Mike Pruitt, co-owner of in Grayslake, was nominated as one of The Outstanding Young People in Illinois. And on Saturday, May 12, he won top honors - the best of the best.
"I am more than humbled," said Pruitt, 29, of Round Lake.
This is the 47th year that the Illinois Jaycees have selected and honored outstanding young people from throughout the state. The prestigious TOYP Honors Program was held Saturday, May 12 at the Springfield Hilton.
The young professionals selected by the Jaycees had achieved success in a number of fields, including financial success and economic innovation, philanthropic contribution or voluntary service, politics or government service, scientific or technical contributions or legal reform and cultural achievement.
Pruitt was also named as one of The Outstanding Young Americans, making him one of the top 10 in the whole country. He will accept that award in Des Moines, Iowa on June 30.
Rebekka Herrington of the GLMV Jaycees nominated Pruitt for the awards.
"I nominated Michael for the award after meeting him at the Vine," Herrington said. "I was impressed and inspired by his contribution to the Oasis and his involvement in Carmel Street Scenes."
She said the scope of what he accomplished was "amazing."
"When I heard he was honored with the Volunteer of the Year Award from the Grayslake Chamber, I knew I had to nominate him for the TOYP/TOYA," Herrington said.
Joyce Campbell, State Farm agent and founder of , attended the Springfield event with her husband Jeff and Pruitt and his family.
"After reading the biographies and hearing the stories of the other nine winners, you could tell the quality of the winners was very high," Campbell said. "But even then, Mike stood out. Grayslake is very fortunate to have someone like Mike."
From organizing and promoting the annual Rib Cook Off and the Car Show for the Oasis/Grayslake Youth Center, to the Grayslake Farmers Market to being president-elect of the Exchange Club of Grayslake, Pruitt is the definition of "involved."
His mom, Kim Pruitt, said she was very proud of his efforts.
"He always wanted to open his own restaurant since he was 15," she said. "Through his work, he has reached out to other downtown business owners to help make the downtown have a stronger community feel. He includes everybody."
Pruitt hosted a head-shaving event to fund-raise for the St. Baldrick's Foundation to support research to cure children's cancer. Even that wasn't enough - he also shaved his own head.
Pruitt and his wife, Amy, have two young boys, Caleb, 4, and Wyatt, 18 months. Family and friends have stood behind Pruitt throughout his business success and community involvement.
"His dad and I are both very proud," said Kim Pruitt, of her husband Jerry. "Mike has done very well."