The Illinois National Guard and artillerymen of Battery A, 2nd Battalion, 122nd Field Artillery in Sycamore were presented with the Sycamore Chamber of Commerce Chamber Champion Award on Jan. 29, at the chamber’s 100th annual meeting.
The award, presented in front of more than 300 chamber members, recognized those who demonstrated outstanding contributions to the Sycamore chamber.
“Every year my staff and I pick a member, business or organization that has truly been outstanding to us and helped us – whether it’s financially, volunteering or just anything we couldn’t do without,” said Rose Treml, executive director of the Sycamore Chamber.
Treml said the unit has supported the communities Pumpkin Fest 10K for decades.
“It’s just very cool and great for us to have,” said Treml.
On the last Sunday in October for the past 36 years, the Sycamore unit has allowed chamber staff, volunteers and hundreds of runners and their families and friends to use the armory during the city’s annual Pumpkin Fest 10k Fun Run.
“It’s this spirit of community that allows us to succeed as a community,” said Treml.
The armory has deep roots within the community spanning nearly seven decades.
“We wouldn’t actually be in the community if it were not for the chamber and the Sycamore community lobbying to keep the unit in Sycamore,” said Sgt. 1st Class Clayton Riley of Sycamore. “In 1936, there were a number of different communities that were lobbying to get the armory in their community.”
The Illinois Army National Guard’s 129th Infantry used the public library before the armory in Sycamore was built.
“In October 1936, the city of Sycamore agreed to put up the land and the chamber was charged with raising $1,000 within the local community,” said Riley. “So that’s what actually got the armory built here in Sycamore.”
The $100,000 armory was one of 15 built around the state by engineer Joseph Crum.
Sycamore’s mayor was on hand for the ceremony and expressed his thanks to the unit and its members.
“Words cannot express how proud we are that, since the 1930s, the Illinois Army National Guard has been in our community,” said Mayor Ken Mundy. “These folks exemplify service to the community, our country and our way of life.”
Maj. Eric Davis of Mount Pulaski said the unit’s involvement in the life of the local community is an exceptional example of how the IL ARNG is part of our communities, not separate from them.
“This recognition is a great honor for Alpha Battery and is definitely indicative of the time, energy and effort the unit gives back to the community,” said Davis. “This is exactly the type of thing that meets our goals and objectives in terms of being an engaged community-based organization.”
The unit will host an open house at 11 a.m. Feb. 22, and will feature an artillery demonstration followed by a chance to view informational displays, tour the armory and visit with soldiers. The event is free and open to the public and media. For more information on the open house, contact Riley at email@example.com.