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Jack Shales Spirit of Community Award

"As I celebrate my 60th anniversary as a United Way volunteer, I am filled with many fond memories. Over the years, I've had the opportunity to work with so many wonderful people and great organizations, building friendships that have lasted a lifetime.  I can't think of a better way for any of us to touch so many lives and know that we're making a real difference.  That's why I LIVE UNITED." --Jack Shales, 2014

In 2004, our longest serving volunteer Jack Shales celebrated his 50th anniversary with United Way of Elgin. To honor that achievement, we created our highest award, the Jack Shales Spirit of Community Award, which is given annually to a company that shows exceptional corporate responsibility and community involvement.

Jack began his involvement with United Way in 1954 as a campaign volunteer. He served on the board for many years, including as board chair in 1988.  Jack has also chaired the annual campaign several times, most recently as the Honorary Chair for the 2013-14 campaign. In 2017, he celebrated 63 years of volunteer service to United Way of Elgin.

Our dear friend Jack passed away in January 2018. This award continues to honor his memory and legacy of service.

2016 Winner: Elgin Sweeper Company

In business for more than 100 years, Elgin Sweeper Company has been a major contributor to United Way of Elgin for more than 90 years. When the Elgin Community Chest was formed in 1924, they proudly helped support social services in Elgin. For generations, company employees have volunteered with United Way of Elgin, including the company’s former president, Roger Parsons, who served as campaign chair in 1989. In the last 10 years alone, Elgin Sweeper employee and corporate gifts have totaled more than $500,000. Elgin Sweeper’s annual United Way workplace campaign, and other volunteer work, are shining examples of the company’s deep-rooted commitment to the local Elgin community.

Elgin Sweeper is truly a home-grown success story. Driven by a desire to address the health hazards caused by streets and roads filled with filth and debris, pioneering automobile enthusiast John Murphy – who was also a resident and alderman of the city of Elgin – brought his design for the first mechanized sweeper to American Tower and Tank Company of Elgin. The first motor sweeper, a three-wheeled machine, was sold in April 1914 to the City of Boise, Idaho. In the following years, Elgin sweepers found increasing acceptance by other municipalities across the country. In 1917, the company produced and sold 42 sweepers. By 1922, the market for Elgin sweepers was so promising that the owners of the Elgin Corporation terminated their previous business relationship and the company became the Elgin Street Sweeper Company. Years later, the company incorporated as Elgin Sweeper Company. Today, Elgin Sweeper is the best-known street sweeper brand, not only in North America, but around the world. As the largest manufacturer of street sweepers in North America, Elgin Sweeper products are in use in more than 90 countries around the world.

Elgin Sweeper is a big family. The company includes hundreds of people in the factory, as well as in management, engineering and other administrative positions. As of last year, the average employment tenure at Elgin Sweeper was 21 years. Just this spring, Executive Assistant Monika Schuttie retired after 50 years. Monika was also United Way of Elgin’s longest-serving employee campaign coordinator, having volunteered with the campaign for 20 years.  

We are proud of our long-standing relationship with Elgin Sweeper and its employees and we’re deeply grateful for their decades of support—both time and money.  Think about the lives they’ve touched and changed for the better over the last 90 years. It is an honor to present the 2016 Jack Shales Spirit of Community Award Winner is Elgin Sweeper.

Past Winners

2015 - Grand Victoria Casino

2014 - Elgin Community College

2013 - Jack and Marlene Shales

2012 - Chase Card Services

2010 - Hoffer Plastics Corporation

2009 - Sherman Health

2008 - First Community Bank

2007 - IHC Construction Companies

2006 - City of Elgin

2005 - ITW

2004 - Seigle's