MT. VERNON — The city has received the highest award in the state during the 31st Annual Governor's Hometown Awards.
The award comes after Mt. Vernon won a Governor's Hometown Award for the Lifeboat Alliance homeless shelter project. The project was one of six Hometown Award winners in the running for the Governor's Cup Award.
"I'm so excited," said Mayor Mary Jane Chesley. "It's just an honor for the city of Mt. Vernon."
The award was given to the project, which had already received a Hometown Award in the volunteerism category. Hometown Award winners receive a plaque and a road sign for its community — the Governor's Cup winner receives the traveling trophy and a unique road sign that proclaims its status as the overall winner.
"It just shows what residents of Mt. Vernon can do when they put their heads together and come up with a plan and follow through with that plan," Chesley said. "They took an old, dilapidated building and turned it into a functional, safe facility for people to get shelter, food, clothing, counseling assistance and financial guidance."
The City of Mt. Vernon was awarded the traveling silver trophy on Tuesday during a ceremony in the Illinois Executive Mansion. The trophy is at Lifeboat Alliance shelter, and an official unveiling will be held at a later date.
Those attending the ceremony representing Mt. Vernon and the project were Jenny O'Daniel, executive director of Lifeboat Alliance, Father John Iffert, president of the Lifeboat Alliance Board, City Tourism Director Bonnie Jerdon, who wrote the award application, and Chesley.
"You could look around the room and see all the representation of volunteer group that made a difference in their communities," Chesley said. "You know they made a difference in the lives of their residents, their communities, and the State of Illinois."