On Aug. 17, we used the occasion of Preservation Weekend to try something new.
We celebrated our annual award-winners and thanked our 400-plus annual volunteers. This is the first year we offset this celebration to its own night.
We invited all of our volunteers and recognized them for the years and types of service they've performed. We recognized longtime members (fact: there are nearly 90 households who joined in the 1990s and are still members).
Then, we turned the microphone over to Board President Heidi Drake to give our three biggest volunteer awards of the year.
Those awards were presented to:
* Frank Fetch Award: "Schiller Park Across Time"
The Frank Fetch Award is the German Village Society's highest honor, and it typically recognizes the exemplary service contributions of an individual.
This year a group of volunteers is being recognized. Their accomplishments embody and carry forward Frank Fetch's example of dedication and commitment to this community.
As a team, these individuals produced and published "Schiller Park Across Time," a 188-page book full of works of art and photographs that document the hub of our community for more than 150 years.
The enthusiastic leader of this group, the organizer, motivator and author Katharine Moore. Her dedication to German Village is exemplary, starting with serving as the executive director of the Society for 13 years, starting in 1995 and since leaving her paid position, she has served as the chairwoman of the Friends of Schiller Park.
Drawing on her diverse community of friends and colleagues, Katharine formed a collaborative of enthusiastic, dedicated workers.
Others recognized for their work on the book include John and Jan Clark, Ann Lilly, Melinda Sadar, Jeff Stahler, Connie Swain, Terry Sherburn, Larry Hamill and Bob and Carol Mullinax.
* Village Valuable Award: Jeff Lowe
When there's a signature event in German Village, you'll often find Jeff Lowe orchestrating the details behind the scenes to make it a success.
Jeff has been ambitiously leading Art Crawl and Village Lights for eight years, and he also helped to plan the Pet Parade in the past.
He continually strives to be thoughtful and make each event that he leads better. You can see little ways he's left his mark through added details, such as the new bier garten during Village Lights.
"I love the satisfaction of a job well done and sense of accomplishment." Jeff says of the events. "Sometimes I see them and think 'Wow, this is what we put together.' "
He is also quick to credit his husband, Greg Gamier (they've been together for 34 years), for his support and teamwork in working hard to pull off the events together.
* Fred & Howard Award: Bonnie Drummond and Karen Peters
The Fred & Howard Award recognizes individuals who are true ambassadors of German Village and who effectively spread the message about German Village.
For more than 10 years, Bonnie Drummond and Karen Peters have been the friendly faces visitors would encounter on stopping by the German Village Visitors Center on Tuesday afternoons.
Karen's favorite part of each Tuesday afternoon is the social aspect of her job both spending time with Bonnie and greeting guests.
She enjoys getting to meet and talk with many different people.
Similarly, Bonnie loved the two of them having fun together and getting to know a lot of new people.
Both women were honored to receive the award for their work, and knew Fred and Howard personally.
German Village Society owes a huge debt of gratitude to our award-winners.
German Village Society Executive Director Shiloh Todorov submitted the Village Notebook column .