COLLINSVILLE – The annual Collinsville Chamber of Commerce Small Business of the Year and Corporate Awards recognizes and honors businesses who have contributed to the Collinsville community through their business operations and community involvement.

The 2016 Small Business of the Year Award was given to Code 3 Spices at 302 E Main St. Business owners Chris Bohnemeier and Mike Radosevich joined together to create a BBQ competition team.

The Code 3 Spices team has won multiple awards including 4 grand championships in BBQ competitions. Accolades include: Parade Magazine ‘Best Gifts that Give Back’ 2015, Feast Magazine – Feast Fave 2015, Voted #1 BBQ gift 2014 and first place BBQ Sauce National BBQ News in 2016.

“It’s one of those things where I grew up in this town so I take a lot of pride bringing our passion in what we do back to the community I grew up in,” Code 3 founder Mike Radosevich said.

Code 3 does not only provide award winning sauces and spices to over 1000 stores nationwide, they share a great passion for giving back to the men and women who serve as first responders and in military services.

“50 cents of every bottle purchased is contributed to Backstoppers, SafeCall Now and military organizations,” Chamber of Commerce president Jason Rehg said.

The 2016 Corporate Citizen of the Year Award was presented to Laura Buick GMC at 903 N Bluff Rd.

Over the past several years a new growth strategy has catapulted Laura GMC to the second leading dealer in the nation in terms of sales volume,” chamber member Dianne Riley said.

Laura Buick GMC’s generosity and contributions were a key factor in choosing the group for this year’s Corporate Citizen of the Year.

“They are major sponsors of Italian Fest 5K Run, Piasan Pedal Push (Italian Fest Midnight bike ride benefitting Relay for Life), Horseradish Festival 5K Run and the 5-O 5K,” Riley said.

It’s very humbling and an unexpected honor. It’s something that represents 35+ years of being in business in Collinsville,” Laura Buick GMC president Jack Anderson said.

The 2016 Progress in Action Award was presented to the Gateway Center at 1 Gateway Dr by the Collinsville Progress organization.

The award is presented to an organization, group, business, or individual, who has made an outstanding contribution to promote progress in the City of Collinsville.

One event that made the conference center stand out is the annual Festival of Trees gala which allows local non-for-profit organizations the opportunity to raise funds for ongoing and new community based projects.

Collinsville Progress is the community development/beautification arm of the Collinsville Chamber of Commerce.  The purpose of Collinsville Progress is to make the Collinsville community more attractive and appealing to potential business and residents and to sponsor projects for the improvement and enjoyment of its citizens.

The 2016 Teacher of the Year Award was presented to Collinsville High School social studies teacher, Barbara Lindauer.

“The Collinsville Chamber of Commerce awards the Teacher of the Year to recognize the important contributions that teachers make to our community,”  chamber member Jeri-Lynn Crafton said.

“Their efforts are a critical component in shaping the community culture today and influence the workforce for tomorrow,” she said.

This is the second time Barbara Lindauer has been the recipient of the Teacher of the Year award, the first being in 2001.

I’m humbled, I think there are so many equally qualified teachers out there,” Lindauer said.

The reception of the award has motivated Lindauer to nominate someone for the award next year.

“This motivates me to nominate someone next year because there are teachers out there that are as worthy as I am,” Lindauer said.

Barbara Lindauer is the advisor for the Model United Nations team, Multicultural Kahoks, and is part of a team who has recently gained Collinsville High School a  Illinois Democracy recognition.

“We are going to be building a veterans memorial at the flagpole on the high school lawn next,” Lindauer said.

“The community will have something to connect them to the high school and students and students can recognize and remember that we have a debt of gratitude to all of the veterans out there,” she said.

Students and staff made the following video for the 2016 Teacher of the Year recipient.

The 2016 Collinsville Police Officer of the Year Award was presented to Officer Mike Brown.

“The award is presented for [Brown’s] overall standard of character and conduct exhibited both on and off duty,” chamber member Donna Green said.

“Not only is Officer Brown a highly professional and motivated officer who embraces the mission of the Collinsville Police Department but he has become a leader and a mentor both within and outside the department,” Sgt. Ray Rowland said.

Brown is commended as one of the best trainers that the Collinsville Police Department has according to Major Rich Wittenauer.

“Mike is one of the best trainers that the Collinsville Police Department has. It’s his vision to see that all officers are trained properly so they do their job as safely as possible,” Wittenauer said.

Brown has also reached out to local businesses and has helped them train to have a safer workplace environment.

“He’s constantly trying to keep the police officers safer on the street and has recently branched out from his training and has trained business owners and citizens on how to have a safer workplace,” Wittenauer said.

The award is based on performance and does not take into consideration an officer’s rank or tenure.  

I really don’t know what to think about receiving the award, I was not expecting it,” Brown said.

The 2016 Collinsville Fire Fighter of the Year Award was presented to Joseph Benker.

“Firefighter Benker has been a relief paramedic on numerous life saving emergencies,” Collinsville Fire Department captain Dave Meadows said.

Benker’s knowledge of fire equipment has provided to be a valuable asset to the fire department.

“Firefighter Benker has extensive knowledge and past experience in the field of fire truck specifications, and his understanding of fire apparatus’,  provided the department and the citizens of Collinsville the very best for our needs,” Meadows said.

The award is based on performance and does not take into consideration an officer’s rank or tenure.

“It’s so awesome, I’ve only been on for two years and for someone that grew up here to get the job of a lifetime, helping the community I grew up in, it’s fantastic,” Benker said.

The 2016 Spirit of Excellence Award recipient was presented to Leah Joyce.

The Chamber of Commerce Spirit of Excellence Award was established to honor those Collinsville women and men who contribute to our community through their achievements,” Chamber president Jason Rehg said.

“Our recipient started at the community beginning making people of our community believe in what Collinsville was over a century ago when Mississippian people populated the area,” he said.

Joyce served as the executive director of Cahokia Mounds Historical Site from 2005 through 2010.

“She used the knowledge of this past culture, at what we now know as Cahokia Mounds, to attract visitors from all over the world to our Collinsville,” he said.

Joyce’s efforts for the renovation of the Uptown Collinsville district and the Miner’s theater also provided a strong impact in the community.

“She then moved on to making people believe in the restoration of our Uptown Collinsville and transformed the core of our community into a vibrant place that we are all proud of,” Rehg said.

“I am genuinely surprised and honored; looking back at the past recipients I am humbled that I have received the same award as them,” Greenfield, Ill., native Leah Joyce said.