LINCOLN - The Lincoln Village Council awarded local businessman Rich Gillies with its annual Citizen of the Year award at the council's meeting at the village hall on Monday.
Chosen from among four nominees by a committee of five people, Gillies has lived in the village his entire life and had a hand in several local organizations. He was a member of the Downtown Development Authority, is still involved with the Lincoln Lions and the Economic Development Corp., and is the third generation in his family to own and manage Gillies Funeral Home in Lincoln. Also the chair of Lincoln's Festival of Lights committee, Gillies said he went to the council meeting expecting to give his annual presentation about the upcoming holiday festival.
"I didn't know until I came here, so I was surprised," he said. "I come around every October meeting and ask the village to support the Festival of Lights and give us a donation, and I was just told they wanted me to come here a half hour early and do my presentation, and it was to give me (the award)."
Village President Phil Jordan credited Gillies with the mode of philanthropy and teamwork that keeps the village together and on track.
"I've been here about 11 years. Everything I got involved in, everything I am involved in, or everything I think maybe I want to get involved in, Rich has either done that, is doing that - he's been there and done it," he said. "He's a guy that just keeps giving, and that's what Citizen of the Year is all about. And he does it, you can tell, because he wants to do it, and he likes being involved and doing things for the community. He's just a great man."
Gillies expects this year's Festival of Lights to build on previous years, including hay rides, carols, and more decorations, and Jordan said the council is pushing for a five-year plan to keep the festival growing.
The council unanimously agreed to donate $300 - up from the usual $200 - to the festival this year.
In other business:
Andrew Westrope can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5693.