MATTOON -- While speaking Saturday of the September shooting at Mattoon High School, Scott Eggleston asked for anyone who knew someone affected by it to stand.

Nearly everyone at the Mattoon Chamber of Commerce's annual dinner did get to their feet. The few still seated then stood along with the others to applaud when Eggleston introduced the chamber's Citizen of the Year award recipient.

The actions of that person, Angela McQueen, was what "pulled the community together like nothing before," Eggleston said.

While the Sept. 20 shooting at the school did injure one student, the MHS teacher is largely credited with keeping it from being worse.

She was able to grab the armed student, Josiah Lyons, and apparently keep him from shooting the student he targeted. Another student was hit by a shot but has reportedly recovered.

On Saturday, Eggleston quoted now-retired Mattoon police Chief Jeff Branson in saying "lives were saved by the quick response."

In accepting the award, McQueen called it "a great honor" and thanked the chamber as well as her family, friends and co-workers for their support.

"God put me in the right place at the right time and with the right skills to prevent a tragedy," she said.

McQueen also drew upon her favorite TV show, "The Walking Dead," in which a character responded to a question about why he saved someone by saying, "all life is precious."

"I believe that as well," she said.

Also Saturday, the chamber's Small Business of the Year award went to Don Sol and owners Amanda and Rene Perdomo.

The award goes to a Mattoon business that employs less than 100 workers and does work to benefit the community, Donna Kastl said while presenting the award.

Don Sol and the Perdomos have been active in numerous organizations and charitable activities and have done so "in a very humble and gracious way," Kastl said.

The restaurant's owners also received a standing ovation when they were introduced, leading Amanda Perdomo to respond that "each and every one of you impacted this award for us."

Other recognitions Saturday included the chamber's Ambassador of the Year award, which went to Stephanie Ramsey.

Chamber Executive Director Ed Dowd said the organizations ambassadors are "the life blood of all our events" through their volunteer efforts.

The program also featured remarks by 2017 chamber board President Katrina Butler and 2018 President Amy Borntrager and recognition of outgoing and incoming board members.


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