Chamber of Commerce honors Kane ’Citizen-of-Year’ at dinner

Photo by Ted Lutz — Mick Petruney, Kane’s “Citizen-of-the-Year,” receives several awards Thursday at the annual Chamber of Commerce dinner. The group includes, left to right: State Senior Judge John Cleland of Kane, the master-of-ceremonies; Petruney; Jill Grosch, the manager of the Kane district office for State Rep. Martin Causer; Brandy Schimp, mayor of Kane; and Christina Tigani, a Chamber board member who presented a plaque to the honoree.
By: 
Ted Lutz
Staff Writer

The Chamber Commerce held its annual dinner Thursday evening to honor Mick Petruney as Kane’s “Citizen-of-the-Year.”
More than 125 attended the fete at Grandma Bair’s Event Center on North Fraley Street.
Petruney received the honor for his long-time volunteer efforts to spearhead the construction of new metal skate/bike ramps for youth recreation at Glenwood Park.
“This whole town built this skate park — not me,” Petruney modestly said in accepting the award.
He pointed out that the project — estimated at $200,000 — did not use “even one dollar of local taxpayer money.”
“That’s quite a feat,” he said.
The state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources provided a grant of $92,800 for the project. But this was a “matching grant” that required supporters of the skate park to ante up a similar total.
Donors came forward to meet that “match” — and then some.
The Collins Companies Foundation (Kane Hardwood) was the leader in donations with two grants totaling $55,000. 
Petruney said the other large and small donations came from businesses, organizations and individuals — including a young Kane boy who gave $150 in “birthday money” for the project.
He said the new metal skate/bike ramps stand as a tribute to “this entire town.”
“I want to thank the whole community for supporting this project,” he said.
A retiree, Petruney, 73, more than six years ago began his passionate work at the skate park. He said the late Eli McCloskey “touched my heart” with performances on the deteriorating wooden skate/bike ramps and his plea for help to save them. 
Petruney worked side-by-side with McCloskey and others to try to preserve the wooden ramps. Sadly, those ramps had to be demolished due to their dilapidated condition.
Petruney, a 1963 graduate of Kane Area High School, then focused his efforts to erect new metal ramps at the site. 
This new recreation site opened late last summer. It is named in honor of McCloskey, who died two years ago in Pittsburgh at the age of 27.
Two of letters nominating Petruney for “Citizen-of-the-Year” came from his daughter, Sherry Vetter of Cranberry Township near Pittsburgh, and from Jackie Johnson, the mother of the late Eli McCloskey.
Vetter called her father “the catalyst for keeping the project on track.”
State Senior Judge John Cleland of Kane, who served as the master-of-ceremonies, read the letter from McCloskey’s mother.
In the letter, she praised Petruney for his “dedication to the Kane youth.” She said his support for the new skate park is “heartwarming and inspiring.”

For full article, check the March 1, 2019 printed or e-edition of The Kane Republican

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