Chuck and Mary Werner recognized for volunteerism

PAXTON — Chuck and Mary Werner were presented with the Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce’s annual Golden Deeds Awards during Paxton’s annual Old-Fashioned Fourth of July Celebration at Pells Park.

The award is given to two outstanding community volunteers — one man and one woman. 

After last year no one was nominated for the award, Paxton resident Cathy Whitcomb went in search for two “special people” prior to the June 15 nomination deadline. Whitcomb said that when she attended her weekly Paxton Service Club meeting, she saw those two people sitting across the table from her at the Arcade Cafe & Pancake House.

The Werners are longtime members of the Paxton Service Club — Mary since 2000 and Chuck since 1988.

Whitcomb recently became the club’s president — a position previously held by Chuck Werner for “several years” after first becoming the club’s leader in 1990, Whitcomb said.

In Chuck Werner’s time in the club, he has served as chairman of the Boy Scouts committee, has helped deliver food through the Meals on Wheels program that the club sponsors, and has helped organize the club’s Goodfellows Christmas food basket program each year.

“Until last year, Chuck maintained each year’s list of the recipients (for the food baskets) when the mailings came in,” Whitcomb said. “He would get the members organized, the church space ready for the tables, gather and separate the food donations, get his lists ready, and the baskets given out.

“Chuck and his fellow members were awesome.”

Chuck Werner has also been active in his church — the Paxton Church of Christ.

“You listen to how he talks about his church and you feel his feelings,” Whitcomb said. “He has served on the Paxton Church of Christ board and has served as their treasurer.”

Chuck Werner also has volunteered at the Illinois Central Railroad Museum in downtown Paxton. Whitcomb noted that Werner was always willing to open up the museum upon Whitcomb’s request when she was involved with the nonprofit organization PRIDE in Paxton and her group was holding an event downtown.

“When I was working for PRIDE and we had an event that would be on Market Street, my first call went to Chuck,” Whitcomb said. “We wanted that museum open to anchor the 200 block of North Market Street.”

Whitcomb said Chuck Werner also opened up the museum for the annual Swedish Heritage Day celebration.

“If Chuck couldn’t be there to have the (museum) door open to visitors, he would find a volunteer to have that door open,” Whitcomb said.

Whitcomb also noted that Chuck Werner and other volunteers spent countless hours restoring the depot in which the museum is housed.

Chuck’s wife, Mary Werner, is “very involved in her church,” Whitcomb said.

“She has taught Sunday school; she plays their organ; and she is the coordinator of the blood mobile for the Paxton Church of Christ,” Whitcomb said.

Like her husband, Mary Werner also is “very involved” in the Paxton Service Club’s Goodfellows Christmas basket program. She also delivers food through the Meals on Wheels program, as well as for the Peace Meal program.

“Mary is also involved with Paxton Telecare as a driver and currently their route scheduler, and she assists librarian Susan Skonberg at Clara Peterson Elementary School,” Whitcomb said.

Mary Werner also plays the French horn for the Parkland Community Band. She and Paxton resident Mary Houston also visit local nursing homes each week to entertain residents with their music, Whitcomb said.

“According to Mary Houston, the two Marys were doing what she called ‘variety shows’ for nursing homes in the 1990s,” Whitcomb said.

Categories (2):News, Living
Location (3):Local, Paxton, Ford County

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