BATAVIA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE HONORS John Hamel
2017 Winner of the Donna Dallesasse Award
Batavia, IL – August 29, 2017 - The Batavia Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce the 2017 Donna Dallesasse Award winner John Hamel, Owner of Pal Joey’s and Bar Evolution in Batavia. Every year the Batavia Chamber holds a Harvest Celebration to gather community members together to celebrate one Chamber member that has displayed an outstanding commitment and dedication to the Chamber's mission, vision, and values. This member is recognized as the annual Donna Dallesasse Award recipient.
John, an incredibly humble man, was pleasantly surprised to hear the news. When asked how he felt he said, “I have always lived in the back…when I get noticed it is a weird thing. It has been nice getting a lot of texts, calls and congratulatory comments from friends and people in the community.”
According to Melinda Kintz, United Way Executive Director, “As a resident and taxpayer of Batavia, I commend John for the management of Pal Joey’s on River Street, the addition of Bar Evolution and his commitment to our community. His revitalization of Pal Joey’s patio, including the addition of entertainment and beautiful “fire tables,” does nothing but add class and draw to the best river front seating in Batavia. He understands that Batavians want a developed hub on River Street and Bar Evolution adds significantly to the character, charm and appeal of our downtown. Over the course of three years in my role of Executive Director for Batavia United Way, I have been so grateful for John’s willingness to work with me on different ideas I’ve pitched and he is always ready to brainstorm on ways to make it work, whether it benefits him or not, he has always been willing to share his expertise, his experience and his contacts.”
“John has also been a huge supporter of Chip In Batavia – providing gift certificates for family meals in “Welcome Baskets” for all families fortunate to move out of a homeless situation into more permanent housing. He is also a friend to teens seeking summer employment, local charities, sports teams and clubs looking for donations or “deals” for group events. When I mentioned a Chip In immigrant family of 10 in dire need, John patiently interviewed two of the teens, through a translator, and offered them summer jobs on the spot. He has been patient and flexible with them and has coached his staff on being accepting of their lack of experience and lack of knowledge of American culture,” added Kintz.
“Winning the Donna Dallesasse award is quite the honor and I am so happy to hear that John has been awarded this well-deserved recognition. The city of Batavia is very lucky to have such an active business owner that commits so much of his time and resources in helping to make this city so wonderful. This recognition is no small achievement and I am proud of John for his continued desire to be such a big influence on the community,” said Missi Hartmann, owner of The Tea Tree and John’s business neighbor.
In talking to John, the Chamber has learned more about his upbringing and how that factors into his motivation to help support the community, particularly the younger members. John was raised by an adopted family, which has helped fuel his spirit of giving to those in need. John understands how it feels as a child to be without and this has been a huge motivator in his desire to help others.
Holly Deitchman, President & CEO of the Batavia Chamber of Commerce, added, “John has worked tirelessly to support charitable organizations and our Batavia business community. Like Donna, John is always there to partner with another business person to help them with an event. With this spirit of giving and support for his community, John is a perfect recipient of the 2017 Donna Dallesasse Award.”
This year marks the 11th anniversary of the establishment of the Donna Dallesasse Award. The public is invited to join Batavia Chamber of Commerce members in remembering the life of Donna Dallesasse and to celebrate the contributions John has made to the Chamber, and the community as a whole. This year’s Harvest Celebration will be held on September 20th from 6 to 8 pm at Marmion’s Abbey Farms, 2855 Hart Road in Aurora. The cost of the event is $20 per person and includes food, a casual cocktail reception, corn maze, hay rides, fire pit, and more! Flannel and jeans are the recommended attire. Registration for this event is required. Please call (630) 879-7134 or visit www.bataviachamber.org/events to register online.