Judson University Honors D. Ray Wilson Award Recipient Mary Rees Freeman at Annual Prayer Breakfast
(Elgin, IL - May 8, 2013) More than 300 local volunteers and civic leaders gathered at Judson University on Wednesday morning, May 8, for the institution’s annual community prayer breakfast.
The morning's festivities began with the announcement of this year's winner of the D. Ray Wilson Award, Mary Rees Freeman. She has served on the boards and in volunteer positions for Altrusa International Club of Elgin for 10 years, Elgin; on the board and as past president of the Village of South Elgin Parks and Recreation Commissioner; on the board and as past president for the YWCA in Elgin for 13 years; as a volunteer for the Soup Kettle and Emergency Shelter Committee for the Elgin Cooperative Ministries for 15 years. She also has served on the board of the League of Women Voters, as PTO Board Officer at Kimball Middle School and PTO secretary at Willard Elementary School. She has received the Woman of the Year award from Elgin Jr. Woman’s Club, Rookie of the Year Nomination from Altrusa International and Exceptional Community Project Volunteer for Epworth Church. In addition to these roles, she also has served as the Aquatics Director for Fox River Country Day School in Elgin and the ESL Coordinator and Senior and Wellness Program Coordinator for YWCA Elgin.
"Freeman has been described by friends and colleagues as an inspiration and burst of energy, as someone who is always willing to jump in with both feet and provide the resources needed to get a job done," said Ed Hunter, announcing Freeman as the winner. Hunter was the 2012 recipient of the D. Ray Wilson Award.
The D. Ray Wilson Award is given annually to the candidate who has contributed to the greater good within the Fox Valley community by voluntarily serving others' physical, emotional, intellectual or spiritual needs. In remembrance of his faithful service to the greater Elgin community, the award was named for Fox Valley civic leader and event founder D. Ray Wilson, who passed away in 2003. Judson's annual community prayer breakfast was first established by D. Ray Wilson in 1989.
Four other well-known volunteers of the Fox Valley were nominated for the award, including Brian Borkowicz, Tricia Dieringer, John William Kennedy, and Susan Moylan.
Judson alumnus and lead singer of the Christian band Citizen Way Ben Calhoun led the audience in worship with songs and prayer for the morning's festivities. Citizen Way released their new album, "Love is the Evidence" two weeks ago, and its debut has already topped Christian music charts.
Judson University's new President Dr. Gene C. Crume Jr. delivered the keynote address, speaking on the importance of building relationships in order to build a strong community. His remarks served as an apt reminder for the university as it celebrates 50 years since its establishment in Elgin and the relationships it has established in the Fox Valley over the last five decades.
Dr. Crume joins Judson University this spring as the institution’s sixth university president. Before coming to Judson, Dr. Crume served as an independent consultant working with institutions such as Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota and the Peru State College Foundation (Nebraska) on issues related to external relations and strategic planning. Dr. Crume spent a significant portion of his career at his alma mater, Western Kentucky University, where he served as the Executive Director of the WKU Alumni Association and taught as an adjunct instructor. He has also served as a keynote speaker at college commencements, leadership seminars and association meetings. Dr. Crume has authored articles for national magazines, newspapers and academic journals.
See Judson's slideshow of photos from the Prayer Breakfast.