Celebrating the selfless efforts of Bureau and Putnam county residents who make their communities a great place to live
Published by the Bureau County Republican and the Putnam County Record
2 • Hometown Heroes 2018 Presidents Day Limited Time Savings!
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Town of residence: Princeton. How long have you lived there: 56 years. Age: 56. Family: Wife, Gerri; daughter, Danielle; grandson, Lane. What organization(s) do you volunteer for: Buddy Bags Inc. What activities do you do for the organization(s): President of the board; pack and deliver bags to the schools; restock shelves. How long have you served the organization(s): Six years. Why is volunteerism so important to you: It’s a way to give back to the community. I’m helping children in need and hopefully their family in a small way. What do you enjoy about your
Hometown Heroes 2018 • 3
Shaw Media photo/Dave Cook
community: The people, our civic organizations that work together and the churches. We all band together for the betterment of our community. How would you encourage others to get involved in volunteering: Find a cause you’re passionate about, seek out an organization involved in that area and join them. If there’s nothing, find others and start a group to help in your cause. How did you get involved with volunteering: I watched my dad, he has and still belongs to several organizations that help our community. Why do you volunteer: I learned very young it’s better to give. I have something to offer, I enjoy sharing it, and I’m filling a need.
How does volunteering make you feel: Blessed. What gaps do you see in your organization that need to be filled: We need more people to join our board and who can be called to fill in where necessary. What would people be surprised to know about you: I can tell them why seat belts on a school bus are not a good thing. What are your hobbies: Woodworking, and I just started teaching a Sunday school class. Additional comments: It’s a blessing to have lived in Princeton and raised my family here. We’re all blessed to live in a community that cares about others and is willing to help whether they know someone or not.
4 • Hometown Heroes 2018
Town of residence: Princeton. How long have you lived there: 10 years. Age: Retired and no longer counting. Family: Two sons, three grandsons — plus two Labrador retrievers and a mixed-breed dog. What organization(s) do you volunteer for: All Saints Anglican Church in Bolingbrook since October 2011. Perry Memorial Hospital since January 2012. What activities do you do for the organization(s): Edit and publish the church newsletter. Gold Coat — delivering mail and running errands. Why is volunteerism so important to you: I feel it is important to give back to the community — being retired on a fixed income, I don’t have a lot of cash to spare, but I do have plenty of time and a few “talents” to offer. What do you enjoy about your community: Small town atmosphere with many of the conveniences of a
city. Looked at several places before deciding to move here. Princeton had the basics I wanted: access to grocery stores (there were three at the time), health care, basic shopping facilities, entertainment, restaurants, etc. How would you encourage others to get involved in volunteering: I would definitely encourage others, especially retirees like myself, to get involved with volunteering. There are lots of different opportunities out there to suit a variety of interests, whether it is with a church, hospital, library, youth group or whatever. It doesn’t require a great deal of effort or research to find the right position to suit one’s individual talents. Why do you volunteer: Gold Coating provides me with plenty of exercise, an opportunity to meet people, a chance to socialize with like-minded souls I might not otherwise meet, and it gives me a reason to get out of bed in the morning.
How does volunteering make you feel: How does it make me feel? Tired! Seriously though, I can’t really say that I’ve ever thought about it. It is like any job, with ups and downs, elations and frustrations, but the positives must outweigh the negatives or I wouldn’t keep on going back! What gaps do you see in your organization that need to be filled: There always seems to be a shortage of Gold Coats, particularly at this time of year when a number of our regulars are vacationing in Florida, which puts an additional work load on those remaining, and we aren’t getting any younger! What would people be surprised to know about you: I rather think a number of people will be surprised that I’ve agreed to take part in this in the first place! What are your hobbies: Reading, knitting, activities with my dogs, cooking.
Hometown Heroes 2018 • 5
Town of residence: Mark. How long have you lived there: Since late July 2017. Age: 16. Family: Martina, Mom; Enrique, Dad; Jazmin and Alicia, sisters; and Enrique, little brother. What organization(s) do you volunteer for: I worked concession stands for volleyball games, the food pantry in Lacon, kettle corn in Princeton, breakfast events, and afterschool tutoring in the middle school. What activities do you do for the organization(s): In the food pantry we put boxes of food together for families who don’t have much. I went to the middle school and helped them with their homework, and I also popped popcorn for a kettle corn business in Princeton. How long have you served the
Shaw Media photo/Dave Cook
organization(s): I started as soon as I got to PCHS, so around August of 2017. Why is volunteerism so important to you: I feel as a teenager we need to see how society works, how the world is outside of high school. What do you enjoy about your community: It is very quiet and small. I feel like I have so many opportunities. How would you encourage others to get involved in volunteering: I’d tell my peers it’s a good feeling, knowing you’re not getting in trouble, but you’re helping someone and they’re appreciating you. It’s a very good feeling. How did you get involved with volunteering: My mom has always encouraged me to give back to the community in every way I can. She’s
my motivation. Why do you volunteer: I do it because it opens my eyes to see how the world is, I love to give back, and I want to be a good role model for my siblings. How does volunteering make you feel: Giving back is such a great feeling. I learned, and still am learning, that people really do appreciate it when you make an effort to do something good for the community. What would people be surprised to know about you: I enjoy seeing historical artifacts, I love to learn about history. I’m planning to involve history in my college career. I also am planning to involve art in future. What are your hobbies: I love to draw, paint, do makeup and learn new things.
6 • Hometown Heroes 2018
Shaw Media photo/Lyle Ganther
Town of residence: LaMoille. How long have you lived there: 16 years. Age: 56. Family: Mike (husband), Dominic, Joseph, Carol. What organization(s) do you volunteer for: Red Coat at St. Margaret’s Hospital. What activities do you do for the organization(s): Push wheelchairs, answer questions, run papers. How long have you served the organization(s): Four years. Why is volunteerism so important to you: I like to help people and to
Places to volunteer Animal rescue shelters Local animal shelters almost always need volunteers. Brush up your office skills by
talk with them. It also feels good to do something to help out the hospital. What do you enjoy about your community: The Illinois Valley is a great place, and full of nice people. How would you encourage others to get involved in volunteering: If you have the time and don’t like sitting around, volunteer. You work with a nice bunch of people and meet some, and help out a great hospital. How did you get involved with volunteering: My sons were volunteering during the summers while in
high school, and really enjoyed it. I was looking for something to do, so here I am. Why do you volunteer: It makes me feel like I’m doing something good and helping people out. How does volunteering make you feel: Great. What gaps do you see in your organization that need to be filled: Not enough Red Coats to cover all shifts or even have more than two Red Coats working at a time. What are your hobbies: Coloring, sewing, flower arranging, painting, cooking.
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Hometown Heroes 2018 • 7
Jean Skutt Town of residence: Granville. How long have you lived there: 48 years. Age: 76. Family: Widowed, with three sons. What organization(s) do you volunteer for: Granville United Church of Christ (UCC) and the Putnam County Community Center (PCCC). What activities do you do for the organization(s): UCC’s Women’s Fellowship and taught Sunday school; and vice president of the site council for the PCCC and help plan events and do whatever is needed. How long have you served the organization(s): UCC — 30 years; PCCC — 20 years. Why is volunteerism so important to you: Doing things for others and helping out is something I enjoy very much. What do you enjoy about your community: The people in a small town. How would you encourage others to get involved in volunteering: I think everyone should give it a try at least once. But to continue, you really have to want to do it. The rewarding feeling you get from it makes it worth it. How did you get involved with volunteering: I started in my teens with the church by teaching Sunday school
Shaw Media photo/Dave Cook
and then started doing other volunteering. Why do you volunteer: I’ve always enjoyed it. How does volunteering make you feel: It makes me feel good. What gaps do you see in your organization that need to be filled: None. What are your hobbies: I enjoy working in my yard, and I also like to read.
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8 • Hometown Heroes 2018
Steve Bouslog Town of residence: Princeton. How long have you lived there: 37 years. Age: 66. Family: Wife, Carla; four children; six grandchildren (three in Princeton, three in Arizona). What organization(s) do you volunteer for: Princeton Elementary School Board of Education; Princeton Rotary Club; Board of Directors, Chamber of Commerce; Bureau County Historical Society; and Youth Service Bureau (YSB). What activities do you do for the organization(s): PES Board — past president for 12 years; Rotary Club — current board member; Chamber of Commerce — current president of the board; BCHS — board member; and YSB — past president of the foundation board and current vice president of the board of directors. How long have you served the organization(s): PES Board — 23 years; Rotary — 24 years in Princeton and seven in Genoa; Chamber of Commerce Board — three years; BCHS — two years; YSB — seven years. Why is volunteerism so important to you: I enjoy working with other board members for the betterment of the organization, and I’m committed to the mission they serve. I want to give back to a community that has given my family so much. What do you enjoy about your community: Working with other members; seeing projects come to fruition; friendships that have developed. You always get back more than you put into it. How would you encourage others to get involved in volunteering: Look for a cause you feel is important or a mission perhaps that has touched your life in some fashion. Look beyond the work or time commitment. Try to see the bigger picture of what your contribution of energy and time will do for you fellow citizens. Start with your church or a civic club like Jaycees or Junior Women’s, or link up with an organization that has a mission you find interesting, like history, for example. How did you get involved with
Shaw Media photo/Dave Cook
volunteering: My parents were volunteers, so it was part of how I was raised. Why do you volunteer: It’s important for our community and society as a whole. Many non-profit organizations have limited resources, so its mission relies on volunteers to be successful. How does volunteering make you feel: Sometimes tired, and frustrated — but always rewarding! What gaps do you see in your organization that need to be filled: All of the organizations with which I currently work need younger people
to step up and get involved. What would people be surprised to know about you: I’m a HUGE Cardinals fan (I think almost everyone knows that by now); I love history and traveling to historic sites (Gettysburg is awesome); I’m a politics junkie; love movies; and my new year’s resolution is to read a book a month. (December’s was “Assassination Generation,” January is “Richest Man in Babylon,” and February will be “Shoe Dog.”) What are your hobbies: Golf, watching the Cardinals, and being outside.
Hometown Heroes 2018 • 9
Loretta Story Town of residence: Peru. How long have you lived there: Lifelong resident. Age: 76. Family: Widowed (husband Joseph), nine children with spouses, 29 grandchildren. What organization(s) do you volunteer for: St. Margaret’s Hospital gift shop. What activities do you do for the organization(s): Clerk in gift shop. How long have you served the organization(s): Almost eight years. Why is volunteerism so important to you: I enjoy people and helping them. What do you enjoy about your community: My “roots” are here. I love the area and am very content and happy here. How would you encourage others to get involved in volunteering: Appreciate what you have and share your gifts and talents with others, especially those in need. How did you get involved with volunteering: It began as a paying job and when that ended, I decided to remain as a volunteer because I so enjoyed what I did and the people around me. It gives me a feeling of fulfillment! Why do you volunteer: I have the time, and I want to “give back.”
Shaw Media photo/Lyle Ganther
How does volunteering make you feel: I feel grateful that I can be of use to others, plus I have learned so much from others. I have received far more than what I give. What gaps do you see in your organization that need to be filled: We need volunteers! What are your hobbies: My family! Plus I enjoy gardening, reading and spending time with friends.
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10 • Hometown Heroes 2018
Donald (Skinner) Moriarty
Shaw Media photo/Lyle Ganther
Town of residence: Mark. How long have you lived there: 75 years. Age: 77. Family: Wife — Judy (also a volunteer), son — Mike, daughter — Vicki. What organization(s) do you volunteer for: St. Margaret’s (Red Coats), American Legion (funeral honor guard). What activities do you do for the organization(s): Whatever is asked of me! How long have you served the organization(s): 15 years (Red Coat); lifetime Legion member. Why is volunteerism so important to you: Pay back for my good
Places to volunteer Habitat for Humanity Habitat for Humanity offers various locally targeted volunteer opportunities. If you have
health thus far and to assist in some way those less fortunate! What do you enjoy about your community: Small town living, good friends and neighbors. Access to necessary facilities, hospitals, ambulance, shopping areas, etc. How would you encourage others to get involved in volunteering: Helping others is very satisfying and appreciated by the hospital staff as well as the patients! Volunteer help is always needed due to age-related turnover, etc. How did you get involved with volunteering: I was encouraged by my wife and some former friends who were volunteers to help others as long as I am able!
Why do you volunteer: I see the need here at the hospital more and more the longer I am here! How does volunteering make you feel: I feel a sense of pride in helping others as well as being thankful that I can still do it. What gaps do you see in your organization that need to be filled: I see a need for more Red Coat volunteers here as well as other departments needing volunteers! What would people be surprised to know about you: I don’t feel that I would surprise anyone that really knows me. I am who and what I am. What are your hobbies: Golf, fishing, hunting, card playing, socializing with friends and neighbors.
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Hometown Heroes 2018 â€˘ 11
Susan Lucas Town of residence: Princeton. How long have you lived there: 56 years. Age: 61. Family: Parents, Connie and Wayne Anderson; brother, Steve; one brother- and four sisters-in-law; and nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles and cousins. What organization(s) do you volunteer for: Perry Memorial Hospital Auxiliary. What activities do you do for the organization(s): I work in the gift shop at least eight hours a week. I am secretary of the Auxiliary, co-chair of the Candy Cane event and baker for our bake sales. How long have you served the organization(s): Nine plus years, this is my second stint as a member. Why is volunteerism so important to you: I like to be helpful and give back to my community.
See SUSAN LUCAS, Page 13
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12 â€˘ Hometown Heroes 2018
Town of residence: Spring Valley. How long have you lived there: 46 plus years. Age: 71. Family: Frank, spouse; four children, Mary Frances, Andy, Margret and Steve, all JFK grads; and 11 grandchildren. What organization(s) do you volunteer for: JFK, Project Success, Ravs of Nativity of Our Lord. What activities do you do for the organization(s): Work with kindergarten children, stock shelves, take customers around, make dough, ravs and meat. How long have you served the organization(s): Six plus years. Why is volunteerism so important to you: I enjoy helping others and I enjoy working with children.
Shaw Media photo/Lyle Ganther
What do you enjoy about your community: People are genuine â€” there are many opportunities. How would you encourage others to get involved in volunteering: Think of what you like and continue to do something about it. How did you get involved with volunteering: I have always tried to help others. I come from a community that took care of each other and extended a hand. It rubbed off. Why do you volunteer: I get much satisfaction seeing people smile and do the best they can. How does volunteering make you feel: Happy and good. You meet such nice and good people. What gaps do you see in your organization that need to be filled: We
need to have more people involved. What would people be surprised to know about you: I was a Girl Scout leader for eight years. I helped develop a Health Care Needs Survey for Bureau County. We had representatives from every township go to homes and complete the survey to get 98 percent return. The result is the VNA ( Visiting Nurses Association) in Princeton today. It has had various changes since 1976. What are your hobbies: I like to walk, read, sew, and be with family and grandkids. Children are fun and our future. I like helping and watching them grow. I like gardening and canning foods from the garden. I also like sports, playing cards and traveling.
Hometown Heroes 2018 • 13
Lexie Alt Town of residence: Princeton. How long have you lived there: About 10 years. Age: 14. Family: My mom, Emelyn; my dad, Kevin; and my sister, Sophie. What organization(s) do you volunteer for: Princeton Public Library and other small organizations. What activities do you do for the organization(s): I organize, sort and clean various items. How long have you served the organization(s): About four months. Why is volunteerism so important to you: Because I like the business environment and enjoy helping out. What do you enjoy about your community: I enjoy the smallness and familiarity of Princeton. How would you encourage others to get involved in volunteering: Everything goes a long way and every little action can help so many people. How did you get involved with volunteering: I enjoy libraries, so I signed up. Why do you volunteer: I enjoy knowing I helped people. How does volunteering make you feel: It makes me feel really good to know I helped people. What gaps do you see in your organization that need to be
• SUSAN LUCAS Continued from Page 11 What do you enjoy about your community: Always something to do if you know where to look. How would you encourage others to get involved in volunteering: Invite a friend to help with a small effort and encourage them to volunteer as their schedule allows. How did you get involved with
Places to volunteer Red Cross The American Red Cross offers an extensive list of positions that can help those in need
Shaw Media photo/Dave Cook
filled: Maybe another person to do what I do, but not a lot of people enjoy it. What would people be surprised to know about you: If you don’t know me, I’m a total goof-ball.
What are your hobbies: I enjoy band (alto saxophone); softball; reading; spending time with my friends and family and making them laugh; and I’m also a really good listener.
volunteering: I began baking for sales and it grew into assisting in projects and evolved as I retired. The gift shop had a need for coverage, so I offered my time and became a board member in the process. Why do you volunteer: Volunteering keeps me busy now since I am retired. How does volunteering make you feel: Useful. What gaps do you see in your
organization that need to be filled: The Auxiliary can always use bakers for bake sales, and volunteers to set up and man the Candy Cane event. Gift shop work hours are available, too. What would people be surprised to know about you: I am a night owl. I love to bake, and during the holidays I’m busy fulfilling yeast coffee cake orders for friends. What are your hobbies: Baking, reading and crocheting.
and bolster your resume at the same time. If you don’t feel like giving blood, why not greet and assist customers looking to do so? Your skills may make you a good fit for grant writing, performing clerical tasks, or managing
other volunteers. If you’ve got the drive, you can draw on any number of talents to help the Red Cross — who would turn down free labor from a passionate volunteer? Source: moneycrashers.com.
14 • Hometown Heroes 2018
Sarah Loveland Kreofsky Town of residence: Rural Spring Valley, after growing up in Peru and then living in Minnesota for 31 years. How long have you lived there: 10 years. Age: 65. Family: Three adult sons and a new grandson, as well as four siblings and their families living in the area. What organization(s) do you volunteer for: Illinois Valley Animal Rescue; I-Read Literacy tutoring through IVCC; driving for Mobile Meals, now coordinated by IVCIL in Peru; and I regularly donate blood at the Red Cross. What activities do you do for the organization(s): IVAR: I started writing thank-you notes for donations, then added cat building cleaning and care. I like sewing, so I design and sew the seasonal fabric hammocks hanging in our cat pens. I also do both inside and outside maintenance jobs. I’ve also fostered a few dogs and sponsored medical attention for some at-risk cats and helped get them adopted, which is a pleasure for me. I’ve learned I can volunteer and not be compelled to take every needy animal home. It’s not a sad place, it’s a safe and well run way station before adoption and a real home. How long have you served the organization(s): 10 years. Why is volunteerism so important to you: Like most of the volunteers at IVAR, I do these things because I enjoy them and they’re important to the animals and the community. The biggest pleasures of retirement are having the time, energy and skills to be useful, productive and knowing each day will see something good accomplished. The three groups I volunteer for provide variety, and that’s a must for me. Problem solving for each keeps things fresh and interesting, too. What do you enjoy about your community: I love being back home in the area of my childhood. The years in Minnesota were wonderful and full of work and fun, but being back amid my family is terrific.
See SARAH KREOFSKY, Page 15
Shaw Media photo/Dave Cook
Hometown Heroes 2018 • 15
• SARAH KREOFSKY
the time and am pretty high-energy. The other volunteers are all like-minded people, and we all support each other. How does volunteering make you feel: Useful and compatible. What gaps do you see in your organization that need to be filled: There’s always a need for responsible, dependable and organized people. When there aren’t enough hands to go around or take a break, burnout is a frequent outcome. A shelter can only do what it has the hands and funding to do, so get in there and be a positive help. If not you, then who? Until you’re active in an organization, you probably don’t understand the constraints and reality. We’re blessed to have people who respond to our pleas for supplies, water, supplements, bedding and financial help with sudden emergencies and other one-of-a-kind requests. What would people be surprised to know about you: I’d have made a good and fulfilled janitor or main-
Continued from Page 14 How would you encourage others to get involved in volunteering: There’s so much available time if people would get off their phones and away from their TVs. The real world needs real action, real hands and real problems solved. I’ll bet there’s a local volunteer opportunity for nearly every interest and skill, and if it isn’t exactly what you thought it would be, being stretched and challenged can be good exercise. How did you get involved with volunteering: My husband died eight years ago, shortly after we built our home and moved to Spring Valley, so my time became my own to plan and fill. After the all-consuming years of owning and operating a business, retirement loomed open and free. I only sit to read; staying busy with activities I love is way more fun. Why do you volunteer: I have
tenance person had I not trained to be a teacher and then later, run a business for 25 years. What are your hobbies: I’ve always been a gardener, with primarily perennials, but also vegetables for canning and preserving. That led me into beekeeping four years ago. With brothers and a son living nearby who also enjoy this, they’ve given me counsel, and it’s been a huge learning project and very satisfying. At night I read, and the Spring Valley Public Library is an amazing resource. Additional comments: During the application for long-term care insurance about 10 years ago, I was asked about hobbies and interests. Having a good batch of them was a huge plus, as they’re a good insulator against loneliness and cognitive decline, which often lead to the need for long-term care. Volunteering is a perfect win-win, both for the fun, results and satisfaction today, and the better chances of staving off problems ahead.
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16 â€˘ Hometown Heroes 2018
Donna Braida Town of residence: Princeton. How long have you lived there: Over 55 years. Age: 63. Family: I am the daughter of Ralph (the late Pat) Rod. I have five siblings, Duane, Darwin, Dale, Dawn and Diane; three great children, Amanda (Matt) Pearson, Dustin (Kendra) Wolford and Jodi (Royce) Fundell; and seven wonderful grandchildren. What organization(s) do you volunteer for: Perry Memorial Hospital Auxiliary, PMH gift shop, the Jay Braida Memorial Golf Outing and St. Matthews Lutheran Church. What activities do you do for the organization(s): I have held many positions in the Auxiliary, including past president, Membership, Scholarship Committee, Nominating Committee and the list goes on. How long have you served the organization(s): I have been an official member for 29 years, but helped my mom with the Auxiliary Antique Show when I was in high school. Why is volunteerism so important to you: There is a lot of need out there to help with the hospital and employee needs that are not always covered in the budget. We work hard with fundraisers, like jewelry sale, bake sale, book sales, Candy Cane, gift shop open house, Mudd Cross, Tour of Homes and anything we can do to help raise money to buy needed equipment for the hospital. What do you enjoy about your community: I love growing up and being a part of a small community and the friendliness and generosity of the people in this area.
See DONNA BRAIDA, Page 17
Places to volunteer Retirement homes Retirees love an exciting new lecture to attend or class to teach them something fun and interesting, so be creative and develop
a program that shows off your skills. Are you good at public speaking, or do you want to get better at it? Ask to recite some famous historical speeches, or to moderate a poetry reading. If youâ€™re good with computers, lend your
services and teach senior citizens how to perform basic or intermediate computer tasks. Chances are, they want to learn, but no one has ever taken the time to give them the proper instruction. Source: moneycrashers.com.
Hometown Heroes 2018 • 17
Places to volunteer Local libraries Libraries typically need help organizing shelves and assisting patrons, and you may also be of help setting up and running public events, such as author signings and book fairs.
• DONNA BRAIDA Continued from Page 16 How would you encourage others to get involved in volunteering: It gets you out of the house and gives you a great feeling of worth, that you don’t need to get paid for. Your time and talents, no matter how great or small, are appreciated. And the great people you meet along the way. How did you get involved with volunteering: My parents and grandparents were BIG influences I my life. And coming from a big family, we all had to pitch in, and
Ask your local library if you can help design flyers or copy edit ads, and put that experience on your resume. Museums If you’re artistically inclined, working in a museum can be an invaluable experience. You can surround yourself with timeless works of
art, soak up knowledge and acquire administrative skills all at the same time. Get involved in the community by volunteering for family programs and children’s activities at your local museum, and once you build up your knowledge base, you may qualify to be a tour guide or event planner. Source: moneycrashers.com.
didn’t get paid. Why do you volunteer: I love it and enjoy helping others. I guess that is the nurse in me — and don’t know any different way to be than the person that I am. How does volunteering make you feel: It is very rewarding. I can walk around the hospital and see all the things the Auxiliary has had a hand in. Donating money from our different fundraisers to buy equipment, wheelchairs, helping with renovations of different areas of the hospital, and the list goes on and on. What gaps do you see in your organization that need to be filled: There are a lot of volunteer oppor-
tunities here at Perry that the hospital and staff appreciate. We are always in need of more volunteers. What would people be surprised to know about you: I sing opera. (No, just kidding.) I am a gabber and tell stories of some of my past experiences in my life and health care career, so I don’t think I would surprise anyone. Just ask my friends and co-workers. What are your hobbies: I love being outside, working in my yard, sewing and mending for my family, and being with my kids and grandkids and trying to spoil them and give them some great memories? They know I am the crazy grandma.
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Town of residence: Princeton. How long have you lived there: Born and raised in Princeton. Family: Wife, Diane; daughter, Sarah Bouska, and son-in-law, Duane Bouska, of Mason City, Iowa. and their children, Nevaeh, Korbin, Micah and Emerson. What organization(s) do you volunteer for: St. Matthews Lutheran Church , Princeton in Princeton Rotary, Perry Memorial Hospital, Perry Memorial Hospital Foundation, Greenfield Retirement Home, Princeton Public Schools Foundation. What activities do you do for the organization(s): St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church, Princeton, past council chair and council member, and various church committees. Princeton Rotary, past president and board member, various committees.
Shaw Media photo/Jim Dunn
Gary Bruce of Bruce Jewelers in Princeton poses with two pieces of jewelry that he is donating to help raise funds at the Rotary Club of Princeton Auction on April 7. At left is a Sterling Silver “Motion” Tanzanite and Diamond Pendant. The tanzanite weighs ½ carat, and the pendant includes a sterling silver 18-inch curb link chain. At right is a Sterling Silver Victorian Slide Bracelet. The seven-inch mesh style bracelet features three sterling silver stone set slides of amethyst, synthetic alexandrite and white topaz. Perry Memorial Hospital, board member and committee assignments. Perry Memorial Hospital Foundation, board member, recently
retired from this board; Emergency Room Renovation. Greenfield Retirement Home, past president, board member. Princeton Public Schools Foundation, past president and board member, retired; Auditorium Renovation Campaign. How long have you served the organization(s): St. Matthews Lutheran Church, member, 65 years. Princeton Rotary, 27 years. Perry Memorial Hospital and Foundation, 14 years. Greenfield Retirement Home, 23 years. Why is volunteerism so important to you: I regard the service as an opportunity to give back and thank the community for their patronage of our business, friendship and support of our family.
See GARY BRUCE, Page 19
Hometown Heroes 2018 • 19
Places to volunteer Parks Volunteering at a park means more than just cleaning up litter. If you’re a history buff or a naturalist, you can explore opportunities
• GARY BRUCE Continued from Page 18 What do you enjoy about your community: Princeton has an exceptional blend of community pride, professional services and a spirit of community service. This is a great place to live and raise a family. How would you encourage others to get involved in volunteering: Community service returns benefits many times greater than the time or financial commitment. The finest people I have become acquainted with were a result of an offer to serve. I enjoy getting to know these people and the organizations they serve. Volunteer and you well feel better about
to work at fascinating sites maintained by the area park services. Food pantries Food pantries can always use a helping hand organizing a local food drive, raising money or simply handing out food to those in
need. Offer any specific skills you may have, such as copy editing, data entry or whatever you’re best at, and you can be of great value to these organizations. Check out FoodPantries.org to search for one near you. Source: moneycrashers.com.
yourself and your community. How did you get involved with volunteering: A personal request for service and with the assurance that my time and commitment would make a difference. Why do you volunteer: Sometimes volunteering means a financial commitment or donation to those who provide service to organizations with a mission, know-how and a plan to reach a charitable goal. Our business supports the efforts of others whose time and commitment are priceless. How does volunteering make you feel: There is always an opportunity to reflect on the accomplishments of a group of dedicated people. What gaps do you see in your organization that need to be filled:
All organizations need a broader range of ideas from a diverse membership base. What would people be surprised to know about you: My mother’s family was among the first settlers in Bureau County. Members of my family have owned various businesses on Main Street in Princeton for about 120 years. What are your hobbies: I enjoy golf. It is always a challenge to find the time and a golf partner who is as poor a golfer as I am. Additional comments: My wife, staff and patrons of our business have made our pledges of service and financial support to various organizations possible. I cannot thank them enough.
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20 • Hometown Heroes 2018
Town of residence: Princeton. How long have you lived there: Five years. Age: Forty something. Family: Dog, Chili T. Dog. What organization(s) do you volunteer for: The Optimist Club. What activities do you do for the organization(s): The organization participates in a number of activities to promote youth development within the community. How long have you served the organization(s): Four years. Why is volunteerism so important to you: It is important to get out and interact with others who share a common goal to provide a positive vision for our community. What do you enjoy about your
Shaw Media photo/Jim Dunn
community: The abundance of cultural and social activity available throughout the year. How would you encourage others to get involved in volunteering: I would suggest that people check it out. There are many groups with different missions, objectives and visions. They should choose the one that best suits them. How did you get involved with volunteering: I observed the different groups and found one that I was comfortable with as far as the group’s purpose, outlook and presence in the community. Why do you volunteer: I enjoy the camaraderie and regular interaction with others and never fail to learn
something from them at every meeting and event. How does volunteering make you feel: Volunteering is fulfilling in that you can see the benefits when a group gets together to work for a common goal. It is humbling. What gaps do you see in your organization that need to be filled: We are always looking for more members. What would people be surprised to know about you: I’m a picky eater. What are your hobbies: Santa brought me a nanny cam, so my current hobby is spying on my dog when I’m not at home. She is not that interesting, so I may be in the market for a new hobby soon.
Hometown Heroes 2018 • 21
Volunteering helps others, boosts health There’s something gratifying about volunteering. We already know about the mental health benefits of volunteering. Studies have shown that volunteering helps people who donate their time feel more socially connected, thus warding off loneliness and depression. But I was surprised to learn that volunteering has positive implications that go beyond mental health. A growing body of evidence suggests that people who give their time to others might also be rewarded with better physical health — including lower blood pressure and a longer lifespan. Evidence of volunteerism’s physical effects can be found in a recent study from Carnegie Mellon University, published in Psychology and Aging. Adults over age 50 who volunteered on a regular basis were less likely to develop high blood pressure than non-volunteers. High blood pressure is an important indicator of
health because it contributes to heart disease, stroke and premature death. It’s impossible for this study to prove that volunteering was directly responsible for the lower blood pressure readings. People who volunteer may be more likely to do other things, like eat a healthy diet or exercise, that lower blood pressure. But the results are in line with other findings on the topic. How might volunteering contribute to lower blood pressure? Performing volunteer work could increase physical activity among people who aren’t otherwise very active, says lead study author Rodlescia Sneed, a doctoral candidate in social and health psychology at Carnegie Mellon University. It may also reduce stress. “Many people find volunteer work to be helpful with respect to stress reduction, and we know that stress is very strongly linked to health outcomes,” she says.
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As with any activity thought to improve health, researchers are trying to identify the specific characteristics of volunteering that provide the greatest benefit. In the Carnegie Mellon study, 200 hours of volunteering per year correlated to lower blood pressure. Other studies have found a health benefit from as little as 100 hours of volunteering a year. Which types of volunteer activities improve health the most? No one really knows. Sneed speculates that mentally stimulating activities, like tutoring or reading, might be helpful for maintaining memory and thinking skills, while “activities that promote physical activity would be helpful with respect to cardiovascular health, but no studies have really explored this.” Source: Stephanie Watson, executive editor, Harvard Women’s Health Watch.
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22 • Hometown Heroes 2018
Mary Jane Peterson-Thornton
Town of residence: Henry. How long have you lived there: On and off for 43 years. Age: 66. Family: Husband, Jim; son, Joe; son, Al; and grandchildren, Olivia, Scarlett, Hailey and Alex. What organization(s) do you volunteer for: Gateway Services; CHARACTER COUNTS!; Girl Scout Brownie Troop 1017; Veterans’ Walk at Stoner Park; the Henry Food Pantry; and the Henry Ecumenical vacation Bible school. What activities do you do for the organization(s): I plan and teach art at the Henry Gateway site; write news articles, photograph and prepare art displays at the Marshall-Putnam Fair and the ARC exhibit; am a board member and assist with CHARACTER COUNTS! events; organize the Veterans’ Walk and help post more than 1,000 flags;
Shaw Media photo/Dave Cook
pack food at the food pantry; and teach crafts at the Bible school. How long have you served the organization(s): Four years with Gateway, eight years with CHARACTER COUNTS!, 13 years with the Veterans’ Walk, three years with the food pantry, three years with the Girl Scouts, and more than 25 years with the Bible school. Why is volunteerism so important to you: I believe it’s my duty to share the gifts, talents and time I have, and I feel a responsibility to give back to the community that’s been so good to me, my family and my students. What do you enjoy about your community: I enjoy the small-town feeling and mutual support organizations receive from the Henry community. I was privileged to be able to teach three generations of students during my 36-year teaching career at Henry-Senachwine Grade School.
During those years and since, I’ve received tremendous support. I’ve always found if there’s a need and the community was aware, it’d be filled somehow, some way, by someone. This is a very giving community. How would you encourage others to get involved in volunteering: Evaluate your strengths, talents and interests and find an organization or cause you can be passionate about. Mine include teaching art, working with children and honoring our military, so that’s where I direct my volunteer efforts. How did you get involved with volunteering: My first efforts began once I had children of my own. I enjoyed helping with the activities and organizations my sons were involved in.
See MARY JANE PETERSON-THORNTON, Page 23
• MARY JANE PETERSONTHORNTON Continued from Page 22 I was the fundraising chairperson for Marshall County Youth Football for nine years, and a Cub Scout and Boy Scout leader for 15 years. After retiring from teaching in 2010, I had more time to pursue more of my volunteer passions and try some new ones, like working with individuals served by Gateway. Why do you volunteer: Even at the age of 66, I feel I have a lot more to give and a lot more life left in me. I was diagnosed with follicular lymphoma in 2008 and have been in remission since 2009. I feel truly blessed to be alive and active and intend to keep going and doing as long as I can. How does volunteering make you feel: I get such a sense of satisfaction from doing something I enjoy that also brings enjoyment to someone else or helps someone who’s perhaps less fortunate.
Hometown Heroes 2018 • 23 What gaps do you see in your organization that need to be filled: Every organization I’ve ever been involved with is in need of volunteers, including Gateway Services. What would people be surprised to know about you: I’ve painted some demo derby cars, and my favorite TV show is “The Walking Dead.” What are your hobbies: When I’m not volunteering, I enjoy scrapbooking, flea markets, thrift store shopping, activities with my granddaughter Olivia, watching the Bears, and teaching art part-time at Malden Grade School and Bradford Grade School. Additional comments: When I retired from teaching, I never imagined I’d be volunteering to teach art to adults with disabilities and that I’d love it so much. It’s been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Even if I’ve had a difficult day when I arrive at Gateway, I leave feeling appreciated and loved by the individuals who attend the day program at the Henry site. The smiles on their faces, the greetings they give me, and the satisfaction and pride
Places to volunteer Political campaigns If you’re passionate about politics, consider lending your support to a local candidate you feel good about. No politician gets elected without volunteers manning the phones, distributing fliers, raising money and answering emails. This kind of work can provide you with valuable experience on many levels and can be applied to a host of different industries. Source: moneycrashers.com. they display after completing a work of art makes my day. I’ve seen such growth in their work and a feeling of confidence since I first began with them. Several of our Gateway artists have received ribbons at the M-P Fair, exhibited their art at The Arc of Illinois Convention and The Coffee Hub, and have even sold some of their artwork. No matter what I’ve been able to give these very special individuals through my volunteering, I’ve received so much more from my experiences with them.
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