Zachgo honored for work with Iroquois West

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

David Zachgo of Danforth is this year’s recipient of the Pledge for Life Partnership’s Lowe School Board Recognition Award.

The award recognizes outstanding service provided by local school board members and was established in memory of Dorothea Lowe, mother of former Illinois First Lady, Lura Lynn Ryan. He was presented the award at the Partnership’s annual Board of Director’s meeting October 23 at the Kankakee Country Club.

Mr. Zachgo has been a familiar face to the parents and students of Iroquois West Community Unit School District for nearly a quarter of a century. He has watched hundreds of students progress from elementary school to high school and keeps up on them long after they have graduated and moved on to careers.

It’s this special connection with the students that has made Mr. Zachgo’s 24 year tenure on the district’s Board of Education a long and successful one. He currently is serving his eleventh year as board president.

“Dave has attended more ball games, Christmas programs, NHS inductions, plays and musicals than most parents,” writes Leo Sherman, district superintendent. “Students return long after graduation to discuss with him the challenges and successes they have experienced. . . . I’m convinced these conversations were the catalyst for many of the changes and improvements that were made in the district.”

When critics present a case at a board meeting, Zachgo knows the details because he has gathered it first hand while attending activities, Sherman continued. Because of his close attention to detail, programs have excelled year after year and under his leadership, Iroquois West developed a state-of-the-art technology network second to none.

“Dave is a hands-on guy who wouldn’t ask others to do anything he wouldn’t do himself,” Sherman added. “This includes dirty chores from building and ground upkeep to attending school workshops and conferences. If asked, he serves.” Zachgo contributed countless hours to work on the playground equipment installation, football field lighting and exterior lighting and has the ability to spot minor problems in need of repair. “No matter how small, repairs are ordered to insure the safest possible environment for our students and staff,” he added.

In addition to his work with the school district, Zachgo has served on the Ford Iroquois County Special Education Board of Control, the Iroquois Area Regional Delivery System Board of Control and the Prairieview Lutheran Home Board of Control. He and his wife, Willene also are active members of St. John’s Lutheran Church in Danforth.

A lifelong resident of Danforth, Zachgo works as a foreman for the AmerenCIPS Emergency Recovery Team which travels to neighboring and distant states to repair and reinstate electrical service. Last May, he was seriously injured after being struck by a car near Pawnee while attempting to repair power lines that had been knocked after tornadoes struck Central Illinois. He is currently recovering at a rehabilitation facility in Carbondale.

As much as her father and mother would have loved to have accepted the award in person, Mr. Zachgo’s daily physical therapy routine makes that impossible, said his daughter, Lynne Olson, who accepted the award on her his behalf.

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