Metro-East News

Women shine at Belleville Chamber’s leadership awards ceremony

Women in leadership took home top honors from the Greater Belleville Chamber of Commerce last week.

Every year, the chamber recognizes business owners, volunteers and civic leaders during the organization’s annual award’s ceremony and dinner.

This year, women and the employers who celebrate them nearly swept every category. Those categories included: ambassador of the year, leadership Belleville alumni of the year, business excellence and citizen of the year.

The city has celebrated women for years, but with movements fighting for change throughout the country, the group was noticeably female.

“To me, it was just doing what we do,” said Joy Prigge, recipient of the Ambassador of the Year Award. “People helping people is what I always say.”

Prigge, vice president at Dieterich Bank, said Belleville has always been a supportive community.

Honoree Debra Krueper, of Hoernis Auto Body, agreed.

“I don’t think of it as a surprise,” Krueper said. “Those people were honored for their achievements. The qualified people were the people who were honored. These women didn’t come out of the wood works; they’ve been doing these things for years.”

Want to know more about each winner? Check out what the chamber said about this year’s recipients:

2017 Ambassador of the Year

Recipient: Joy Prigge

Organization: Dieterich Bank

A note from the Chamber: Prigge, vice president of Dieterich Bank and winner of the Ambassador of the Year award, served as chair of the Ambassador Committee in 2017, coordinated all the ambassador luncheons and has volunteered at various Chamber events throughout the year. She has also been a key member the past three years during the Total Resource Campaign.

2017 Leadership Belleville Alumni of the Year

Recipient: Debra Kruep

Organization: Hoernis Auto Body

A note from the Chamber: Kruep is a graduate of the 2010 Leadership Belleville Class and partial owner of Hoernis Autobody. Kruep believes in the philosophy of high-quality repairs, fair treatment to employees and vendors, and exceptional customer service which has made their business one of the largest and most respected collision repair centers in Southern Illinois. She is a life-long Belleville resident, volunteers for many Chamber events and helped to mold Leadership Belleville into the class it is today. Kruep started the Gingerbread Cookie walk 10 years ago that now brings 400 people to downtown Belleville every year during the holiday season to showcase the businesses in downtown Belleville.

2017 Business Excellence Award

Recipients: Kaskaskia Engineering Group, LLC and Egyptian Workspace Partners

A note from the Chamber: The Business Excellence Award is the most prestigious award given by the Chamber to a member who best exemplifies the following criteria: Evidence of success given company’s expansion and financial accomplishments, development, utilization of innovative or creative business methods and contributions to community. Geri Boyer excepted the award for Kaskaskia Engineering Group, LLC. Kevin Baltz excepted the award for Egyptian Workspace Partners.

2017 Citizen of the Year Award

Recipient: Patty Gregory

Organization: Art on the Square

A note from the Chamber: Gregory, director for Art on the Square, was honored as Citizen of the Year by Boyer Fire Protection Services. Gregory is known for her outstanding contributions and service to the Belleville community. She created Art on the Square as a way to highlight Belleville where it has continued to grow since it began in 2002. It has been named the No. 1 Art Show five times since its inception. Patty’s dedication to the community shows year around by helping organize events that showcase Belleville including Paint the Town, which was nationally recognized and most recently hosted the open house for the re-dedication of Belleville City Hall. With her years of dedication to the arts, Belleville and many other organizations, it is clear to see that her contributions and commitment will provide inspiration to all and make her the epitome of the Greater Belleville Chamber of Commerce’s Citizen of the Year.

Cara Anthony: 618-239-2471, @CaraRAnthony