COMMERCE AND COMMUNITY
The Herald News
The companies and people honored at the Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce & Industry’s annual dinner Monday understand reciprocity.
Recognizing the staff members that support them and giving something back to their communities is important to local business owners.
The two men presented with the chamber’s top awards of the night, for example, make community service a regular practice.
Robert Rogina, founder and owner of Rogina Engineers and Surveyors, received the chamber’s Rabbi Hershman Community Service Award. The Rev. James Allen received the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Russ Linkard, chamber president and CEO, introduced Rogina as a graduate of Joliet Junior College and the University of Illinois who has been heavily involved in the life and growth of the community over the last 20 years.
Chairman of the Silver Cross Hospital Foundation, Rogina chaired two fund-raising campaigns for the United Way of Will County and two school referendum committees, and is a member of retired U.S. Rep. George Sangmeister’s Joliet Arsenal planning committee.
The Rev. James Allen was described as someone who has dedicated his life to helping others.
Before he retired in 200, Allen served as a chaplain at the Will County Jail, worked with hospices and was assigned to Grace United Methodist Church on Ottawa Street.
Allen is involved with the Salvation Army, the YMCA Community Services Council, Catholic Charities and the University of St. Francis Diversity Council.
When he took the podium to accept his award, Allen thanked the chamber then pulled his family – his wife Nancy, daughter Beth Ann and son Paul – on stage with him.
“They have accepted me when I perhaps gave more time to the church and the community than I should have,” he said, hugging each family member before they returned to their seats. “Some of you know what I mean at this point.”
Allen read a list he called “guide points for easier living.” He said he compiled the list this summer after experiencing an illness that prompted him to question what is really important in life.
Accept everyone as equals, he said. Be as honest and real as you can at any given moment. Give gifts without strings.
“No one will ever really change until they see you and me practicing some of the above,” Allen said.
Other businesses receiving chamber awards included:
• Law firm Mahoney, Silverman & Cross, Business of the Year.
• Founders Bank, Small Business Award in the financial services category.
• Poehner, Dillman & Mahalik Plumbing, Heating & Air, Small Business Award in the professional business services category.
• Rand’s and Tara’s Hallmark, Small Business Award in the retail category.
• Joliet Area Historical Museum, Small Business Award in the social services agencies category.