BATAVIA – In presenting J. Thomas Von Lunen with the 2014 Batavia Citizen of the Year award Friday, Batavia Public Library Director George Scheetz said Von Lunen is someone who always is willing to lend a hand.
“He is willing to help anyone in any capacity,” said Scheetz, who nominated Von Lunen for the award.
Von Lunen was given the award during the Batavia Chamber of Commerce’s annual awards dinner, “Inspire 2015, A Celebration of Those Who Inspire Us!”
Von Lunen, a Batavia Library Board trustee since 2007, humbly accepted the award.
“I’m proud to be part of the community and call Batavia home,” said Von Lunen, who has lived in Batavia since 1979.
Von Lunen said when he moved to Batavia he “wanted to belong to Batavia and actively contribute to the community.”
Von Lunen, 68, has worn many hats in the community. Along with being a library board trustee, he has been a member of the Rotary Club of Batavia since 1991.
He also has been involved in the Art in Your Eye fine arts festival, the Batavia Foundation for Educational Excellence and the Batavia Riverwalk project.
“He is always kind of like the behind-the-scenes guy,” Batavia Mayor Jeff Schielke said, in showering him with praise. “He epitomizes what the Citizen of the Year award is truly all about.”
Batavia City Administrator Bill McGrath also lauded Von Lunen’s efforts.
“He personifies the power of yes,” McGrath said.
Von Lunen’s leadership in fundraising with the Rotary Club has helped support numerous local projects and initiatives. The list includes the Peg Bond Center pavilion, Bulldogs Unleashed, the Batavia Riverwalk boardwalk and gazebo, Batavia High School’s Interact Club and an annual scholarship program for graduating seniors at the school.
His activities also have included work with Hesed House in Aurora, bell ringing for The Salvation Army, serving as an usher at Holy Cross Catholic Church in Batavia and volunteering at Lazarus House in St. Charles.
During the event, five Batavia businesses also were honored as 2014 Ole Award winners.
The honorees and the appropriate category for their award are:
• Remodeling – Industrial: Nutegrity (InCon), 970 Douglas Road
• Remodeling – Industrial: Iron Mountain, 1501 E. Wilson St.
• Remodeling – Commercial: Barco Products, 24 N. Washington Ave.
• Remodeling – Commercial: Gaetano’s, 15 E. Wilson St.
• New Construction – Commercial: Pep Boys, 837 S. Randall Road.