BELLEVILLE — The Greater Belleville Chamber of Commerce recognized a faith-based social services group and local water company as part of its annual business excellence awards banquet.
Illinois American Water Co. and Christian Social Services of Illinois, both in Belleville, were given the Greater Belleville Chamber of Commerce's Business Excellence Awards held Thursday night at Fischer's Restaurant in Belleville. The chamber also honored The Bank of Edwardsville Belleville West branch manager Molly Watkins with the Leadership Belleville Alumni Award and Hospice of Southern Illinois Community education manager Lisa Phillipson as the Chamber's Ambassador of the Year.
"One of the things I've been very proud of is working for my company that it is committed to the community," Phillipson said. "I'm lucky that I work for someone that says we are a part of the community."
Phillipson graduated from the Chamber year-long Leadership Belleville program in 2004. The following year, Watkins, this year's Leadership Belleville Alumni Award winner, completed the program. Watkins said the instruction has provided her and others with a great experience to help their community.
"I'm very honored and humbled," Watkins said. "Leadership Belleville gave me great insight to a number of things about Belleville businesses. It was just a great experience."
Gary Huelsmann, executive director of Christian Social Services of Illinois, said being recognized for business excellence really helps the social services group move its mission and vision forward.
"We're just very excited to get the recognition," Huelsmann said. "Part of our mission statement is that we want to be an expression of God's loving community and it's always good when we also get support from the community which we serve. The more support we get from the community, the more support we can give back to the community in a caring way."
In a released statement, Grant Evitts, the senior operations manager for Illinois American Water in the metro-east, said, "This recognition means a lot to our team. Our corporate office and local distribution center is in Belleville, as is American Water's national lab. Our employees not only work here, but many of them also live here. They take great pride in what they do and the communities they serve. We understand the importance of reliable water service to the viability of a community. Illinois American Water has been a providing water service to Belleville for nearly 100 years and we are committed to ensuring our community, neighbors and businesses have access to this essential service now and in the future. We thank the Belleville Chamber of Commerce for their leadership and for this honor."
"Illinois American Water is a tremendous asset to our community and certainly does so much not only for the chamber, but the community as well," said Greater Belleville Chamber of Commerce Executive Director John Lengerman.
"I think we focused a lot on what Christian Social Services has been able to do since they changed their name from Catholic Social Services and really expanded their services," Lengerman said. "Their group has really done a great job in all of Southern Illinois, not just Belleville. They have continued to do great work under their new name."
Contact reporter Will Buss at email@example.com or 239-2526.