But this wasn’t just a social visit. On this
special day Williams was the first recipient of the LDN Community
Lincoln Daily News will be making 12 such visits this year to local
individuals, organizations and/or businesses that we feel have gone
above and beyond to make Logan County a better, stronger community.
Williams was a natural for the first award as the staff considered
the outcome of the efforts Williams put into promoting Lincoln this
Reflecting on Williams most recent impact for the community, she
makes no secret of the fact that she loves Christmas and she loves
the warm feeling that the Christmas season can evoke in everyone.
She came up with the idea of putting decorated Christmas trees on
the historic Logan County Courthouse lawn. It was an idea that was
well received by the community and the Logan County Board to said,
yes, they would permit the trees.
From there, it took no time at all for Williams working with the
Logan County Tourism Bureau to find tree sponsorship for more than
40 businesses and individuals from the area.
The trees were placed on the lawn with assistance from the Land of
Lincoln CEO program, and those who purchased the trees came and
decorated them to their liking.
On the Friday night after Thanksgiving, the community came together
for the official tree lighting ceremony. The turnout for the
lighting was tremendous and it was awesome to see so many people
come together to kick off the Christmas season in style in Lincoln.
Throughout the holiday season people were seen walking about the
courthouse lawn looking at the trees. Some were designed to
commemorate a special person or organization, and there were lots of
In the end, just about everyone who came to the downtown area
reacted positively to the trees and many of the tree owners have
already expressed that they would be participating in the new
Lincoln holiday tradition come Christmas 2020.
In addition, Williams was instrumental in bringing a successful
Small Business Saturday event to the downtown area on the Saturday
She is quick to say that she only got the ball rolling. All the
participating businesses were enthused about the idea of doing Small
Business Saturday, and Williams said from the first meeting ideas
poured from everyone.
On that Saturday there were carolers in the streets; a gingerbread
house contest, special performance from the Zion Lutheran Bell
Choir, and an afternoon visit from Santa at the LCTB Depot visitor’s
Retailers in the heart of the city were thrilled with the turnout as
shoppers came to town to enjoy all the festivities as well as get a
good start on their Christmas shopping while supporting local
business owners and keeping their dollars in our community.
In addition to her efforts at Christmas, Williams is
a mentor for the 2019-20 CEO students, has promoted Lincoln in
several other ways and is a member of the Logan County Tourism
[to top of second column]
She owns and operates Small Town Creations on the Square and has
successfully merged three businesses into one, offering goods and
services to the community that are needed and much appreciated.
Williams began her own small business a few years ago working in her
home. When she outgrew the home space allotted for her paint party
business, she moved into town to a location on Sangamon Street.
Timing was right for all concerned when the owners of the Award Shop
decided it was time to take down their shingle and retire, as about
the same time the popular coffee and gift shop, Beans and Such, came
up for sale.
After a lot of thought and prayer, Williams and her husband Jim took
the plunge and bought out both the Award Shop, and Beans and Such.
They moved all three businesses into the former Beans and Such and
they have become a popular stop for many shoppers who come to
Lincoln Daily News co-owner Jim Youngquist said of his team, “We
came up with the idea of doing a community champion award because we
feel that there are people, businesses and organizations that work
quietly day-in and day-out to make our community better and
stronger. Those people deserve a little bit of recognition. If we
can give them a pat on the back and let them know that their efforts
do not go unnoticed, then we should.”
LDN Director of Advertising Karen Hargis said, “We heard a lot of
really good comments about the Christmas Trees on the square this
year. We also did a tree of our own, and enjoyed seeing it in the
line-up as we drove by every day. When we at LDN got together to
talk about who would be the 2020 Community Champions, choosing
Kathie as the first one was an easy and obvious choice.”
LDN News Director Nila Smith said, “In our line of work, we get to
know a lot of people. In the time I have spent with Kathie, I know
she is genuine. She loves this community, she loves downtown, and
she wants to see everyone succeed. She’s one of those people who
doesn’t just sit back and talk about what needs done, she takes
action and she invests her whole self into making all of us look
better. If that isn’t a champion, then I don’t know who is.”
On Wednesday morning, Williams was presented with ‘Goliath,’ the six
feet tall traveling trophy and a beautiful combination planter with
fresh flowers provided by Debbie’s Downtown Floral. She will have
the trophy for about a week, and will also receive a certificate
with her photo as keepsake.
Congratulations Kathie, you are a valuable part of our community and
definitely a Community Champion.