2021 Momence Chamber of Commerce
Citizen of the Year: Dawn Willbarger
For Dawn Willbarger, the Gladiolus Festival isn’t just a week, it’s a year-long passion project. Dawn moved to Momence with her family when she was in 3rd grade, and with the exception of a brief hiatus, has been living here ever since. Dawn is married to her loving husband, Jim Willbarger. The couple have been blessed with 3 wonderful daughters and grandchildren. She is currently the Vice President of Riverside Medical Group and volunteers as Vice President of the Executive Committee for Kankakee Valley Hospice. For the last 10 years, Dawn has dedicated much of her free time to the Gladiolus Festival. More specifically, Dawn is in charge of arranging and managing the flea market on the Island Park. Dawn begins the process the October before each festival and works tirelessly for the next 10 months to ensure that the flea market goes off without a hitch. The Momence Change of Commerce is proud to name Dawn Willbarger the 2021 Citizen of the Year.
Business Leaders of the Year: Zugg Insurance
Zugg Insurance is one of the oldest businesses in town, operating in some capacity for 134 years. The charger dates all the way back to 1887! For many years, Zugg Insurance was run by the late Pat Zugg, who was an active member in the Momence community. The business is now run by his daughter, Amanda. Amanda started working for the business with her Grandpa Bill and dad, Pat, when she was just in high school. After obtaining her business degree from Kankakee Community College she officially “joined” the family business. Zugg Insurance is always happy to sponsor events in town, especially those for children. Zugg Insurance has been a sponsor for the Momence Jr Baseball program, Jr Redskin Board, Main Street Momence, the Momence Chamber of Commerce, and Heritage Days. The Momence Chamber of Commerce is proud to name Zugg Insurance as the 2021 Business Leaders of the Year.
Junior Citizen of the Year: Abigail Lovell
Abigail Lovell has been a dedicated volunteer and student that aims one day to be a teacher. During her time at Momence High School, Abigail has maintained a perfect 4.0 grade point average. She has also shared her bright, young mind with younger students. Abigail sat on the Edward Chipman Public Library Teen Advisory Board, where she read books to younger children and tutored children of all ages. Additionally, she has volunteered time with the National Honor Society and Student Council, Abigail is set to attend Olivet Nazarene University next year, where she anticipates studying elementary education. Abigail believes that the Momence community has instilled volunteerism into her being; therefore, she chooses to show her gratitude by giving back. The Momence Chamber of Commerce is proud to acknowledge Abigail Lovell as the 2021 Junior Citizen of the Year.
Lifetime Achievement Award: Bette Dionne
For almost 60 years Bette “Skip” Dionne has helped make Momence a beautiful place to live through great good, beautiful art and friendship. Bette, a livelong resident of Momence, met her husband, Gene, in high school. The two are the proud parents of three loving children–Matt, Ann and Susan. In 1963, the Dionnes opened Dionne’s Drive-In. In 1985, the couple transitioned into French cuisine and reopened as Dionne’s French Restaurant and Gallery. The business also allowed Bette to show off her artistic prowess. An avid painter, Bette displayed and sold her paintings in the gallery at the restaurant. Bette has been a member of “Friends of Conrad Park” for over 20 years and was instrumental in bringing the Mike Boorda Sculpture to the park. Bette says her biggest reward has been becoming friends with so many customers and employees over the years and is still in contact with some of her “kids” from the drive-in days. The Momence Chamber of commerce is honored to present Bette Dionne with the 2021 Lifetime Achievement Award.