also enjoy volunteering. The Kaneville residents participate in softball and baseball leagues, and Annette Theobald is a trustee on the Kaneville Public Library Board. She also volunteers at St. Gall Catholic Church.
She said her husband is more likely to help out individuals – for instance, she said, he once hired two customers who were out of work and willing to learn to become cooks. She said they have become good employees.
She said she always is looking out for ways to help organizations. For instance, she said she recently learned of a fundraiser that was in the Kane County Chronicle, and she called the organization to donate gift certificates.
“I think more businesses should give back to the community and be personally involved,” she said.
• Al Lagattolla is the news editor of the Kane County Chronicle. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.