Gibson Area Chamber hands out annual awards


GIBSON CITY — Rob Schmitt, chief executive officer of Gibson Area Hospital, was named Gibson City’s 2017 Citizen of the Year by the Gibson Area Chamber of Commerce during the chamber’s annual awards dinner Thursday night at the Kruse Center in Gibson City.

Schmitt, who has worked in GAH’s administration since 2002 and as its top executive since 2007, was recognized by chamber President Tim Shafer as someone who loves to help out around the community.

“Rob is a leader and has a true passion for helping others, volunteers his time and encourages others to do so,” Shafer said. “He serves the community by assisting at the food pantry, volunteering as a high school football coach, and several other volunteer opportunities too numerous to name.

“In his position, he encourages all the folks who work with and for him to get involved in the community and volunteer for projects that interest them. He is truly a person who makes a difference, and everyone dreams of having him in the community. His service is unending and extends across all areas of town, including Rotary, Lions Club, Gibson Area Chamber of Commerce, Knights of Columbus and Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church. He is not just a member of these organizations, but he has received compliments for his commitment to this community.”

In accepting his award, Schmitt thanked the hospital’s administration and its staff for doing their part to make the hospital a successful operation.

“I’ve been here for 15 years now, working for the hospital,” Schmitt said. “We brought a whole crew of people here. All of these people are the ones who take care of you. They’re the ones who do the great work for you. I’m just privileged to live here and work here.”

Schmitt has served as chairman for several local organizations and in the past has served as an officer with the GCMS Band Boosters and as a Ford County youth soccer coach. He is an active member on the Rotary Club, Lions Club and Ford County Knights of Columbus, and he is also a volunteer at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church functions and Gibson Area Chamber of Commerce events.

This award marks the third time in five years a difference maker from Gibson Area Hospital & Health Services has received the award. Robin Rose and Miranda Leonard also received the Citizen of the Year honor in 2012 and 2015. 

Lifetime Achievement Award
Also during the awards banquet, the Gibson City Rotary Club was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award by the chamber.

Shafer noted the group’s numerous events and projects it has put on in the community.

“They do a lot with the Veterans Day program, including a meal, and of course they take care of the police and firemen,” Shafer said. “The big project they’ve done is the new playground equipment out at the North Park (in Gibson City), and they’re still fundraising for that.”

Shafer also noted that the group shows complete dedication to its activities.

“They’ve set up a hot dog stand at the (annual) Fright Night (event) to serve food to the kids,” Shafer said. “Last year, because of the weather, it was 50-50 whether or not we wanted to do it. There was an 80-mile-an-hour wind, 10 degrees and chilly, but we did it anyway. Those folks were out there with hot dogs and had a really good turnout.”

Rotary Club representative Gene Everett said the group’s membership and leadership is strong.

“We’re extremely protective of the Rotary,” Everett said. “It wasn’t that long ago that we were down to seven people. We were sinking fast, and then my wife, Sue, joined the club, and it’s revived itself. All of these Rotarians have gotten together and have gotten these things done, and we’re not done yet. We have good leadership in the future.”

Junior Citizen of the Year
For its Junior Citizen of the Year Award, chamber members chose Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley High School senior Brandon Zumwalt as the recipient.

Shafer — who said that Zumwalt is involved in FFA, Rotary Club events and much more — read part of his nomination form.

“Important for Brandon is a letter of recommendation which says ‘a hallmark of this individual is that he honors his commitments,’ which is an exceptional quality,” Shafer said.

Not devoting any time to himself, Zumwalt congratulated his fellow classmates — Audrey Maxey, Noah Swanson, Daisy Jaramillo and Bailey Salyards — who were also nominated for the award.

“We have several students here who deserve it,” Zumwalt said, “and I’m waiting to see what their futures will hold tomorrow.”

Categories (3):News, Miscellaneous, Business


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