Judson University honored two individuals for their Community Service at its 34th Annual Community Prayer Breakfast on Wednesday, May 11. The event brought together nearly 180 people to Herrick Chapel and the Reed Room in Lindner Tower, two locations on Judson’s Elgin campus, to celebrate community volunteers and consider the theme of “Devotion.”
This year’s D. Ray Wilson Volunteer Service Award recipient was Tom Roeser, president of OTTO Engineering, a Carpentersville company that has grown to employ 500 workers and earn revenue of more than $95 million. Roeser has given back to the Carpentersville and East Dundee communities with this vision, leadership, and financial support. He has invested in the neighborhoods and business districts near OTTO Engineering by purchasing foreclosed homes, renovating them, and reselling the homes with no profit. “Homes by OTTO” has bought and rehabbed more than 150 entry-level homes. Over the years and during times of economic downturns, Roeser has invested in the historic downtown of East Dundee by purchasing struggling businesses, renovating historic sites, and contributing to the goal of making the downtown area a dining destination.
Roeser has given generously of his time and resources to the Boys and Girls Club of Dundee Township, Elgin Community College, the Business/Education Partnership at Dundee Crown High School and with Elgin Symphony Orchestra. He has been a corporate sponsor of Judson’s World Leaders Forum, has hosted Constitution Day speakers to help Judson students better understand the U.S. Constitution, and has supported Judson’s Roeser Scholars Program in which students focus on three important pillars in their four-year leadership curriculum: their faith identity, how to thrive in a democratic republic and “capitalism for the greater good” concept.
When accepting the award, Tom Roeser stated that he considers himself a capitalist and was once asked by a Roeser scholar if capitalism was moral. He explained that capitalism is all based on a promise that you will pay your employees for their labor or pay for services of a vendor after their work. “If I break my promise once, it all falls apart,” he said.
Judson’s Bea Wilson Youth Volunteer Service Award recognizes high school-aged youth in the Fox Valley who give back to their community. This year’s recipient was Anayeli Flores, a senior at Larkin High School. Flores has been on the honor roll and been a member of the Tri-M Honor Society and the National Honor Society. She also has run for the Larkin Cross-Country Team.
Flores has served the community by volunteering at the Gail Borden Library since 2018 and at her community church. She has given more than 100 hours in community service by helping people in need. While at Larkin, Flores has been a leader and role model in the Little Royal Preschool program and has taken leadership roles with the Gail Borden Library’s Summer Reading program.
Community members, local dignitaries, civic leaders and church leaders who attended also hear from the morning’s guest speaker, Rev. Huron Claus. Rev. Claus is president of CHIEF, Inc., an organization that has a vision of having an effective Christian witness for every Native American First Nations tribe in this generation.