DIXON – Carol Siefken spent 17 years making sure people in the Sauk Valley didn’t go hungry, and in return, she was well fed with praise Thursday after being named the 2019 Chamber Champion.
The Sauk Valley Area Chamber of Commerce hosted its annual awards dinner themed “A Winter Wonderland” and gave out its fifth Chamber Champion community award.
Siefken was chosen for her passion, dedication and leadership while serving as director of the Sauk Valley Food Bank, which started in 2001 after the closure of Northwestern Steel and Wire Co., Lawrence Brothers, and National Manufacturing increased demands on local food pantries. She retired in November.
She was commended for her work as well as her ability to build relationships and demonstrate the importance of the food bank to the community.
The food bank grew from two pallets of food to more than 2 million pounds that go to area food pantries every year.
Siefken, 76, joins her husband, Russ, in retirement. He stepped down in 2016 after 24 years as United Way of Whiteside County’s executive director.
Other awards and recognitions presented at the dinner include:
• Allie Johnston, Whiteside County 4-H program coordinator, for the Lavonne Colloton Ambassador of the Year.
• Recognitions for 10-year and 20-year ambassador anniversaries to Shelia Martinez and Roy Dern, respectively.
• Recognitions for outgoing chamber board members Jerry Binder, director of development at the Whiteside Area Career Center, and Karen Voss, marketing director of the Rock River Hospice and Home. Both started serving on the board in 2010.