City of Elgin Presents Image Awards

  • March 20, 2017
  • Carol Gieske

For Immediate Release

Image Awards Winners Announced 

(Elgin, IL) – Elgin’s Image Advisory Commission is proud to announce the winners for the prestigious Image Awards for 2016. The annual award recognizes individuals, businesses and organizations that have had a positive impact on Elgin. The ceremony took place at the Heritage Ballroom at The Centre of Elgin on March 16.

The commission received 31 nominations. Thirteen winners were selected:

In the Individual/Professional category

Ursula Borodzinska – A firm believer in the networking possibilities among the businesses and the restaurants in the heart of the city. This professional takes seriously the opportunities to combine business success with the various events sponsored by the city and the Downtown Neighborhood Association (DNA).

Hal Getzelman – Because of his passion and willingness to provide even greater opportunities to the students and citizens of the Elgin area, this professional has made Elgin’s image literally visible from space and throughout the world.

 Gretchen S. Vapnar – Has been part of the Community Crisis Center from its grass roots origins. Under her leadership, this professional has placed the organization to become a nationally recognized multi-service agency and an Elgin Landmark that helps countless members of the community each year. 

In the Individual/Volunteer category

Keith Rauschenberger – One very hard-working volunteer who’s passion comes from a genuine desire to connect people to the resources that they need, so that they can be informed, educated and successful. His longest and most sustained volunteering efforts have been associated with Elgin Academy.

In the Project category:

Diabetes in the Latin Community Steering Team – Organized the “Be There...for him/her,” campaign which resulted in 129 new Diabetes appointments made, 490 Diabetes assessments completed and 330 assessments and referrals made for Spanish speaking families in the area. The following are members of this Steering Committee: Advocate Sherman Hospital, School District U-46, Centro de Informacion, Elgin Fresh Market, Elgin Hispanic Network, Gail Borden Library, Dr. Michael Hernandez, Reflejos Newspaper, Former State Senator Mike Tyron, VNA Health and the YWCA Elgin.

Elgin Fire Station #7 Community Garden – With funding from the Elgin Community Garden Network, residents have the opportunity to grow their own produce. Starting with only ten plots, today it thrives with 25 active plots due to the fire station personnel’s dedication and vision to the project. The extra produce from these gardens is donated to the Greater Elgin Food Pantry to share throughout our community.

Grand Victoria Foundation – Thirty agencies participated in the 2016 Giving Tuesday Project. All of these agencies had to raise a minimum of $5,000 and their donations were matched up to $5,000 each by the Grand Victorian Foundation, which yielded $450,000 for these 30 agencies. This surpassed the $250,000 raised by the 24 participating agencies and matching grants from the Grand Victoria foundation initial 2015 Giving Tuesday Project.

In the Business category:

Danny’s Pizza – Since opening the doors in the new location, this truly community centered place has gone out of its way to intentionally and continually give back to the community of its roots including  fundraisers for fire fighters and police officers, children and families, as well as charities such as the Shriners and Guitars for Veterans.

Elgin Fresh Market – In 2016 teamed up with Advocate Sherman Hospital in providing field trips to educate children about the importance of a healthy lifestyle. In addition, 2% of total purchases during an established month was donated to Elgin schools. In the past eight years, they have given back over $125,000 to the Elgin community.

 Oak Crest Residence and Atrium Apartments of Elgin – Founded in 1904, this mission of this Elgin business has always been to meet the changing needs of seniors and their families, while maintaining a current approach to care; networking within the community for service excellence and striving to be the best in value and ethics.

In the Organization category:

Downtown Neighborhood Association’s Promotion Committee – This committee has organized a Cinco de Mayo Festival and carnival, the Elgin Cycling Classic, DNA Harvest Market, Winter Wonderland and Downtown Elgin Pub Crawl. The volunteers who make up this committee, have produced and continue to produce events that draw thousands of visitors to our community.

Elgin Patriotic Memorial Association – In 1868, General John A. Logan established the 30th Day of May as Decoration Day or in 2017, Memorial Day. For the next 14 years, the members of the Elgin Chapter of the Grand Army of the Republic, (GAR) would conduct “fitting tributes to its fallen soldiers.” But, in 1882, the aging Union War Veterans, who felt they could no longer carry on this task, gave way to a group comprised of more than a dozen civic and veteran organizations…both men and women…working in cooperation with the city of Elgin to continue the legacy of the veterans Grand Army of the Republic in providing the highest quality Memorial Day programs, truly unequalled by many communities. This organization is now called the Elgin Patriotic Memorial Association and is celebrating its 125th anniversary.

Saint Edwards High School – Many of the students that attended this institution remain in the greater Elgin area and continue to serve in our community as judges, lawyers, doctors, police officers, firefighters, teachers and other important and helpful occupations in our community. This educational institution recently celebrated 75 years of providing Excellence in Education in a Christ-centered faith community. It will maintain its offer to students of a progressive curriculum designed to prepare today’s student for tomorrow’s realities.

The Image Commission appreciates the work of the nominees and those who took the time to nominate these deserving people and organizations who have contributed to the city’s image through their great efforts. Nomination forms will be announced for next year’s award in the fall of 2017.

For complete information on each award recipient, Image Awards or the Image Commission please contact Barb Keselica, Special Events and Community Engagement Manager, at 847-531-7056 or by email at