Magee, Eagle River Revitalization Program also honored

By Vilas News-Review, Posted on December 13, 2022

A night that exuded class and community togetherness was on full display as the Eagle River Chamber of Commerce, along with its supporting members and area businesses, celebrated their annual awards banquet and ceremony.

This year the event was hosted Dec. 8 at Chef Rene’s at the Inn where chamber Executive Director Kim Emerson, former Man of the Year Bryan Boone and former Woman of the Year Deb Obrodovich commemorated members of the community and offered strong praise for all in attendance.

Taking home the awards for the evening were Bill Weber, Man of the Year; Jean Arndt, Woman of the Year; Debbie Magee, Volunteer of the Year; and business of the year, the Eagle River Revitalization Program, accepted by Executive Director Karen Margelofsky.

Boone introduced Weber as the 2022 Man of the Year stating that Weber has been instrumental in seeing the needs of the community and getting people involved to get those needs met. Boone also discussed how Weber is seen in the community as a kind, generous, and empathic citizen of our great town.

“Bill’s friends and family see him as a caring, dependable, charismatic man who always sees the glass as half full in all situations,” said Boone. “He has a knack for making people smile and is very giving of his time and talents and he greatly cares about others and what they are going through.”

Boone also spoke on Weber’s time as an Eagle River Rotarian in which he served as president. He has also been honored with the Paul Harris Fellow award several times.

“Bill is active with several organizations throughout our community; Relay for Life, the VFW, the Salvation Army, The Rock and the Chamber are just to name a few,” said Boone. “His generosity to many of our organizations is not only through the time he gives, but through the support of generous donations.”

Weber has been married to his wife Laura for 42 years and they have one son, Noah. He is also a co-owner of Parsons Eagle River and was nominated this year by the Wisconsin Automotive Truck Dealer Association as Dealer of the Year.

Boone ended by characterizing Weber as a true inspiration to all who know and love him and then thanked Weber for all he has done and will continue to do for the community.

Introducing Jean Arndt as the new Woman of the Year was Deb Obrodovich, the recipient of the 2021 award.

“She is one energetic, hard-working and passionate person,” said Obrodovich. “Our Woman of the Year has proven this time and time again with her passion for all that she gets involved in. She is a person who goes above and beyond what anyone would expect from a volunteer and she does it with enthusiasm and warmth which exemplifies what is means to be a member of our community.”

Obrodovich spoke of Jean’s journey to Eagle River and how her past experience serves a vital role within the North Woods community.

According to Obrodovich, Jean was born in Waupun and spent nearly all of her life in Illinois, but now calls Eagle River her home. She has been married to Bill for 45 years and they have a daughter named Lexi.

“Jean and Bill retired to Eagle River about four years ago and before coming here Jean was the executive director of the YWCA in Canton, Ill.

“She had a passion for overseeing a large elderly nutrition project which catered 30 congregate meal sites over multiple counties as well as a summer lunch program for children in the area. Arndt became an active member of the community upon her arrival by taking part in the Feed Our Rural Kids (FORK) program,” said Obrodovich.

Obrodovich then noted that Arndt has chosen to take on the lead role in overseeing the development and stocking of the FORK’s Pantry Program. Currently, Arndt is working to open two new pantries, one in Three Lakes and one in Sugar Camp, to add to the several pantries located around Vilas and Oneida counties.

“Jean has always been enthusiastic and very positive with a can-do attitude,” said Obrodovich. “She enjoys being active and knowing that her skills and talents are being used to build a better Eagle River community.”

Kim Emerson then introduced the Volunteer of the Year, Debbie Magee, saying that she is always willing to help in any way possible and is very generous with her time.

“Debbie is willing to do just about anything to help out and doesn’t mind doing things behind the scenes. We are very grateful for her flexibility, hard work, and her desire to help whenever needed,” Emerson said.

She added that Magee is known for her cheerfulness, enthusiasm, organizational skills and her willingness to do whatever is asked without question. Magee has played important roles in volunteering at various chamber events including SepTimber Ride, the National Championship Musky Open, Cranberry Fest and Up North Beerfest.

“It means a lot to all of us, the chamber staff, to know there is someone like Debbie who we can count on for support,” said Emerson. “Thank you Debbie for all that you continue to do to help create a successful community and spectacular chamber of commerce events.”

Emerson also awarded the business of the year award with high praise to the Eagle River Revitalization Program, captained by Executive Director Karen Margelofsky.

Emerson spoke on the program’s inception and mission as a perennial support structure within the chamber’s network.

“The Eagle River Revitalization Program has been serving our community since 1999,” said Emerson. “This organization’s vision is to preserve Eagle River’s unique North Woods character while supporting the growth and vitality of our city. Its mission is to provide financial, design, and promotional assistance in order to stimulate our business community.”

Margelofsky accepted the award and noted that even with a small staff a big impact can be made. She also mentioned how grateful she is for the opportunity to lead such a great and impactful group, with the common goal of making Eagle River the best it can be for those who live here year-round, and those who come to visit.

“Eagle River Revitalization has and continues to be a great partner not only with our business community, but with the chamber as well,” said Emerson. “We greatly appreciate all the support they give us in volunteering and planning for all the different events and activities that take place in our city all year round.”

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