And the Wood Award recipient for 2011 is ...
Joe Stanton, owner of Fagans Inc. in Geneva.
From the time he moved here in 1984, Stanton has made an impact on the Geneva community. Whether contributing to the downtown by owning a business or helping a new business get started, volunteering his time to a multitude of boards or financially supporting an organization, Stanton represents the community spirit represented by the Wood Award.
"Since moving here, he has loved this community and is willing to do practically anything to ensure that it remains a thriving, growing place to live and do business," a Chamber of Commerce press release said. "He enjoys working with like-minded people who feel the same way about his adopted hometown."
Stanton saw opportunities to build, renovate and even at times move homes and buildings in the downtown area for the betterment of Geneva. From starting his days in Geneva owning the Geneva Mining Company on the corner of Second and State streets to owning his current business and everything he has done in between, the goal of making Geneva a better place is always at the top of Stanton's mind.
Many organizations have been fortunate to receive financial or volunteer support from Joe Stanton. The Geneva Chamber of Commerce, Geneva History Center, Geneva Library Foundation, Geneva Park District, Geneva Cultural Arts Commission, Geneva High School, Harrison Elementary School, the former Coultrap Elementary School, Geneva Underground Playhouse, Geneva Police Department Senior Citizen directory and Geneva Township Senior Center.
His assistance and creativity has also reached many familiar events including Paul Ruby Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, Dancing with the Geneva Stars and 60 Men Who Cook.
The city of Geneva benefitted from Stanton's knowledge when he worked with the Water and Waste Water Task Force, with city administrators and business owners as the Chamber of Commerce representative for changes in liquor law and helping the Geneva Police Department Committee to update mission and vision statements.
“He is a kind and generous man. When called upon, he is always willing to help—his family, his friends, his employees, his customers, his tenants and especially his city. No request for assistance is too small or too big for Joe to take on,” says Debbie Draus, his assistant at Fagans.
The former Geneva Theater marquee displays events that contribute to making Geneva a welcoming community. Stanton is the one who accepts marquee requests from various organizations, determines when the event is displayed and, for many years, climbed the ladder to place the letters on the marquee for Geneva’s many events.
Perhaps on Nov. 8, the marquee should simply read “2011 Wood Award Winner—Joe Stanton."
About the Wood Award
The Wood Community Service award is presented each year to an individual who has made significant community contributions in the areas of business, education, youth involvement, civic organizations, art, recreation, charity or government. The award is named in honor of Bill and Elise Wood, and Nell and Burton Wood—four individuals who have all contributed to the growth and health of the city of Geneva.
Previous winners include:
- William C. Wood, 1985
- Robert Joshel, 1986
- Gloria McCleary, 1987
- Allen Mead, 1988
- Arthur Nelson, 1989
- J. Roger Morris, 1990
- Weldon Johnson, 1991
- Jamie Daniel, 1992
- Mac Olson, 1993
- Rae Johns Ellsworth, 1994
- Robert Krell, 1995
- Richard Lindholm, 1996
- Dave Rogers, 1997
- Bruce & Carolyn Simpson, 1998
- James T. Riley, 1999
- Alden L. Odt, 2000
- Sharon L. Jones, 2001
- Steve Lillie, 2002
- John Anderson, 2003
- Mary Bencini, 2004
- Mary Kay Brown, 2005
- Stephen Persinger, 2006
- Dr. Rodney B. Nelson, III, 2007
- Scott Lebin, 2008
- Sam & Carolyn Hill, 2009
- Kent Shodeen, 2010
Information for this article is courtesy of the Geneva Chamber of Commerce.