Early in the evening Friday at the East Peoria Chamber of Commerce's annual dinner at the Par-A-Dice Hotel, Cindy Reinhart was on stage announcing the Ambassador of the Year. She was unaware that she would be back on stage later that night receiving an award herself -- the Citizen of the Year.
State Rep. Mike Unes, who was the 2011 Citizen of the Year announced the 2012 award winner by dropping hints about the person. He said the recipient was a wonderful person and a huge St. Louis Cardinals fan. He added that "she" (another hint) liked to play practical jokes on people and is very involved in the community.
Before Cindy Reinhart took the stage, her three daughters, her parents and other family members began walking toward the front of the room. Reinhart, who made jokes about being a long-winded talker while awarding her friend Lori Laredo with the Ambassador of the Year award, was speechless when she took the stage for her award.
In fact, one of the first things she said was "speechless."
"The key is to surround yourself with phenomenal people," Reinhart said, attributing her success to her family, co-workers and friends.
Other highlights of the evening included keynote speaker Jim Covert, a former Chicago Bears player and the Green Company of the Year and Business of the Year awards, which went to Federal Companies and Cullinan Properties Ltd., respectively.
See the Jan. 23 edition of the East Peoria Times-Courier for more coverage of the banquet.