Festival organizer earns chamber honor
The Tonganoxie Chamber of Commerce kicked off the year Thursday night by honoring Connie Torneden as its citizen of the year.
Outgoing chamber president Bill Grant said he had looked through all of the chamber's scrapbooks and had been surprised that Torneden, who is a loan production specialist at First State Bank and Trust and the organizer of the annual Tonganoxie Days, had not been named citizen of the year.
Grant recognized Torneden for her work in organizing the annual Tonganoxie Days festivities since its 1986 start, as well as her 18 years of involvement in the Chamber of Commerce.
A 1972 graduate of Tonganoxie High School and a lifelong Tonganoxie resident, Torneden is the daughter of Edna Swain and the late Byron Swain.
Torneden said she was surprised to be named citizen of the year.
"I was shocked," she said. "I'm really honored because there were a lot of neat people ahead of me who have gotten this."
Torneden has worked at the bank for 27 years. She also is a member of the Twilight Chapter of American Business Women, Lawrence, serves as administrative assistant for the Reno Township Fire Department, and is a member of both the Reno and Maple Grove cemetery boards.
She credited her husband, Lawrence, and their son, James, 15, for their support.
"They're very tolerant of me having meetings and that sort of thing," she said. "And, usually on the Saturday night of Tonganoxie Days, Lawrence is there helping with clean up."
Torneden said she had not yet decided whether she would hang her citizen of the year plaque at home or at work.
"I've got to show it to my mom first," she said.
Grant recognized outgoing chamber board members Nancy Younger, Bill Altman and John Evans II, as well as the new board members, H.B. Canida, Chris Donnelly, Richard Erickson and Charles Stimac.
New chamber president Rob Schuck was sworn in. Kevin Gallagher is vice president, and Grant is secretary treasurer.