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Guests celebrated 12 volunteers on Monday afternoon during the 40th Annual Beloit Daily News Volunteer Recognition Luncheon held at The Rock Bar & Grill’s outdoor pavilion.

BELOIT — The community’s most dedicated servants were honored Monday afternoon during the 40th Annual Beloit Daily News Volunteer Recognition Luncheon.

Thanks to generous partners, the awardees were recognized along Beloit’s scenic riverfront at The Rock Bar & Grill’s outdoor pavilion with entertainment provided by the Beloit Memorial High School Jazz Orchestra’s combo.

Due to COVID-19, the event originally set for April at the Butterfly Club was postponed. Thanks to the outdoor amenities and pavilion available at The Rock, the Daily News was able to offer a safe tribute event with social distancing, masks and limited attendance.

Volunteers receiving awards included: April 2019, Tracy Schoville; May 2019, Lois Ferrera; June 2019, Betty Johnston; July 2019, Marty Densch; August 2019, Dalton Hansen; September 2019, Chuck Gilbert; October 2019, Pat Wicks; November 2019, Ron Whitley; December 2019, Jim Cooper; January 2020, Wayne Crawford; February 2020, Carol Fryar; and March 2020, Tom Holmes.

The Volunteer Recognition Program (VRP) included remarks by Editor Bill Barth and Senior Writer and VRP Program Coordinator Hillary Gavan. Barth handed each awardee a plaque featuring their story which appeared in the newspaper.

Sponsors for the 2020 program were: Exclusive level, Beloit Health System, Blackhawk Bank and Culver’s of Beloit; Front Page level, Mid-States Concrete, Ace Hardware, Tricor Insurance and North American Tool; Newsmaker level, Finley Buick GMC and United Way, Blackhawk Region.

Volunteers for the VRP program are chosen by the Nomination Committee which meets quarterly to vote on the candidates. Those who wish to make suggestions for worthy candidates can contact a VRP committee member or request a nomination form from Gavan at hgavan@beloitdailynews.com.

VRP Nomination Committee members include: Joel Otto, Robin Stuht, Monica Krysztopa, Rick West, Pat Foster and Marcy Reedy.

The VRP was started 40 years ago by the late William D. Behling, former publisher of the Beloit Daily News. Since that time, a volunteer has been named each month for his or her extraordinary community volunteer efforts.