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SVHA Museum brings home the governor’s award

Spring Valley Historic Association Board members Sheila Campbell (from right), Mike Campbell, Kathy Cullinan and Debb Ladgenski receive their Governor’s Home Town Award plaque Thursday at a ceremony at the executive mansion in Springfield.
Spring Valley Historic Association Board members Sheila Campbell (from right), Mike Campbell, Kathy Cullinan and Debb Ladgenski receive their Governor’s Home Town Award plaque Thursday at a ceremony at the executive mansion in Springfield.

SPRING VALLEY — The Spring Valley Historic Association’s Museum is one of 30 recipients of Gov. Pat Quinn’s Home Town Awards.

The 30th annual awards were announced Thursday at the executive mansion in Springfield. The awards recognize volunteers for their work in improving their communities.

“The Governor’s Home Town Awards honor the efforts of 30 remarkable groups who have selflessly dedicated their time and efforts to making their communities a better place to live,” Quinn said. “We applaud these groups of volunteers for improving the lives of others and truly making a difference in our state.”

The museum’s award came in the area of history and historic preservation for communities with a population of 5,001 to 10,000.

SVHA Committee member Debb Ladgenski wrote the application for the award. Ladgenski said Spring Valley’s approaching 125th anniversary in 2011 renewed interest in securing a permanent home for retaining oral, written, pictorial and other physical memorabilia associated with Spring Valley. In August 2010, the group obtained a loan to purchase a vacant bakery building, and a membership drive, fundraising campaign and work effort resulted in the building opening in July 2011.

Ladgenski said the project was the result of 66 volunteers putting in a total of 4,000 hours and raising of $50,000 in private funds.

Ladgenski said they were excited to receive the award.

“Winning is a recognition for a lot of efforts that usually go on behind the scenes,” she said. “There’s a lot of good going on in Spring Valley, and this is just one example.”

Since last year’s opening, Ladgenski said interest has remained steady in the museum, and people continue to bring in their memorabilia. However, she would like to see more people attend the programs the museum puts on.

“You don’t have to be a member to attend,” Ladgenski said.

Because of the museum, the museum and the city have received a donation of a former Spring Valley fire truck. The truck is currently in storage, but Ladgenski said it would be out for the Lighted Santa Parade in Spring Valley Saturday for the public to see.

Ladgenski said future plans for the museum include finding a home for the fire truck at the museum so it and other fire fighting memorabilia can be on permanent display.

The Governor’s Home Town Award recipients are selected by volunteer judges who review and rank applications based on a variety of factors, including local need, volunteer participation, use of resources and the results achieved. The projects are judged within their population categories as well as within their assigned project categories. The project categories include services and mentorship, beautification and sustainability, parks and recreation, memorials and monuments and history and historic preservation. Each winning group receives a road sign for its community and plaque recognizing its efforts.

The 30 winning projects represent the work of nearly 8,500 volunteers who devoted more than 205,000 hours of their time. Nearly $4.7 million in donated materials or in-kind services were provided and almost $7.1 million in private funds were raised for these projects.

Foods Raised at East Side Health (F.R.E.S.H.) Community Teaching Garden was selected as the 2012 Governor’s Cup award winner. The Governor’s Cup is a traveling silver trophy presented to the group whose efforts are deemed most representative of the spirit of Illinois volunteerism.

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Previous Bureau County winners of the Governor's Home Town Awards:

In good company

In 2008, Ladd won two awards, first for the Community Improvement Association's work to restore the World War I statue in the village's park, and for Village President Mike Grivetti's efforts to raise funds to add two adjoining monuments honoring all of Ladd's veterans.

In 2006, Princeton's Flags of Freedom and Spring Valley's Walleye Club won Governor's Home Town Awards.

In 2005, Spring Valley's veterans won for their library expansion project, and Walnut won for its Veterans Memorial Park.

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