Sycamore Chamber honors local dealership as Business of the Year

SYCAMORE – The polar vortex couldn’t keep about 300 people from gathering to recognize top businesses in the Sycamore area.

DeKalb-Sycamore Chevrolet Buick GMC – which has supported various community groups and recently donated a minivan to Safe Passage – was named 2018’s Outstanding Business of the Year during the 103rd annual Sycamore Chamber of Commerce meeting Thursday at St. Mary’s Catholic Church Memorial Hall in Sycamore.

Chamber Executive Director Rose Treml said the award is given to businesses that display integrity in the way they do business and passion for the community they serve.

Ryan Gilleland, executive general manager for the dealership, 1925 Mercantile Drive, accepted the award alongside business development manager Darion Page.

“I appreciate the fact that I get to call DeKalb and Sycamore my home for the rest of my life,” Gilleland said. “We’ll be here forever, and I will do anything possible for the community that has done so much for us.”

Other business awards included MorningStar Media as Chamber Champion for demonstrating an outstanding partnership with the Chamber and contributions to the community; the DeKalb County Forest Preserve District as the Discover Diamond recipient for making significant improvements to its business, property or organization; and Tom & Jerry’s and Catering by Diann as the Spirit of Small Business for showing community spirit and pride in Sycamore.

Treml also gave an overview of Chamber events that happened in 2018, including the inaugural Farm to Table Community Dinner, for which tickets sold out less than an hour after sales opened to the public.

“The success of these events are evident every day through the vitality of this community,” Treml said.

Sycamore resident and community leader Gary Evans was recognized as the 2018 recipient of the Clifford Danielson Outstanding Citizen Award.

Evans is the business development director for First National Bank and has developed a number of large-scale fundraising projects, including the First National Challenge, which has raised more than $1 million to date for the Sycamore and DeKalb high schools’ athletic programs. He also is a three-time track All-American as a runner on the relay team for Truman State University, still holds the NCAA record for the most interceptions – five – in one football game, and was a secondary coach for Northern Illinois University’s football team from 1987 to 1994.

“It’s a convergence of Gary’s two passions – his passion for sports and his passion for the community,” Northwestern Medicine Kishwaukee Hospital President Kevin Poorten said as he introduced Evans for the award.

Evans joins 29 other community members who have been given the award, including Bill Nicklas, John Ward, Bob Hammon, Tim Suter, Yvonne Johnson, Berni Schelkopf and Joel Braczak, who also attended the event.

“I’m so honored to be part of a group of people that helped shape Sycamore for all of these years,” Evans said.

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