Excellence in Edwardsville
Mayor Art Risavy wishes to recognize residents whose generous efforts, contributions and achievements foster and enhance civic pride and responsibility, promote appreciation, and embody the spirit of our City to encourage public service through selflessness. He is asking City employees and the community to nominate those who are selflessly acting for the betterment of our community and/or neighbors through acts of kindness.
In order to nominate someone, you will need to obtain the name(s) of the resident(s) and contact information, and describe the contribution, achievement, act or deed, including the date and location along with a photo or video if available. As nominations are received, a resident or residents will be recognized at a meeting of the City Council and will be presented with a token of appreciation for contributions to the City of Edwardsville.
Recipients will be recognized at a meeting of the City Council and will be presented with a token of appreciation for their contribution to the City of Edwardsville.
The City of Edwardsville Coin will be presented to the award recipient at a City Council meeting or at a separate time if the recipient is unable to attend the City Council meeting.
To nominate someone click here.
Edwardsville High School senior William Wojcieszak was honored with an Excellence in Edwardsville award in October 2023 for his outstanding effort to support local food drives. In September, he contributed a whopping 2,280 pounds of food donations to the Tackle Hunger food drive. William collected donations from subdivisions, businesses and even spent his own money on contributions. What's even more impressive is that he's contributed an outsize amount to food drives several times previously.
School bus driver Kent Fant, a former Edwardsville police officer, was honored as the February 2023 Excellence in Edwardsville recipient for the compassion he showed to a 9-year-old student on his bus. When Cooper McMichael's mom was diagnosed with breast cancer and then lost her hair, Cooper shaved his head. Kent Fant then surprised Cooper by shaving his head in support of Cooper and his family.
Boy Scout Troop 8031, which is based out out of Eden Church, was honored as the Excellence in Edwardsville award recipient for January 2023. The troop, which formed 94 years ago, was honored for its community contributions and long legacy of Eagle Scouts. Just a month earlier, the troop surpassed 100 Eagle Scouts among its historical ranks. The Scouts' hard work and service are appreciated.
Edwardsville High School student Maddox Ruehl was honored as the November 2022 Excellence in Edwardsville award recipient. Earlier in the year, Maddox stopped to gather hundreds of empty water bottles that were scattered on the side of a busy road north of town. No one told him to do it; he saw a need and took it upon himself to get it done. “He’s just a good-hearted kid who likes to do the right thing,” his dad, Robert Ruehl, said.
Tapiwa Mupereki was recognized for Excellence in Edwardsville in October 2022. A pharmacist and co-owner of JewelRide, Tapiwa Mupereki was born in Zimbabwe, and raised by a single mom who instilled in him the transformative power of reading. He approached the library to sponsor a “bikes for books” summer reading challenge, encouraging literacy and good health through physical activity. He spent $3,500 to buy 10 bicycles, helmets and water bottles as prizes for book challenge participants. He encouraged four other businesses to join him in donating additional bicycles.
Chris Azar was recognized for Excellence in Edwardsville in September 2022. He is the president of Rebuilding Together-Southwest Illinois, an all-volunteer group in Madison County that helps repair and renovate homes, particularly for low-income senior citizens, veterans, people with disabilities and families in need. In 2021, the group completed three dozen projects. So far in 2022, they’ve repaired roofs, added wheelchair ramps, replaced flooring, showers and toilets, rebuilt a deck and poured new sidewalks.
Mary Grose was recognized for Excellence in Edwardsville for years of contributions to the City. She has been active in community initiatives on environmental issues along with efforts to educate residents about the ways they can play a role in those. Among the projects she’s helped lead are the Bring Your Own Glen/Ed effort to reduce plastic bag usage, the Edwardsville Community Housing Alliance, the Good Dirt Composting Collective and, most recently, the Good Dirt Community Gardens.
Hayley Hipp received the Excellence in Edwardsville recognition at the City Council meeting on July 5, 2022, for her outstanding community involvement. She is a health coach for those looking for a healthier lifestyle, started a group that picks up trash in local parks and high traffic public places in the City, and launched a hiking group that makes natural animal feeders that are placed throughout places they hike. Additionally, she reaches out to various groups in the community, thanking them and making them feel special with cards and small tokens of appreciation.
Michelle Babb earned this award through her collaborative resourcing for needs in the community. She has consistently worked with the Glen Ed Pantry, Faith Coalition, Restore Décor and Project 618, coordinating supplies with the Public Library, facilitating service through the Salvation Army, Red Cross, Faith in Action, several groups serving the area’s homeless, and helping to provide donated furniture and medical supplies to groups and people in need.
Elijah Manuel and Kenny Howard were happy to help a visitor to Edwardsville. Tracy Baer's tire popped and these two young men did not hesitate to remove her popped tire and replace it with her spare tire. She stated that they were kind and respectful and she appreciated the great experience that she had in Edwardsville.
Sandy Deal is a school crossing guard for Columbus Elementary School, and has been dedicated to the safety of children for over 40 years. She is out rain or shine with her stop sign to protect the children. Sandy is truly devoted to the youth of this community, and encourages them to continue their education and never stop learning.
Glynda Lavelle started GlenEd Do Good, which has 2,383 members. This group is a place to find out about supporting, serving and helping in our community. The group is about how we can make everyday differences and support those groups making this a great place to live. Local charities, churches and schools will post about upcoming events and volunteer needs.
Denise Arendell and Sarah Rankin are the co-directors of 100+ Women Who Care from the 618. These Edwardsville residents joined forces in the summer of 2019 to bring to our community a simple concept with a huge impact. They gathered like-minded women to meet and donate quarterly to collectively give to local nonprofits. To date, the members of the organization have donated over $350,000. These women, their steering committee, and the dedicated members have truly redesigned giving in our community.
Kristen Webber and her daughter, Nora, were spotted by a Community Service Officer picking up trash. They had noticed litter when they were at the Goshen Market and decided to do something about it. This mother-daughter duo acted selflessly for the betterment of our community and were saluted by the Edwardsville Police Department for making Edwardsville a better place for everyone.
Keyona Harris was nominated by Gregg Signorotti, who wrote a detailed and heartfelt description of Keyona Harris’s professional and compassionate actions during a medical emergency to which the Edwardsville Fire Department was dispatched. Ms Harris is a compassionate and empathetic caregiver who does everything in her power to ensure that her patients receive the best care possible. Mr. Signorotti said that she is the definition of excellent patient care that should be emulated by all caregivers at all levels.
The first Excellence in Edwardsville Award recipients, Harry and Erica Parker, owners of Gulf Shores Restaurant and Grill, were recognized at the City Council meeting on November 16, 2021. Their business raised over $12,000 for the family of fallen Pontoon Beach Officer Tyler Timmins.