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Local News

Gurnee Days Corporation announces 2014 honorees

GURNEE – The Gurnee Days Corporation has announceed James (Jim) and Michelle Caldwell as the 2014 Gurnee Days honorees. For over 40 years, the Gurnee Days Corporation has selected a deserving individual or couple to be honored during the annual Gurnee Days celebration. The testimonial dinner honoring the Caldwells will be held Aug. 7, and traditionally kicks off the annual Gurnee Days festivities.

Jim Caldwell was born and raised in Chicago. He resided in Chicago through his grade school years and then attended Round Lake High School. Jim Caldwell earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration.

Michelle Caldwell was born and raised in Lake County. She attended Zion Benton High School.

Jim and Michelle Caldwell started their venture together in 2006 and were married in March of 2011 in Arizona.

According to a news release from Gurnee Days Corporation, "[Jim and Michelle Caldwells'] friendly dispositions and willingness to volunteer have been recognized through their vocations and many community organizations. They are an amazing couple and so deserving of the title of 2014 Gurnee Days Honorees."

Jim Caldwell has dedicated his 30 year professional life to law enforcement, the last 25 in the village of Gurnee. He has risen through the ranks serving as a patrol officer, detective, sergeant, commander and will retire this year as deputy chief of police.

He is probably best known for the 10 years he spent as the commander of the detective unit where he led many high profile investigations and established this group as one of the finest investigative teams in Lake County, according to the release. It was during this period that he established himself as a key leader in the community. Jim Caldwell has directed the expansion of the school resource officer from a single officer to the four full-time officers in each of the school districts. Recently, Jim Caldwell was instrumental in implementing the visitor oriented policing team, a vision he conceptualized and researched years earlier.

In 1993, Michelle Caldwell began her career at Warren-Newport Credit Union, now Community Trust Credit Union as a teller. Over the years, she has been promoted and will retire this year after 13 years as CTCU’s marketing director. She has been a staple within the State of Illinois Credit Union communities holding executive and/or board positions for many organizations including the Illinois Youth Involvement Council, Illinois Credit Union Ladies Golf Outing along with Legislative Forum Representative and officer positions with the Doig Chapter of the Illinois Credit Union League, according to the release. Michelle Caldwell recently received the 2013 Spirit of Service Employee of the Year award from the Illinois Credit Union System at its 84th Annual Convention. This award recognizes credit union executives who through their outstanding achievement or innovation create stronger member and community awareness of credit unions.

Even with such demanding careers, Jim and Michelle Caldwell have been heavily involved volunteering with many organizations. As a charter member of the Gurnee Fraternal of Police, Jim Caldwell has also served as its president. Under his leadership, the FOP has an annual Pancake Breakfast, Outrun the Cops 5K Run/Walk and partners with the Gurnee Park District’s Fall Fest providing food to attendees. Proceeds from these events help to support the Lake County Children’s Advocacy Center.

Jim Caldwell is a founding member of Gurnee’s Jon Callaghan Memorial Turkey Trot committee and has been the face of the Gurnee Police Department at this annual Thanksgiving Day charity event for more than 20 years.

As a member of the Exchange Club of Gurnee, Michelle Caldwell served as treasurer and volunteers at many events. She has been actively involved with the Gurnee, Grayslake and Lake County Chambers of Commerce. Michelle Caldwell volunteers her time with the Gurnee and Grayslake Relay for Life, Avon Breast Cancer Walk, and the Toys for Tots and Salvation Army Angel Tree programs.

Jim and Michelle Caldwell joined the Gurnee Days Corporation more than 10 years ago and both have served as president and on the executive board.

Each year, the Gurnee Days Corporation seeks nominations from the community for people who have made a meaningful contribution to make this area a better place to work and live. For information, visit

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