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Chamber names Salois its Citizen of the Year

Posted on Thursday, September 28, 2017 at 9:48 am

(Article originally published September 26, 2007. Subscribe to our archives at for as low as $3.95.)

Vandalia pharmacist Joe Salois was honored by the Vandalia Area Chamber of Commerce Friday night as its “Citizen of the Year.”
The award was presented by retired banker Jerry Zimmer to a surprised Salois, who suddenly realized why his parents, Paul and Betty Salois of Bowling Green, had decided to attend Friday night’s Prairie Days activities.
Salois and wife, Debbie, have owned Vandalia Drug for more than 12 years. They have two sons, Matt and Jeff, and a daughter-in-law, Gina.
Zimmer told those gathered for the announcement that Salois has been “an active leader of many organizations since his arrival to town.”
Salois has served as president of the Vandalia Area Chamber of Commerce, president of the Vandalia Optimist Club where he was solely responsible for bringing the circus to town, a member of Sacred Heart Catholic Church where he serves on the board and several committees and a member of the volunteer organization PATCH at the Women’s Eastern Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center.
Zimmer also praised Salois for being a monetary supporter of the Vandalia Area Fair Association auction as well as many other local organizations.
“He still finds time to golf and teach hunter-safety courses,” Zimmer added.
According to the Vandalia Area History Book, both Joe and Debbie Salois had earlier ties to Vandalia Drug. Joe Salois worked there for three summers while attending college. During one of those summers, Debbie Syler (now Salois) was working behind the soda fountain at the drug store. She declined to go out with Salois that summer but later agreed, and the couple was married in 1980.
When Salois graduated from college, according to the history book, drug-store owners John Fitzgerald and Hal Clinton told him, “If you ever feel like you would like to buy your own pharmacy, come talk to us.”
In 1995, the couple did.