Nearly 200 community members, local dignitaries, civic leaders, and church leaders attended Judson’s 35th Annual Community Prayer Breakfast held this morning, May 12. Attendees heard Ceitci Demirkova’s story of coming to the United States from Bulgaria with very little and relying on God’s goodness.
For the first time, Judson honored two individuals with the D. Ray Wilson Volunteer Service Award at the event. While all of the nominees for the D. Ray Wilson Award have given generously of their time and talent to the Fox Valley, two individuals’ long-term and varied service warranted special recognition. In honor of that, Judson’s selection committee recommended that Robert Langlois and Pat Szpekowski both be selected as D. Ray Wilson Award honorees.
Robert “Bob” Langlois retired from Motorola where he was Director of International Relations and served as a key liaison between Motorola’s field offices, corporate headquarters, global business communities, and diplomatic corps in Chicago. Today, he is president of ECO Advanced Technologies, which designs and markets integrated Controlled Environment Agricultural Systems. He also has contributed significantly to the community by serving for 13 years as Chair of the Elgin Zoning Commission, as a board member for Food for Greater Elgin, and as a member of the Elgin Cooperative Ministry, where he has served as Chair and Vice-chair. Bob is the treasurer for Holy Trinity Lutheran Church and is part of Holy Trinity Lutheran’s Service team, where he manages the church’s Soup Kettle. He also serves on the Police Department’s social team to help relocate those needing shelter. He served on the Library Community Board’s Census board and is often the “boots on the grounds” for many food drives and lunch programs to benefit others.
Pat Szpekowski founded her business, PR Strategies and Communications, in 1987. As president of PR Strategies, Pat became an award-winning writer for the Observer, the Catholic Diocese of Rockford’s weekly newspaper, Air Chicago Magazine as well as several other city magazines. She has served as president of the Chicago Suburban Public Relations Society Chapter and is the Immediate Past President of the Northern Illinois News Association. Throughout her career, she has generously served many nonprofits within the Fox Valley. Pat founded the networking group Women in Business, was the first female chairman of the Board for what is now the Northern Kane County Chamber of Commerce, served as Community Leadership Board Chair of Ascension Saint Joseph – Elgin for 10 years, was a member of the Elgin Community College Foundation for 18 years. She also has served on the Planning and Zoning Commission of the Village of Algonquin for the past 25 years.
Alumnus Chad Benavidez, a Judson alumnus and police officer who has volunteered in Elgin at Judson during the 2022-23 academic year, was nominated for the award. Chad has been teaching a police academy designed specifically for the RISE program for students. He also helped organize the annual Special Olympics Basketball game at Judson between the students and the Elgin Police Department.