Mt. Vernon Register-News

March 20, 2013

Chamber of Commerce awards honors


MT. VERNON — — Richard Straetor, Dwayn Klein and Ron Kruep are being honored by the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce.

Straetor has been chosen as the 2013 Citizen of the Year; Klein has been chosen for the Small Businessperson of the Year Award; and Kruep is being honored posthumously with the President's Award.

Straetor was chosen among the nominees in recognition of his many activities within the community.

"Richard is very active in his faith, his community and helping others," said Brett Hull, vice president of the Past President's Council. "He was chosen for the Citizen of the Year Award because of his activity with the community, the Mt. Vernon Rotary Club, United Way, Habitat for Humanity and the Lifeboat Alliance Shelter. These organizations, among many others he has worked behind the scenes daily with all of them, and made Richard an obvious choice for this honor. He, along with his wife Rose, have been active in this community since April of 2002, and even upon his retirement from Continental Resources, Richard and Rose continue to serve here in Mt. Vernon."

Straetor honored his wife for working alongside him in the community. He also said it was gratifying to see the community come together to support the Lifeboat Alliance shelter.

"I'm honored today, but the praise and glory go to our Lord and Savior," Straetor said.

Klein, the owner of Mt. Vernon TV and Appliance has shown staying power in the community, according to Paul Lynch, vice president of the Small Business Council.

"Dwayn, or Dewey as he is known to the community, has demonstrated staying power, being in business for 33 years, from a small store on Tenth Street, through several different locations, to the Gallery on Broadway, where a 10,000 square-foot Mt. Vernon TV and Appliance is today," Lynch said. "Dwayn takes pride in his store, offering friendly, courteous service and is the first to stand behind his products. He has lived in and been an active part of the community for 33 years, and takes pride in his staff made up of local employees. Dwayn Klein's name will go on the long list of 'Who's Who' among local businesses since this award was established in 1894."

Kruep's award was accepted by his daughter, Holly.

"Ron Kruep's passing in August of 2012 shook the community and all of his friends and family," said Brandon Bullard, executive director of the chamber. "Ron was a visionary and a leader in the oil and gas industry for 50 years, owning and operating several businesses, his own environmental company, his own oil company, many Burger Kings and over 20 Ron's One Stops all throughout Southern Illinois.

"Ron was a true business man who loved his family and faith above all, and he was a mentor to many. The President's Council chose to honor Ron posthumously for all his leadership and long-standing commitment to his employees, whom he treated like family, his numerous contributions to his community, and most notably, his legacy he leaves behind."

Holly Kruep, president of Karco, Inc., said she didn't expect to be so emotional on accepting the award on behalf of her father.

"On the way here I saw the Drury development happening, and that is just one of the many, many projects my father was behind," Kruep said. "He built things. It makes me very proud that the town he lived in, worked in and cared about ... honors him."

The three will officially receive their awards during the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce Annual Banquet, which will be held April 5 at the Holiday Inn. Social hour will be at 5:30 p.m. and dinner will start at 6:30 p.m.