BATAVIA- Longtime Batavia resident Georgene Kauth O’Dwyer has been named the 2018 Batavia Citizen of the Year for her tireless dedication to volunteering in the community, according to a news release.
The Batavia Chamber of Commerce will honor O’Dwyer, 85, at its “Inspire 2019: A Celebration of Those Who Inspire Us” annual banquet on Jan. 24. The Chamber has also named Batavia United Way as this year’s “Spirit of Batavia” honoree.
O’Dwyer, who has lived in Batavia since 1958, has volunteered at the Batavia Historical Society, and along with her late husband, Walter Kauth, were among its earliest members. For 40 years, O’Dwyer staffed weekends at the Depot Museum.
“She envisions opportunity and talks enthusiastically about it,” said Dan Hoefler, chairman of the museum’s expansion committee, in the release. “We now have a great plan and are raising money. She doesn’t just look around and notice things that need attention. She takes action. Georgene is the person who does something.”
O’Dwyer has been an active member of the Chamber, joining as a community associate and later serving as a Chamber Ambassador. Batavia Mayor Jeff Schielke said that O’Dwyer’s actions have made the world a “kinder, gentler and more supportive place.”
“With her role as a Chamber Ambassador, Georgene is one of the friendly faces welcoming businesses to town,” Schielke said in the release. “She’s at all the ribbon cuttings and I can also county on her to fill me in on historical facts of a building. Georgene is not only an ambassador for the Chamber, but for the entire city of Batavia.”
In addition to her volunteer work at the Chamber and Depot Museum, O’Dwyer volunteered in her three daughters’ classrooms, serving as a room mother and on the PTO. She was a Girl Scout leader and Sunday school teacher at Holy Cross Catholic Church.
Holly Deitchman, president of the Batavia Chamber of Commerce, said that O’Dwyer has “touched the hearts of all of us at the Chamber.”
“We love her like family. She swings by our office sometimes on her way between service projects to share a hug with us. She is the first to step up to help at our events, and she always does it with a smile,” Deitchman said in the release.
O’Dwyer also chaired the fundraising for Batavia Community Chest, now Batavia United Way, which is the recipient of the Spirit of Batavia Award. The award is given to a group that has made significant contributions to the Batavia community.
“The contributions that the Batavia United Way have made to our community are immeasureable,” Deitchman said in the release. “However, this year has really stood out for their service through the implementation of 2-1-1. The amount of work that Melinda [Kintz, executive director] and the board put into making 2-1-1 happen in Kane County is staggering. We are so lucky to have them working for the betterment of our community.”
Batavia’s Citizen of the Year, the Spirit of Batavia honoree and Ole Award winners are presented at the annual awards event for the Batavia Chamber of Commerce. This year’s event, “Inspire 2019: A Celebration of those who Inspire us!” will be on Jan. 24 at the Nagel Emporium at Marmion’s Abbey Farms, 2855 Hart Rd., Aurora.
For ticket information, visit www.bataviachamber.org.