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Esteem must be earned; here are some who did so

On a day when an infamous former city official will dominate the headlines, let’s not forget the good things done by good people.

Sauk Valley residents will focus their attention today on the legal fate of Dixon’s disgraced former comptroller. Rita Crundwell is scheduled to be sentenced in Rockford federal court for stealing more than $53 million. Our attention will be focused there later as well.

But for now, let us speak of those who have earned not the scorn of the community, but its esteem.

Being esteemed by others means you have won their respect and admiration.

Even a great man such as President Abraham Lincoln, whose birthday was this week, hoped to live his life so as to earn the esteem of the public.

Lincoln wrote, “... I have no other [ambition] so great as that of being truly esteemed of my fellow men, by rendering myself worthy of their esteem.”

Our region is fortunate to have many people who have rendered themselves worthy of esteem.

One such person is Jim Sarver. He was recently named Citizen of the Year by the Telegraph and the Dixon Area Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

For 25 years, Sarver has been president and CEO of Sinnissippi Centers, the largest mental health provider in the region. He volunteered his services to the community by serving on the Dixon Main Street Board and the school district’s finance committee. He has been active with the Dixon Rotary Club and was involved in the development of a local nursing home.

His community leadership was lauded by John Thompson, chamber president and CEO.

“He’s the one who says ‘Yes’ when he’s asked to do something, and he isn’t afraid to participate. That’s the kind of individual who gets things done,” Thompson said.

Honored with a Future Leaders Award was Josh Albrecht, executive director of Dixon Main Street. His leadership helped make last year’s Mumford & Sons concert an overwhelming success.

When the Rock Falls Chamber of Commerce had its annual dinner, Brian Tribley won its Shoulder to the Wheel award. Tribley developed a men’s rescue mission, the Firehouse of God Ministries, and he also transformed part of a former Rock Falls fire station into a museum.

Tribley’s hard work demonstrates deep caring for the community and a desire to make it a better place.

Michelle Davis won the chamber’s Ambassador of the Year Award for her efforts to generate pride in the community.

Organizations and businesses can also be esteemed. The local chambers honored the Dixon VFW, KSB Hospital, the BLAST (Bigs & Littles Are Special Together) group, and Rock Falls United Methodist Church.

Winning the esteem of the community doesn’t happen by itself. Hard work, much of it voluntary and selfless, goes into such recognition.

We salute Sarver, Albrecht, Tribley, Davis and company for all they did to deserve the esteem of their fellow men and women. Because of them, the community is better than it was.

The contrast between their exemplary work and the tarnished, selfish legacy of Dixon’s ex-comptroller could not be greater.

Another quote by Lincoln is apropos: “If once your forfeit the confidence of your fellow citizens, you can never regain their respect and esteem.”

How true.

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