By Christi Warren
Sauk Valley Media
A man who loves history and loves sharing it even more was named Citizen of the Year during the Oregon Chamber of Commerce’s annual dinner on Aug. 14.
Guests dined and participated in a lively dessert auction before Debbie Dickson, executive director of the chamber, took the stage to announce Otto Dick as this year’s recipient.
“This is a man quiet in nature, mild in manner, working silently behind many scenes, whose actions speak loudly of the pride and commitment he carries when he walks throughout our community,” Dickson said.
Dick moved to Oregon with his family in 1946, as a young school boy. His father was a principal, and Otto kind of followed in those footsteps – spending 25 years as a teacher at Dixon High School.
He now spends most of his time volunteering around the community, and working to promote it any way he can, from his work with the Ogle County Historical Society, to his passion and, as Dickson said, the “immeasurable sweat equity” he has poured into the Depot restoration project.
He also writes weekly articles about local history for the Republican Reporter.
“I’m proud to be up here with ‘the lady on the rock,’” he joked, before thanking the chamber for the award. “I’m one of many people who volunteer and [give] so much effort for the town of Oregon,” he said. “I love Oregon. ... It’s a great place; I’m just so happy to be here. I’d choose no place else to live. We have a great history here. Let’s be positive about our town.”
He is the 30th recipient of the chamber’s annual award.
Laura Medlar was named Volunteer of the Year.
She has served on the Candlelight Walk Committee for more than 10 years in a variety of positions. She is also a chamber ambassador and an Autumn on Parade committee member, serving as Duck Dash chair for more than 10 years, interim food court chair, and as a member of the executive board.
She’s also served 8 years on the Ogle County Community Mental Health Board, and volunteers for the Mt. Morris Moose Club and the Oregon VFW.
“It is an honor,” Medlar said upon taking the stage, her voice shaking with emotion. “I have known so many of you – as I look out here and see familiar faces – from years of serving on boards and doing social activities with many of these people in this room. It is an honor. I am amazed, I didn’t have a clue. If anyone can reach out and touch another life through mental health service or whatever it may be, just do it.”
Seth and Carrie Anderson of Alpine Chiropractic and Natural Medicine received Business of the Year.
The young couple, new to the area, immersed themselves in the community since their arrival by working with the chamber and the Lions Club.
“Their genuine dedication to quality; their compassion and commitment to be happy, healthy, and upstanding citizens has not only created dozens of strong relationships, but has also thrown a bright and shining spotlight on them,” Dickson said before the couple took the stage.
“Thank you so much to this community for welcoming us the way that you have,” Carrie said. “We were so excited to start our business here and be doctors here and help all of you as much as we possibly could. … This is quite an honor, especially after only 1 year of business.”
Her husband echoed her sentiment.
“This is a surprising and humbling and quite unexpected honor,” he said. “This has been a wonderful community to be a part of. It’s been tremendously welcoming and warm. It’s a great place to call home.”
About 160 people attended this year’s dinner.
For more information about the Oregon Chamber of Commerce, call 815-732-2100 or visit www.oregonil.com.