McConnaughay spotlights every day hero, Becky Gillam, Village of West Dundee’s Community Service Award recipient
This week, Senator McConnaughay spotlights every day hero, Becky Gillam, Kane County Board Member and recipient of the Village of West Dundee’s Community Service Award.
While Gillam is widely known for her work in county government, the Village gave her special recognition for her contributions outside of the boardroom. With years of experience in horticulture, Gillam volunteered to help the Village of West Dundee with their landscaping following budget cuts that eliminated their use of vendors. She was then offered the official role of part-time landscaper for the Village to continue her work. In that time, the state reached out to the Village to participate in President Obama’s "shovel-ready" program, so Gillam led the community project to build planter boxes downtown using construction grants from the state.
Gillam wasted no time and began setting up programs to beautify the city and improve sustainability. She now plans and hosts three “Earth Days” a year in town and recruits new volunteers to get involved. The upcoming Earth Day is brush-clearing project that she planned in partnership with the Dundee Township Boys and Girls Club and Comcast.
“When I started working on the Village’s landscaping, I thought to myself, ‘I bet the community would get into this.’ So I got organizations and volunteers to step up, and I was totally amazed at the result,” said Gillam.
One of Gillam’s goals is to build up the natural landscape along the river. To begin work on the project, she began collecting donations of plant materials from area residents, including plants, seeds, mulch and more. She now operates a plant nursery at her home and at Public Works
“This program has probably brought in $25,000 in plant material,” said Gillam. “I can honestly say almost all of the perennials you see along the Riverwalk have been donated by our community.”
Additionally, she belongs to New Friends and Neighbors for West Dundee, which welcomes new and established residents by providing volunteer opportunities that introduces them to other members of the community. She is also a longtime member of the Dundee Township Backyard Garden Club, and in her free time, she volunteers for Heritage Fest, the Halloween Party and Dickens In Dundee every year.
Gillam shows just as much dedication toward her public service as well. Prior to being elected to the Kane County Board in 2013, she served on the West Dundee Village Board for six years. Even following the transition, Gillam continued to sit on the Village’s CUSD 300 Construction and Facilities Oversight Committee . At the County, she serves as Co-Chair of the Jobs Committee and a member of the Transportation Committee.
“Becky has a gift for bringing the community together to create results that everyone can enjoy,” said Senator McConnaughay. “My district office is in West Dundee. I must say the work she and all the volunteers have done with the river is so impressive. I can’t wait to see how else she develops our landscape.”
Senator McConnaughay thanks Gillam for her dedicated community service in West Dundee and leadership in Kane County.