The Wilmington Chamber of Commerce sponsors and participates in a variety of programs meant to recognize our outstanding citizens, promote local commerce and provide activities that engage the community and boost tourism.


Chamber President Ralph "Tuffy" Stevens with recipient Allison Anderson.

Chamber President Ralph "Tuffy" Stevens with recipient Allison Anderson.


One of the many programs ran by our Ambassador's Committee, the Chamber Scholarship is a $1,000 award presented by the Chamber each year on Senior Night at the Wilmington High School. Our 2015 award recipient is Allison Anderson. Find a list of past winners here.

Each year, our application is included in the WHS scholarship packet given to the current graduating class. With a deadline that typically falls in mid-February, our scholarship committee bases their decision on criteria including a WHS graduate seeking a business degree, seniors employed at member businesses, community volunteerism, academics and financial need.

Business Person of the year

In an effort to recognize our most influential entrepreneurs, The Chamber introduced our Business Person of the Year award in 1999. Our 2015 BPOY, Henry Bale, chose 2016 to start his retirement after over 50 years of protecting what our residents hold dear through the Henry Bale Insurance Agency.  Twice before Mr. Bale has declined this honor, but the Chamber was insistent this time around and rightfully so as his considerable contributions to our City were often done with little fanfare. A member of the Rotary Club and the Christ Episcopal Church he and his wife have provided financial support to numerous local causes and organizations such as the Kuzma Care Cottage, the Christian Help Association, Our Caring Closet and our local schools. All this philanthropy fit well with his simple, but  apt acknowledgement that "everyone needs".  

Mr. Bale and all our honorees are given the opportunity to be the Grand Marshal in our yearly Winter Wonderland lighted Christmas Parade along with a write up in the Free Press Paper.  See the ranks of deserving recipients that Mr. Bale joined here.

2015  BPOY: Henry Bale

2015  BPOY: Henry Bale

Employee of the month

Our fine City is filled with Employees that go above and beyond every day, bringing smiles to the faces of their customers and representing our City with pride. This award is available every month and comes with a traveling trophy tht is dispayed  at the business of the current month's recipient as well as a photo that is published in the Free Press Advocate. The public is invited to make nominations of an employee who is courteous, attentive, sincere and makes it a pleasure to patronize that business. Send nominations to Chamber of Commerce Ambassador's Committee, c/o Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Box 724, Wilmington, IL, 60481 or fill out the form on this page. Find a list of our past recipients here.

First dollar of pure profit

All new businesses in town are eligible to receive the First Dollar of Pure Profit Award by our Ambassador's Committee and be featured in the Free Press Newspaper. The Committee makes every effort to be thorough, but in the event that we have overlooked a new business, please download the form provided here and  return via the instructions at the top of this page.  


In a joint effort with three surrounding communities, Wilmington has taken advantage of it's placement along historical Route 66 to provide a free outdoor treasure hunting game that has a worldwide following. All Geocaching requires is a sense of adventure, a bit of perseverance and a GPS enabled device. Wilmington's cache is located within 100 yards of Route 66 and can be found by using the exact longitudinal and latitudinal coordinates which are registered at

The rules are simple:

  • If you take something, leave something and document your visit in the cache logbook.
  • If you take an item with a code number stamped on it, it's a traveler who's owner has selected a destination for it. Be sure to move it along on your travels and log the experience online at
  • Replace the cache exactly where and how you found it to allow the next treasure hunter to enjoy the experience

The Cache is in place year-round. Visit for details and to start your own adventures!

The Sauerland Coin began its trip from Germany in 2012 and had traveled more than 23,000 miles when it reached the Route 66 Corridor. 

The Sauerland Coin began its trip from Germany in 2012 and had traveled more than 23,000 miles when it reached the Route 66 Corridor. 

Additional Programs

  • Merit Award for Business Improvements - given to local businesses who are expanding: physically or services
  • Elves Contest - Local Businesses are asked to sponsor a child in a fund raising competition to benefit a local charity. Details for this event will be posted when available.

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