'Man with answers' Al Markus named Sugar Grove Citizen of the Year

Al Markus named Citizen of the Year at Sugar Grove's 50th annual Corn Boil

  • Al Markus is congratulated as the Sugar Grove Citizen of the Year, which kicked off the start of the 50th annual Sugar Grove Corn Boil.

      Al Markus is congratulated as the Sugar Grove Citizen of the Year, which kicked off the start of the 50th annual Sugar Grove Corn Boil. Daniel White | Staff Photographer

  • Zach Ramos, 11, of Boy Scout Troop 41 enjoys eating an ear of corn during the 50th annual Sugar Grove Corn Boil.

      Zach Ramos, 11, of Boy Scout Troop 41 enjoys eating an ear of corn during the 50th annual Sugar Grove Corn Boil. Daniel White | Staff Photographer

  • Al Markus, right, is congratulated as the Sugar Grove Citizen of the Year by Jackie Link, left, during the 50th annual Sugar Grove Corn Boil. Link is this years' Sugar Grove Corn Boil president and Chamber of Commerce president.

      Al Markus, right, is congratulated as the Sugar Grove Citizen of the Year by Jackie Link, left, during the 50th annual Sugar Grove Corn Boil. Link is this years' Sugar Grove Corn Boil president and Chamber of Commerce president. Daniel White | Staff Photographer

  • Bud Carlson of the band 60 Carat Rock sings '60s music during the 50th annual Sugar Grove Corn Boil.

      Bud Carlson of the band 60 Carat Rock sings '60s music during the 50th annual Sugar Grove Corn Boil. Daniel White | Staff Photographer

  • Karen McCannon, left, and Helen Jorgensen, Jojo the Clown, right, cheer to kickoff the 50th annual Sugar Grove Corn Boil.

      Karen McCannon, left, and Helen Jorgensen, Jojo the Clown, right, cheer to kickoff the 50th annual Sugar Grove Corn Boil. Daniel White | Staff Photographer

  • Dr. Sylvia Smith, executive director of Giant Steps, talks to an audience at the 50th annual Sugar Grove Corn Boil.

      Dr. Sylvia Smith, executive director of Giant Steps, talks to an audience at the 50th annual Sugar Grove Corn Boil. Daniel White | Staff Photographer

  • Volunteer Andrew Burroughs, 19, of Elburn unloads ears of corn during the 50th annual Sugar Grove Corn Boil. Jerry Kalita, left, prepares to cut off the ends of the corn, which is then wrapped in foil.

      Volunteer Andrew Burroughs, 19, of Elburn unloads ears of corn during the 50th annual Sugar Grove Corn Boil. Jerry Kalita, left, prepares to cut off the ends of the corn, which is then wrapped in foil. Daniel White | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 7/28/2017 8:23 PM

Al Markus has been the guy people turn to when people needed a hand to pull off a community celebration in Sugar Grove.

And that's why he was named the 2017 Sugar Grove Citizen of the Year Friday night, at the 50th annual Corn Boil.

 

"If someone says it can't be done, it won't work, or can't be built, I know it can be taken care of properly if Al is there," wrote Pat Graceffa, one of the people who nominated Markus for the award bestowed by the Sugar Grove Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Graceffa, an active volunteer herself, described Markus as "a man with answers," making him the first person she calls "when I find myself in a predicament."

"Al will not only call be back with possible solutions, but you can rest assured, he will show up to do the work alongside me to help with whatever library, farmers market or Corn Boil task needs completion," she wrote.

Markus has especially been involved with the Corn Boil and the Christmas tree-lighting committees.

He was head of facilities for the Corn Boil, including installing signs, setting up and tearing down equipment, ordering materials and obtaining tents, fencing and generators.

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At Christmastime, he helps string 2,000 lights on the tree.

Al and his late wife, Donna, moved to Sugar Grove more than 16 years ago. Both were involved in the Corn Boil. Donna died in 2012. A scholarship in her name is now presented at the Corn Boil each year.

Markus reacted to the honor with humor and humility, joking that he didn't expect to get it, because "I didn't think I was old enough."

He said he appreciated receiving it, saying, "It was nice to know that people see what you do."

Reflecting on his accomplishments, Markus said he is especially proud of helping decorate the Christmas tree.

Markus has three children and several grandchildren.

The award was established in 1998 by the village and the chamber of commerce and industry. It is given to people who exemplify "the pioneering spirit which helps our village grow and prosper," according to a news release.

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