ROCK FALLS – The Rock Falls Chamber of Commerce held it’s annual dinner Thursday at the Days Inn Hotel and honored several local individuals and groups who have given their time and energy to the city.
Shoulder to the Wheel awards were given in three categories: individual, organization and youth group.
Brian Tribley, a pastor at Firehouse of God Ministries in Sterling and a part-time firefighter in Rock Falls, won the individual award.
Tribley has developed a men’s rescue mission that provides shelter to the homeless for up to 6 months and helps them find employment, said presenter Kelly Keaschall, who won the award in 2009.
Keaschall also recognized Tribley’s work to turn part of the former Rock Falls fire station into a museum and a place to store the church’s fire trucks. Tribley also organized volunteers to clean up city flower beds where the Love Light Tree is held, Keaschall said.
“He cares deeply about our community and works hard to help others and make it a better place,” Keaschall, president of DeKalb Feeds, said.
“I’m shocked and very excited and honored,” Tribley said. “I didn’t expect it.”
Tribley, 37, said that of his recent accomplishments, he is proudest of his work on the former firehouse.
“The city worked with us so well for that to happen,” he said.
BLAST (Bigs & Littles Are Special Together) won the youth award. The group, organized through Rock Falls High School, pairs high school students with younger children from Merrill and Dillon elementary schools so they may build relationships and participate in activities.
The group won because of it dedication to service, said Tom DePasquale, who presented the award.
“As always, they’re building a lasting impression that never dies,” he said.
Roman Luevano, 17, and Samantha Padia, 18, both Rock Falls High School seniors, represented BLAST.
“It’s exciting,” Luevano said of the award.
Rock Falls United Methodist Church won the organization award. Melissa Ryan, youth development director for the Sterling-Rock Falls YMCA, presented the award.
The church has donated to the Feed the Children and the Toys for Tots programs, and has provided volunteers and resources to house and feed the homeless in the community, Ryan said.
Michelle Davis, general manager of the Culver’s restaurant, won the Ambassador of the Year award.
“Her pride shows through,” said Joan Hermes, who announced the award.
Also at the event, it was announced that Sally Scanlan from the Chamber board. Four new members will join the board: Carolyn Long, Elizabeth Klahn, Keri Olson and Suzy Perino. Perino is the new chairwoman of the board. Dallas Jones is the new youth member.