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April 8, 2005

Gov. Blagojevich encourages communities across Illinois to nominate outstanding volunteer efforts for 2005 Home Town Awards

CHICAGO – The hard work and dedication of thousands of volunteers across Illinois whose efforts have greatly improved the communities in which they live are acknowledged each year through the Governor’s Home Town awards.  Gov. Rod Blagojevich today is encouraging cities, towns and villages across the state to recognize the outstanding contributions of their communities by nominating distinguished volunteer efforts for the 24th Annual Home Town Awards.  While the awards will take place next November, the time to submit nominations is now. 
“Everyday across Illinois, volunteers unconditionally give of their time, talents and resources to improve the quality of life for the citizens of their communities.  Many times, however, those efforts go unrecognized.  I want to encourage citizens throughout this state to nominate the work of their friends, colleagues and neighbors for the Annual Home Town Awards.   Not only are the awards an exemplary way to recognize those outstanding efforts from the past year, they’re a great source of civic pride, boost local morale and serve as great motivation to continue doing the type of work that is so essential to fostering strong and vibrant communities,” Gov. Blagojevich said.   
Administered by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), the Governor's Home Town Awards are presented in a number of categories, based on community population.  Applications for awards may be submitted by a variety of community representatives, such as local governments, schools, community organizations, chambers of commerce, community action agencies, area agencies on aging and local job training organizations. 
There are ten project categories for which an application may be submitted, including Youth Involvement, Senior Citizen Involvement, Veteran Involvement, Economic Development, Parks and Recreation, Food Pantries/Meals, Clean-Up/Beautification, Homeland Security, Historical Societies/Sites and General.  Applications are reviewed by a team of volunteer judges, who conduct site visits to finalist communities before deciding on winners.  The judges also select one project from each population category to compete for the coveted Governor's Cup, a traveling silver trophy that signifies the project deemed most representative of the spirit of Illinois volunteerism.  Past Governor's Cup winners have ranged from a troubled youth center in Kankakee County to an emergency services and disaster program in Country Club Hills.
The deadline to apply for the 2005 Governor's Home Town Awards is June 17, 2005.  For more information, or to receive an application guidebook, contact Lou Ann Ladage at DCEO at 217/558-2838, (TDD:  800/785-6055) or e-mail:  lou_ann_ladage@commerce.state.il.us.
“By taking leadership roles in their communities, and getting involved in the projects that matter most to their families, neighbors and friends, these volunteers are building stronger, more vibrant communities that are in better position to attract investment, support growth, create new jobs and encourage innovation.  Gov. Blagojevich and I strongly encourage our citizens to help us recognize these wonderful efforts by submitting nominations for this year’s Home Town Awards,” DCEO Director Jack Lavin said.


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