ROCHELLE – This year’s Rochelle Gratitude Award went to both an organization and an individual that have helped make an impact in the lives of many people in need within the community.
This year’s recipient of the award was the Rochelle Christian Food Pantry and Jennie O’Rorke, the board president of the Rochelle Christian Food Pantry. O’Rorke and the food pantry were announced as this year’s recipients directly following the annual Lighted Christmas Parade in front of Rochelle City Hall Friday night.
Rochelle Mayor John Bearrows explained that O’Rorke deserved the award for the amount of dedication she puts into helping the community and everyone living in it.
“Jennie has an overwhelming dedication to helping all areas of the community, but especially helping people in need,” said Bearrows. “She shows up to help, never complains and always has a smile on her face.”
Immediately following the award presentation was the lighting of the community Christmas tree in front of city hall.
When O’Rorke learned that she and the Rochelle Christian Food Pantry were chosen to be honored as the 2019 Rochelle Gratitude Award recipients she was more than surprised. She says that she does whatever she can to help out the community because she gets joy out of doing so.
“When I heard that I was chosen I was humbled, so humbled, it is a community effort and I love the community,” said O’Rorke. “If you help anyone, then that is such a joy.”
O’Rorke received a plaque with her name on it to display wherever she chooses along with having her name engraved on a plague with all the recipient’s names from years past that will be permanently displayed in city hall.
Past year’s recipients include: Lee Harris in 2010, Rochelle VFW in 2011, Rochelle Area Community Foundation in 2012, Ken Wise in 2013, From the Heart Committee in 2014, Hub city Senior Center in 2015, Dave and Deb Wyka in 2016, Rochelle Rotary Club in 2017, Dennis Swinton and Golden K in 2018.
“This town never has a problem finding someone to receive the award, but the problem is narrowing it down to one,” Bearrows added.