It’s an award that embodies everything for which the Highland Chamber of Commerce stands. The recipient of the Bill Pierce Chamber Member of the Year Award has shown selfless dedication, sacrifice and goes above and beyond the call of duty for the good of the Chamber and the community. And that’s Tricia Buehne.
“(Buehne) is no stranger to hard work and dedication,” said Judy Neier, who presented the award.
Buehne grew up in St. Rose and was raised on a dairy farm. Growing up, she had a typical farm life. She rode her scooter and bike to school, rode four-wheelers, and shared a room with her sister.
“While her sister was a neat freak, she was not so much,” Neier said. “In fact, when asked to clean up her part of the room, she would get the job done in quite a hurry, because she would hide it all under the bed.”
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Buehne also had an extensive doll collection. “She did take special care of her dolls and had quite a collection. She also has a collection of dolls from every state,” Neier said. “Also near and dear to her were her 4-H bunnies. She spent more time looking for them and playing with them than she did showing them.”
Buehne was a cheerleader in grade school and later played the saxophone in the marching band.
“Being involved in her career, the chamber and other community organizations takes up most of her time, but she is willing and able to help out around the farm if need be,” Neier said. “And she can bake like nobody’s business when she finds the time.”
After graduating high school, Buehne pursued a position at a local bank as a part-time teller and proof operator. Since that moment, she’s never looked back. She has spent the last 16 years with First Mid Illinois Bank & Trust and currently holds a position as vice president of mortgage lending.
“It’s such an honor to receive this award,” said Buehne, who will serve as chamber president for the upcoming year. “I really care about the Chamber and the whole community.”
Buehne said receiving the award in recognition of her work was a huge compliment, and she has big aspirations for the Chamber of Commerce for the next year.
“I want this to be the best year ever. I want us to get to know the businesses in town, not just on a professional level, but on a personal level too. Let’s make the next 12 months great.”
Buehne has been the leading mortgage producer for First Mid Illinois Bank, which includes 47 branches. Working for a company that is very involved in the community has been a perfect fit for her. She says it motivates her to volunteer her own time to local organizations.
“Tricia enjoys working with people in buying their own home and has had a chance to develop relationships working with them,” Neier said. “Tricia was recognized for her hard work and dedication by being honored with the 2015 Chairman’s Award.”
A few of her accomplishments include:
▪ She is a board member and now president of the Chamber of Commerce.
▪ She is the Chairman of the Chamber’s Ambassador club.
▪ She has been a past president of both the Highland and Illinois Jaycees, and she received the Clayton Frost Memorial Award as the top state president in the U.S.
▪ She is Junior Chamber International Senator.
▪ She is a member of the Community Involvement Committee for the Greater Gateway Association of Realtors.
▪ She is a member of the Realtor Association of Southwestern Illinois
But her involvement isn’t limited to this short list. She has a heart for the Highland Chamber and its benefits, not only to the businesses that it serves, but also the larger community. She’s also involved in many chamber events, such as Business After Hours, Business Over Breakfast, Lunch ‘N Learn, the annual fundraiser, the Street Art Festival, and many others.”
“She has a good memory and a good heart and if you have ever worked with her on one of her projects, committees, or boards, then you already know that,” Neier said.
About the Award
The Bill Pierce Chamber Member of the Year Award is designed to honor a Highland Chamber of Commerce member who has exhibited extraordinary service to the organization, and who has made use of his/her business skills for betterment of the entire community. This person has held Chamber leadership positions; being a board member, project chairperson or active volunteer and has shown initiative and creativity in pursuing the goals of his/her business or profession.