The Marion Chamber of Commerce is excited to announce the finalists for the 2019 Citizen of the Year Award. Lance Hafeli with Smith-Hafeli Inc., along with Joni Barwick with TMG Company and Megan Jones with Priority Staffing Group, have been nominated for this year's award. Our finalists have been nominated by fellow chamber members and selected by the Awards Committee.
Lance Hafeli is an Air Force veteran who retired at the rank of colonel in May, 2012 after serving his country for 27 years. Upon retirement, Lance and his wife Kathy moved back to Marion where he’s now able to serve his local community.
Lance earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Architectural Studies from the University of Illinois in 1983 and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the Air Force in May 1985. Additionally, he earned three master’s degrees while on active duty. Over his 27 years, Lance held numerous leadership positions at all levels of the Air Force. His last job while on active duty was as the Director of Installations, United States Air Forces Central Command at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar where he was responsible for civil engineering and contracting contingency planning in support of US Air Forces assigned to the United States Central Command. His major awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal with seven oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal, and the Secretary of the Air Force Leadership Award.
Since retiring and moving back to Marion, Lance was instrumental in assisting Marion Unit 2 to apply for and setup an Air Force Junior ROTC program at the high school - the first of its kind in Southern Illinois. He ran the program for 3 years before transitioning to his present job as President and majority owner of Smith-Hafeli construction. Additionally, Lance is also involved in Marion Rotary Club.
Our finalists have been nominated by fellow chamber members and selected by the Awards Committee.
The winner of the Citizen of the Year Award will be announced during the 99th annual Marion Chamber of Commerce Awards Banquet & Auction on Friday, January 17 at The Pavilion. The event begins at 5:30 p.m. Tickets to attend are $65/person, $500/table of 8 or $750/table of 12 and are available by calling the Marion Chamber of Commerce at 618.997.6311 or visiting www.marionillinois.com.