Donze Honored Posthumously With Lifetime Achievement Award; Lurk, Wolk Insurance, Fallert Bus, Community Center Also Given Awards

Two individuals, two organizations and one small business were honored Friday night at the 95th annual Chamber of Commerce Awards Gala at the DuBourg Centre.

Bill Lurk received the Community Service Award, and Wolk Insurance and Financial Services received the Small Business of the Year Award. The chamber’s outgoing president, Tom French, presented the Presidential Awards to Fallert Bus Service and the Ste. Genevieve County Community Center.

The chamber’s Lifetime Achievement Award was given to Duane Donze, who died in November of 2018 at the age of 60.

“It is very hard to try to capture someone’s lifetime achievements when that person’s life was cut short,” French said in introducing Donze as the honoree.

He said Donze was nominated by many people for the honor.

“If he were here today, he would be so humble, and probably tell us that he wasn’t worthy of this award, that his accomplishments were just him doing his job or his civic duty,” French said.

Among the organizations to which Donze contributed was the chamber itself. He was the sound and lighting engineer from the beginning for chamber’s Summer Music Series, providing expertise and advice for the organizing committee after originally providing assurance to director Dena Kreitler and the organization that the concert series project could be done successfully. …

His widow, Donna Donze, accepted the award along with her daughter Kelsey Roth and her son Kory Donze.

“Duane was an amazing man and an amazing husband,” she said. “His kids have found out what an amazing man their dad was through the years. It is such an honor and heartfelt tribute to know the community feels this way, too. …

“His lesson to all should be: Don’t sweat the small stuff, make each moment count, laugh out loud and enjoy each day for it is a gift to you. His motto — one day at a time — is a lesson we all should learn and take to heart.”

See complete story in the May 1 edition of the Herald.

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