Willeys named outstanding citizens

SYCAMORE – Richard and Beth Willey of DeKalb are the recipients of the 26th annual Clifford Danielson Outstanding Citizen Award, presented by the Sycamore Chamber of Commerce.

“This award honors individuals who strive toward the highest level of professional accomplishment and excel in their chosen field,” Rose Treml, executive director of the chamber of commerce, said. “Richard and Beth Willey clearly are deserving of this award and have, over the years, devoted their time and energy to enhance the quality of life in Sycamore.”

Richard Willey, CEO and president of American Midwest Bank, has been a community member for almost 40 years. He annually participates in several charitable events such as the 50 Men Who Cook fundraiser, which benefits Family Service Agency and CASA. He supports many community nonprofits, the American Heart Association and the DeKalb County Community Foundation. He has served as president for the Sycamore Jaycees and Sycamore Rotary Club. Willey believes in community, and both he and the bank he presides over have enhanced the lives of thousands of citizens.

Beth Willey, senior vice president/chief marketing officer at American Midwest Bank, grew up in Sycamore and was the third-generation president and CEO of Henderson’s Department Store in downtown Sycamore. She was the first female Sycamore Rotarian. Beth Willey served as president of Discover Sycamore and the Sycamore Chamber Ambassador Club. She has served on several nonprofit boards and event committees, including Kishwaukee Family YMCA, Kishwaukee College Foundation, DeKalb County Community Foundation, American Heart Association Red Dress Fundraiser and DeKalb County Courthouse Centennial Celebration. Beth Willey also served on the Illinois Retail Merchant Association Board, where she lobbied on behalf of local retailers.

The award is named for Clifford Danielson, president and chairman of The National Bank and Trust Company active in the community for nearly 70 years. Nominees are people who have enhanced life in Sycamore and have at least 10 years of leadership in civic activities.

Past recipients include Ken Mundy, Bruce Griffith, Tom and Joan Fenstermaker, Bill Nicklas, Russ and Bernie Schelkopf, John Boies, Yvonne Johnson, Robert Hammon, Dean Copple, Michael Cullen, John Ovitz and Joe Bussone.

The Willeys will be honored at the chamber’s 98th Annual Meeting on Thursday, Jan. 24. The $25 lunch meeting will be at St. Mary’s Memorial Hall from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Call the chamber at 815-895-3456 by Jan. 18 to make reservations.

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