Quincyan receives National Exchange Club highest honor

By  Herald-Whig

Posted: Oct. 21, 2017 10:35 pm Updated: Oct. 21, 2017 11:20 pm

QUINCY — Quincy Exchange Club member Dennis Koch has been inducted into the National Exchange Club Court of Honor.

Koch is the first Quincyan and one of only a handful of Illinoisans to receive the honor — the highest recognition an Exchange Club member may achieve. Koch and fellow inductee, Joe Nickels, were the 108th and 109th members to enter the Court of Honor in the Exchange Club’s 106-year history.

“I’ve been attending these ceremonies for a while,” Koch said, “but I never thought my name would be up there.”

Koch’s sons, Jason and Joel, spent almost a year compiling an extensive nomination for their father. Having nominated others in the past, Koch was “blown away” to be included in the “exclusive club.”

Koch has been an Exchange Club member for 25 years, first joining in 1980 when he was 21. After briefly stepping away from the club, he returned and has been a member for the past 21 years. He has held positions at the local, district and national levels. Koch has served for the last five years on the National Foundation Board and is currently the Region 3 vice president, serving Exchange Clubs in Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, North Dakota and South Dakota. He has served once as vice president and twice as president of the Exchange Club National Foundation Board.

Koch’s name was inscribed on one of the seven granite monuments in the Exchange Club’s Court of Honor courtyard in Toledo, Ohio, where the induction ceremony was held Oct. 14. Among the other names on the stone is Charles Berkey, Exchange Club founder.

“You look at the list of people on there,” Koch said, “and I’m still not sure I deserve to be up there with them.”

Koch credits his mother and father, who were both active in civic groups and service clubs, with fueling his interest in community service. Early on, an Exchange Club speaker changed the way he looked at life. By defining the difference between being innocent and not guilty, the speaker encouraged listeners to take an active approach to life.

“Instead of looking at what I can do to get by, look at what I can do to help,” Koch said. “It’s made me a better person.”

Exchange Club seeking nominations for Golden Deeds award

Posted: Mar. 12, 2017 12:01 am
Quincy Exchange Club is giving people an opportunity to recognize someone who has
been a selfless volunteer or has worked tirelessly on behalf of the community.
The club will present its 65th annual Golden Deeds award during a luncheon May 12 at the Elk’s Club. The club is accepting nominations through April 7.
The Book of Golden Deeds is the most distinguished award the Exchange Club presents each year.
Jack Mackenzie was the recipient of the Golden Deeds award last year. Since he stepped aside as the
men’s soccer coach at Quincy University in 2012, Mackenzie has been active in helping coach soccer
with the local Special Olympics group. He has volunteered his time with the Quincy Spirit group at
Blessed Sacrament Parish and has helped deliver meals to those in need as a member of the St. Vincent
DePaul Society.
Past recipients have made a positive impact in various ways on the lives of many people in Quincy. The
award is called the Book of Golden Deeds because letters, written on behalf of the recipient by those who
have firsthand knowledge of their efforts, are placed in a book and forever documented.
“The Book of Golden Deeds is my favorite Exchange Club program, because there is something special
about saying thank you to someone who never requires a thank you and is honestly humbled by the
recognition we honor them with,” Exchange Club member Rick Gengenbacher said.
Committee Chairman Cullan Duke says the nomination process is important because people who earn
the award are typically so humble they downplay their own activities.
“This is our opportunity to honor some of the area’s most giving people who continue to do good deeds
on a daily basis,” Duke said. “Recognition is not why the recipients of this award do what they do, but
they certainly deserve some recognition.”
Nominees may be anyone who has made Quincy a better place to work and live. They may be the
individuals who lead a worthy cause, or they may quietly go about their volunteer efforts behind the
Nominations may be made by visiting whig.com and clicking on either the Home link or the
Community link at the top of the home page, then click on the Golden Deeds link. Nominations also
may be made by letter sent to Golden Deeds Award, P.O. Box 1163, Quincy, IL 62306, or by email to
Duke at dcd@klingner.com. Include your name and the name of the nominee along with the deed or
deeds on which the nomination is based. For more information, visit

Sheriff’s deputy surprised by Exchange Club’s annual officer honor

By Matt Hopf Herald-Whig
Posted: Feb. 24, 2017 10:15 pm Updated: Feb. 24, 2017 11:46 pm
Tommy Pickett was at a loss for words.
In front of a standing ovation Friday at the Quincy Elks Club, the 23year
veteran of the Adams County
Sheriff’s Department accepted the Law Enforcement Officer of the Year award from the Quincy
Exchange Club. This is the 51st year the club has given the award out.
“I didn’t realize this was going on,” said Pickett, who is currently assigned to the West Central Illinois
Task Force. “This is awesome. I love my job, and I love going to work.”
He thanked his wife, Michele, and their two kids, Thomas Jr. and Hannah, who attended Friday’s
“If I didn’t have my wife, I couldn’t do the job I do,” Pickett said. “I work all kinds of hours, but I love it.
I love working with all the guys and gals here. They deserve it just as much as I do.”
He was happy to see the task force recognized because much of its work is behind the scenes.
Pickett joined the Sheriff’s Department in 1994 as a correctional officer. He became a deputy in 2000,
and since 2005, he has served as an inspector with the task force and an investigator at the Sheriff’s
Sheriff Brian VonderHaar said that in 2016 alone, Pickett opened more than 50 felony drug cases and
has made more than 30 arrests involving drug activity. He is regularly known to work after hours and
late into the evening to work with confidential informants and investigate cases.
“His work has not only resulted in dangerous drug arrests, his work has also been important in
identifying dangerous or neglectful living environments for the children who live in the households with
those struggling with dangerous drug addiction,” VonderHaar said.
Looking forward, Pickett said the investigations will continue.
“Meth is still the biggest problem we have,” he said. “Since New Year’s, it’s been nonstop.”
Also awarded Friday was the Citizen of the Year award, which went to Rhonda Murry.
Murry was lauded for her work with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, where she
administers support programs in five counties to improve outcomes for children. She and her husband,
Rocky, lead the Quincy Neighborhood Federation, which operates three neighborhood youth centers.
The organization is funded solely by private funds.
“I alone do not deserve this award,” Murry said. “We have a fantastic board for Quincy Area Project,
which supports us financially for the last 30 years.”
She also thanked her “sidekick,” Rocky.

Mayor presents State of the City at Exchange Club

By Doug Wilson Herald-Whig
Posted: Feb. 17, 2017 11:17 am Updated: Feb. 17, 2017 11:59 am
QUINCY — Mayor Kyle Moore told members of the Exchange Club on Friday that the city is “shining
brighter than ever before.”
Moore, 36, became mayor in 2013 and listed several improvements in city finances during his fourth
annual state of the city speech.
He said the general fund budget for fiscal 2014 when he took office had $31.8 million of planned
expenses while projecting only $30 million in revenue. He said reserves were forecast to go from $3
million at the beginning of that fiscal year to $1.2 million by the end.
In contrast, he said this year’s budget has $33.15 million in expenses and $33.2 million in revenue,
creating a $49,000 surplus.
“Our reserves are now at $5.7 million, which is 62 days worth of operating expenses,” Moore said.
Part of those savings is attributed to reforms in the city’s health insurance program. City workers now
go to an employee clinic operated under contract by Quincy Medical Group.
“Their efforts not only saved us from a $650,000 increase in our premiums for 2015, but realized a
$400,000 reduction in our health insurance costs last year,” Moore said.
Workers’ compensation costs have declined as claims have fallen. Claims in 2012 were $630,000, then
rose to $720,000 in 2013 and to $1.1 million in 2014. Claims in 2015 dropped to $445,000 and then fell
again in 2016 to $152,000.
“The result for taxpayers — today our workers’ compensation premiums are projected to be less
expensive than it was in 2014,” Moore said.
The mayor also touted a pair of spending programs as important investments in the city’s longterm
financial health.
Moore said that he announced plans in 2014 to boost infrastructure spending. The city council adopted
a fiveyear
comprehensive infrastructure plan and has updated it each year. Moore said the city spent
$6.6 million on capital projects — mostly street, sewer and sidewalk projects — from 2012 to 2014, while
the investment in capital projects has been $13 million from 2015 to 2017. Among the recent
investments was the city’s first new water pump station in more than 50 years.
Moore said the city’s $4.2 million buyin
for space in the new Adams County Jail, with construction
starting this year, is a wise investment “which provides the city significant savings from building a new
facility on our own.” He said having Quincy Police Department offices next to those of the Adams
County Sheriff’s Department also will help the law enforcement agencies work together.
In addition, Moore said “the council partnered with Chief (Rob) Copley to move more sworn officers
from behind a desk and onto the streets.”
Last year, Moore and Copley unveiled the Quincy Turn Around Partnership designed to identify people
in the community who are likely to commit violent crime and give them a chance to reform and improve
their lives or face tougher penalties if they’re caught committing a crime. The antiviolence
initiative is
modeled after Peoria’s Don’t Shoot initiative, which brings possible troublemakers in for facetoface
meetings and engagement with service agencies.
Quincy Fire Department changes also were highlighted. Moore said an automatic mutual aid agreement
with the TriTownship
Fire Department went into effect last year. Under the new system, Quincy fire
crews join TriTownship
firefighters in response to building fires confirmed in certain areas. The goal is
to have TriTownship
to help out at certain sites in the city and QFD crews to help out at sites that are
outside city limits, but closer to city fire stations than to TriTownship’s
station on 54th Street.
Fire Chief Joe Henning also is expected to report within a few months on efforts to find the best
locations for fire stations and a sustainable model for department staffing.
Moore reminded Exchange Club members of his early support for what is now known as Quincy
Promise. The privately funded program lets graduating Quincy high school students stay in town and enroll in classes or technical training for high demand local jobs.
The program is a joint effort among John Wood Community College, the Great River Economic
Development Foundation, the Community Foundation Serving Western Illinois and Northeast Missouri,
and local public and private high schools. Businesses that have supported the program include
Knapheide Manufacturing, Phibro Animal Health, Titan International, Blessing Hospital and Quincy
Medical Group.
Moore also listed business expansions and new construction projects occurring in Quincy. He linked
many of those expansions to the 2016 renewal of the QuincyAdams
County Enterprise
Zone incentive program. 

Mays, speaking to Exchange Club, says system upgrades at IDES saving state millions

By Doug Wilson Herald-Whig
Posted: Jan. 20, 2017 12:01 am Updated: Jan. 20, 2017 11:22 pm
Illinois state agency director said system upgrades now underway will save the state
hundreds of millions of dollars a year.
Jeff Mays, a Quincy resident who heads the Illinois Department of Employment Security, told members
of the Quincy Exchange Club on Friday that modernization and computerization efforts are flagging
fraudulent unemployment claims and are projected to protect at least $120 million each year.
“This is the biggest untold story of the (Gov. Bruce) Rauner administration. This is happening in state
government, and almost nobody knows about it,” Mays said.
IDES is requiring that all employers with at least 25 workers are going to have to file monthly reports
that list their employees. Previously the reports were made quarterly and went to the U.S. Department of
Labor before they were returned to the state agency.
“We would crossreference
the names on the list, but by the time we found out someone was working
somewhere, we had already paid them unemployment insurance claims,” Mays said.
That part of the upgrade alone is expected to save $87 million a year for the unemployment trust fund.
A switch to online filing for unemployment claims also is reducing fraud because it matches up with
computer systems. It also requires that people signing up for unemployment fill out a job registration,
helping assure that filers care about getting another job. That system also can more easily spot people
filing under assumed names or with stolen identities and is expected to save $39 million a year.
About $10 million in savings is expected by streamlining the collection of unemployment insurance
payments into the Illinois Department of Revenue instead of through IDES.
“We’re going to have the best, newest, most robust” online portal with the Department of Revenue
starting in September, Mays said.
Employers who already use the Department of Revenue site to pay corporate taxes will find similar links
to allow them to pay unemployment insurance.
Mays said his agency also will replace a payroll system that has been around since 1975 with a modern
“Not only will this overhaul our payroll system, but it will overhaul accounting, budgeting and human
resources,” Mays said.
Another new website operated by IDES is specially designed to walk high school students through
decisions about their future. The Learn More Earn More site and a career info portal let students see
what different jobs pay, what it costs to live in different communities, and the cost of utilities and other
living expenses.
IDES now has a staff of about 1,100 people. Mays said that is down from about 1,800 employees just a
few years ago.
He said the smaller staff still “touches the lives” of about 600,000 unemployment claimants each year
and 350,000 employers who file quarterly reports.
Mays, a former Illinois House member, also said he is encouraged that the Illinois Senate is seeking a
solution to the state budget impasse.

Special Olympics basketball event set for Saturday at QU

By David Adam Herald-Whig
Posted: Dec. 3, 2016 12:01 am
teams from WestCentral
Illinois will be at the Quincy University Health and Fitness
Center on Saturday for a Special Olympics basketball tournament.
Approximately 150 athletes and 50 coaches and chaperones are expected to participate. Teams are
coming from Area 11, which consists of the most western counties in Illinois.
Games will start at 9:30 a.m., and the final game will be played at 2:30 p.m. The Exchange Club of
Quincy is the host of the event, and several club members will be volunteering as officials and
Heather Davis, Area 11 director, says teams are coming to Quincy to help qualify for district
competition. Teams must have at least three scores submitted to participate in district tournaments in
January, and the teams playing in the Quincy event are guaranteed at least two scores.
Davis says players of all ages and skills with a wide range of disabilities will be on the courts Saturday.
“When our athletes start in basketball, they’ll practice skills like shooting and dribbling, and then they
can join a team,” she said. “Some people use basketball to simply learn the rules, or maybe for social
interaction or to get used to competition.”
Teams are grouped by ability, and the groups have no age cap.
“You may see someone quite a bit older against someone younger, but their practice averages are about
the same,” Davis said.
Davis said the Quincy Public School system is developing a Special Olympics team this year. The team
practices on Monday nights at St. Boniface School.
“If you have a child who wants to play but is not part of a school system that has a team, I can put you
in touch with the nearest county team,” Davis said.
A group of Quincy University students called QU Hawks for Special Olympics will be volunteering on
Saturday as well.
“They support our events, and a lot of our athletes love it,” Davis said. “Our athletes come with so many
challenges, and they play their hearts out, and it reminds us to play our hearts out in everything we do,
“There’s a lot of inspiration that people walk away with.”

Exchange Club’s 1000 flag Field of Honor to be displayed at JWCC

By Matt Dutton Herald-Whig
Posted: Nov. 6, 2016 12:05 am
Exchange Club will soon resurrect its annual 1,000 flag Field of Honor.
The tradition will be transplanted at John Wood Community College this year, due to construction at its
traditional site, the Illinois Veterans Home. The display will be up from Friday through Nov. 14.
“It literally makes the hair stand on the back of my neck. It is pretty cool, when you get 1,000 flags
whipping in the wind,” said Flags of Honor Chairman Art Awerkamp. “It’s about getting back to the
reason for it all, honoring veterans.”
The flags displayed in the Field of Honor are rented out to citizens and displayed on their lawns four
different times over the course of a year through the Exchange Club’s Flags of Honor program. The
program serves as a fundraiser for Quincy Exchange Club, allowing the organization to continue
promoting and supporting various veterans programs in the community.
“Everybody is very receptive to it and seems very appreciative,” Awerkamp said. “There were guys who
had been members of the Exchange Club for 30 years that came up to me that first year we did it and
said this is the coolest thing we’ve ever done.”
The display’s power far exceeds the hours of labor required to erect it.
“Veterans seem very appreciative of it, all of them. They are all pretty humble. That’s what I’ve noticed. ”
Awerkamp said. “They will come up and talk to you, and they don’t want a lot of fanfare, but they
appreciate the effort to recognize what they did.”
All are welcome to witness the spectacle firsthand.
Awerkamp suggests attending at night, as the
spotlights on the field amplify the effect of the display.
“People will pull up on a motorcycle and get that perfect shot,” Awerkamp said. “People can stop by
Friday afternoon after work if they want to.”
For more information visit qflags.
com or Quincy Flags of Honor on Facebook.

Quincy firefighter named Firefighter of the Year by Exchange Club

By Matt Hopf Herald-Whig
Posted: Oct. 21, 2016 5:40 pm
Scott Lucey is not known for seeking the spotlight, and Friday was no different.
As the highlights of his career with the Quincy Fire Department were read aloud at the Quincy Exchange
Club meeting at the Elk’s Club, Lucey thought about finding a way out.
“I was thinking I got to get out of here,” Lucey said.
Lucey, who joined the department in 1996, received the Firefighter of the Year award from the club.
“His fire chief (Joe Henning) states that he has always found our recipient to be skilled, knowledgeable,
professional, compassionate and reliable,” said Exchange Club member Carlos Fernandez. “When there
is a need to identify an officer that can be relied upon to get things done, his name is one of the first that
comes to mind.
“He is not someone that seeks out attention. He just simply works hard, leads by example, and gives the
citizens of Quincy a great return on their investment.”
Lucey has served as a member of the department’s dive team and the hazardous materials team, as well
as serving as one of the designated airport firefighters. He is a shift training coordinator.
He thanked the club for the award and gave praise to the Quincy Fire Department.
“When you work on such a professional and welltrained
department like ours is, I find it really
humbling to receive this award,” he said.
Lucey was joined by his wife, Jill, and younger son, Jack. His oldest son, Blake, is a student at Missouri
State University.
He plans to continue working as he does every shift with his crew.
“I have a lot of guys that have my back, and they know I have their back,” Lucey said. “You couldn’t ask
for more. It’s one big strong family.”

218 Flags Find a Home

This past Labor Day was the final time flags will be placed at homes during this calendar year for the Flags of Honor program.

With the help of the QHS Football team the flags went up at dawn and down just before dusk. All 1000 flags will be going up again this year in Honor of Veterans Day 11/11.

More info to come on that. Sign up now for a flag in your yard by clicking the flag banner at the top right of this page.


Panoramic Flags

Exchange Club Announces Grants to Local Charities

The Board of Directors of the Quincy Exchange Club are proud to announce two recent contributions to local charities. A grant of $5,000 was made to Cornerstone Foundation for Families to assist in the prevention of child abuse in the Quincy area. Since 1979, child abuse prevention has been the National Project of the Exchange Club. In that time, more than 700,000 families and 1.75 million children have been assisted by Exchange Clubs across the United States. By partnering with local organizations, such as Cornerstone, Exchange strives to create a safer environment for our at-risk children by using effective prevention strategies to eliminate child abuse in our community.

The Quincy Exchange Club also made a $500 contribution to the Quincy Area Alzheimer’s Association for the 2016 Walk to End Alzheimer’s event on September 10. Many of us have family or have known individuals with Alzheimer’s, including some of our former members, so our contribution to this endeavor was a natural fit.

These are just the latest contributions made to the community during the year to make Quincy a better place to live, work and play. Our contributions are made possible by the generous contributions to our major fundraising efforts – the Gus Macker 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament, our Flags of Honor program and the Believe in the Blue campaign.