Rock Falls community servants take center stage

February 22, 2019

ROCK FALLS – The Rock Falls Chamber of Commerce celebrated the contributions of several individuals and organizations during its annual meeting and dinner Thursday at the Days Inn.

Beth Fiorini, Whiteside County public health administrator, received the Shoulder to the Wheel Professional Service Award, which honors individuals for their work at local businesses or nonprofits.

Fiorini, who will retire this year, has been with the health department for more than 30 years. Under her leadership, it has evolved to meet the ever-changing needs of the community.

“She is compassionate, collaborative, committed, creative, a community leader and a champion for the underserved,” her nominator said.

In 2006, after several of the area’s largest employers had closed their doors, Fiorini led the charge in establishing the Community Health Clinic. As need grew, she oversaw six building expansions, including a dental clinic.

In 2010, the health department addressed another pressing need, this time for behavioral health services. Five years later, Fiorini took a leadership role in addressing the opioid crisis in the area, starting the Medication Assistance Treatment Program. The Safe Passage program was an outgrowth of a task force set up under the county’s Healthier Communities Partnership.

Fiorini has also taken the lead in providing counseling services for children affected by physical and sexual assault, creating a domestic violence group program. She set up the Equality Clinic as a safe place for the LGBTQ community to receive health care.

There were four other winners of the Shoulder to the Wheel Award, which recognizes individuals and organizations, adult and youth, that have made a difference in the community.

John Larson was the recipient of the adult individual award. Larson has been a scoutmaster for many years, helping nearly 40 young men from Troop 902 attain the rank of Eagle Scout while doing community service projects.

“As a scoutmaster, he has helped teach the young men under his leadership that the Scout oath and law are not just words to be recited at every meeting, but they become a guide for their entire life,” Larson’s nominator said.

Larson also has been active with CGH Medical Center for many years. He has been on the hospital’s Medical Center Board Planning Committee since 2006, and has served as business division co-chairman for the CGH Health Foundation’s annual appeal. He has been on the Rock River Trail Committee since its inception.

In the youth category, Andrew Tribley, 18, received the award for outstanding youth. Tribley has been in charge of running the Rock Falls Recycling Center. Tribley and volunteers from Firehouse Ministries have operated the program for a year and a half.

The volunteers donate about 50 hours a month to give Rock Falls residents a place to dispose of electronics waste.

Tribley has done volunteer work in the community with his family since he was a young boy. He also helps with the Pink Heals cancer outreach and support program, Rock River Development Authority canal cleanup projects, and city beautification efforts.

The winner of the Shoulder to the Wheel organization award was PACT (Police and Children Together), a Rock Falls Police Department camp project.

East Coloma-Nelson School’s BLAST (Bulldogs for Leadership, Achievement, Service and Tolerance) club won the youth group award. The club teaches youth how to run service organizations.

The winners

p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Helvetica} Shoulder to the Wheel Professional Service Award - Beth Fiorini

Shoulder to the Wheel - (Individual) - John Larson

Shoulder to the Wheel (Organization) - PACT - Rock Falls Police Department

Shoulder to the Wheel (Youth Individual) - Andrew Tribley

Shoulder to the Wheel (Youth Group) - BLAST, East Coloma-Nelson School