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Opinion

Local girl grows into the fabric of community

On Oct. 3, we will host our annual Harvest Celebration and will honor our 12th Donna Dallesasse Award winner, Jamie Saam! Along with this prestigious award, the Chamber of Commerce will be handing out Membership Milestone Awards with some members clocking in at more than 25 years.

I had the pleasure of speaking with Jamie to get some background on her for this article. I know Jamie’s name is very well known in our community on so many levels. I’m sure she is known most recently for her role as executive director of Batavia MainStreet, along with being the owner of her family business, Bulldog Plumbing, with her husband, Doug.

Before her executive director role at MainStreet, Jamie had been on the board for four years and was a Batavia alderman. She did not complete her full term because Main Street asked her to fill the executive director position, but she was able to continue her mission to develop downtown Batavia. Jamie also has served on the Batavia Foundation for Educational Excellence board, Aurora Area Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, and was in charge of Women’s Ministry at River City Church.

Jamie moved to Batavia the summer before fifth grade and attended J.B. Nelson Elementary School and graduated from Batavia High School. She attended the University of Illinois at Chicago and got her degree in sociology and communication. She lived in Oak Park, and that is where she met her husband.

They moved to Chicago when she was pregnant with their first child.

They have three boys, Dexter, 13, Tucker, 10, and Max, 8. (Fun fact: the first year Todd Swanson taught fifth grade Jamie had him for a teacher, and her son Tucker has him for fifth grade this year.)

Jamie’s parents moved to Arizona years ago, along with both of her sisters. (Another fun fact: Jamie is a certified marriage officiant and officiated her sister Katie’s wedding and former Main Street Executive Director Joi Cuartero’s wedding.)

I asked Jamie if she saw Arizona in her future. She said when her sister, Bekah, passed away in January 2014 after a car accident, it seemed inevitable to move and be with her parents and sister Katie. But as time went on, she truly felt her roots were here.

“God dug me in deeper,” she said.

The support she received from the community “heightened itself to a crazy level” she said, and she doesn’t see herself leaving for a long time. She and Doug have goals to grow their business, and she isn’t done with how she wants to continue to contribute to our town.

Jamie truly loves Batavia and her efforts in helping grow our town are why she is our 2018 Donna Dallesasse Award winner. She works closely with us at the Chamber, promoting our mission, supporting our programs and local businesses while also attending our events and being a real team player. Jamie embodies giving to our community and she does it all with class, grace and kindness. Join us in celebrating Jamie from 6 to 8 p.m. Oct. 3 at Abbey Farms.

Call 630-879-7134 or visit www.bataviachamber.org for details and to register.

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