ELGIN — Two people who helped open doors to the local past were among those the community of Elgin honored Wednesday, March 24, during the Elgin Chamber of Commerce’s awards ceremony at Elgin City Hall.
Charlie Horn and Dina Allen helped reopen the Elgin Museum, and their efforts earned them recognition as the chamber’s Man and Woman of the Year.
The Elgin Museum operated at the Elgin Opera House before closing for several years. Horn is the curator of the museum, which reopened in 2020 at its new location in Elgin’s former city hall at 180 N. Eighth St. He played a major role in cataloging the museum’s materials and in restoring Elgin’s old jail, built in 1895 and now on public display just outside the museum.
Allen received the Woman of the Year award for her volunteer work with the Elgin Museum and the Women’s Service Club. She played a big role in refurbishing museum materials for display.
“She is not afraid to roll up her sleeves and get it done,” Elgin Mayor Risa Hallgarth said.
Allen and Horn, like all the recipients, received awards saluting what they did in 2019, said Elgin Chamber President Kathy Bonney. The chamber scheduled the ceremony for 2020, but the pandemic meant postponing the event until this week.
Each winner received their award at city hall. Only one recipient plus members of their families and several presenters were in attendance at each presentation to allow for social distancing.
The Elgin Chamber of Commerce’s Spirit award went to Terry Hale, the Elgin Opera House’s executive director of creativity. The award recognizes Hale’s work with young people through the Opera House Youth Actors program. It also recognizes Hale for winning a Freddie G Fellowship in 2020, a coveted honor for directors of youth theater. Freddie Gershon created the award. He is the recipient of a Tony Honor for Excellence in Theatre and is co-chair of Music Theatre International.
The Elgin Chamber’s Organization of the Year award went to the Elgin Alumni Association, whose members attended classes in the Elgin School District. The association conducts an annual banquet that anyone who went to school in the Elgin School District can attend. The association held the banquet almost every year for at least five decades, until 2020 when the pandemic led to its cancellation. Lara Moore of Elgin said at the presentation the association is a huge supporter of everything that happens in the Elgin School District.
Megan Myers received the Young Woman of the Year award. Myers is a classroom aid at Elgin High School and previously taught at Stella Mayfield Elementary School’s preschool.
“She is a huge volunteer at sporting events and any other community events that need a helping hand,” said Moore, the 2018 Young Woman of the Year award winner.
Brian Evans received the Young Man of the Year award for his work as a volunteer for the Elgin Stampeders, which puts on the annual Elgin Stampede rodeo, and for serving as head coach of the Elgin High School girls basketball team.
The Employee of the Year award went to Shay Marshall, who works for Timber’s Feedery in Elgin and Local Harvest Eatery and Pub in La Grande — both are pizza and sandwich restaurants.
“She is an outstanding employee who can fill in at every position if needed,” said Bruce Rogers, co-owner of both restaurants.
The Elgin Chamber’s Business of the Year award was given to Timber’s Feedery.
“They have a philanthropic attitude,” Hallgarth said. “If someone in the community needs a helping hand, they are there to give it.”
The Elgin Chamber of Commerce will present the award for Educator of the Year at an upcoming meeting of the Elgin School Board.