Jackie Wood recognized for years of community service

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Jim Leute
Thursday, January 23, 2014

JANESVILLE—A neighbor many years ago told Jackie Wood she'd never need any hobbies.

Anyone familiar with the community dynamo knows the neighbor's comment proved prophetic.

Instead of hobbies, Wood has pursued a plateful of passions that bettered Janesville and Rock County.

For that, Wood received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Forward Janesville at the organization's annual awards banquet Thursday.

Woods' list of community service is lengthy: United Way, YWCA, Mercy Auxiliary, Craig PTO, Rock County Historical Society, Janesville Performing Arts Center, Rotary Garden, Hedberg Public Library and the local women's club, just to name a few.

She also served on the Rock County Board and hasn't missed a meeting on downtown redevelopment in decades.

“If there is money to be raised or leadership needed to turn an organization around, Jackie is often the person Janesville turns to,” said Brad Cantrell, a former city planner who worked with Wood for years on a variety of issues.

Lately, Cantrell said he's watched Wood and others work to save Oakhill Cemetery's chapel.

So far, the group has raised $31,000 of the $40,000 needed to keep the chapel from the wrecking ball.

“I never have regretted seizing an opportunity, even when I haven't been hunting for another project,” Wood said.

“Seizing the opportunity,” Cantrell said, has long been Wood's motto.

“Jackie may be small in stature, gentile in manner, but she's always got the biggest smile and achieves the biggest results,” he said.

Other Forward Janesville award winners Thursday:

-- Community Improvement Award: Culver's of Janesville.

-- Diversity Award: ECHO.

-- Educator of the Year: Steve Huth, School District of Janesville.

-- Ambassador of the Year: Jaysen Jorgensen, State Farm Insurance.

-- FJI Volunteer of the Year: Debbie Cook, McGladrey.

-- Entrepreneur of the Year: Joni Cullen and Lisa Saxer-Buros (posthumously), Madelyn Co.

-- Business of the Year, 50 or fewer employees: Rinehart Targets.

-- Business of the Year, more than 50 employees: Johnson Bank/Johnson Insurance.

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