Sponsored by Caterpillar
Mapleton Mayor Ken Oedewaldt was driving down the street when he noticed smoke coming from one of the oldest buildings in town. Inside, Mapleton Church sound coordinator Dave Peterson and his two daughters were setting up for a church gospel sing when they noticed smoke in the church. Peterson instructed his daughters to get out of the building while he grabbed a fire extinguisher and attempted to put out the blaze. He soon was overcome by smoke and collapsed on the floor.
A bystander flagged down Oedewaldt, who was driving nearby. Without thought for his own safety, Oedewaldt rushed into the burning church to find Peterson lying on the floor. He ran outside to catch his breath and then rushed back into the church to drag Peterson out of the church to safety. Oedewaldt showed what it means to be a hero and to think of others first.
Sponsored by Illinois Mutual
On July 18, 1994, Mary Scroggs' life forever changed. While outside enjoying lunch in front of the Caterpillar administration building, she was struck by a drunken driver. Although seriously injured and given less than a 1 percent chance of survival, she recovered. Left blind and disabled, she took comfort through an amazing network of family and friends and, most importantly, in her relationship with her husband and soulmate, Bob.
Mary’s inspirational story doesn’t end with this devastating tragedy. Four years ago she was dealt another blow when her beloved husband passed away. While Mary found life without Bob unbearable, she found the courage to deal with her challenges by helping others. She began speaking on behalf of drunken driving victims in 2006, and since then has dramatically affected the lives of thousands of people with her story. The effect her talk has on drunken drivers is intense and behavior-changing. Many leave her talk with tears in their eyes, promising Mary that they will live their lives differently. Mary has dealt with challenges many of us could never imagine, and at the same time has changed, and possibly saved, the lives of thousands.
Sponsored by Methodist Medical Center
As a young girl, Elizabeth Blair saw a man at her church as a hero and knew that someday she wanted to be like him. Fourteen years ago her dream was realized when she became a police officer. Since that time, Peoria Police Det. Blair has become a person who makes a difference in our community and is herself a hero to others.
Through her work in patrol, gang and property crimes units, she has successfully negotiated a young man off the McClugage Bridge, helping prevent him from taking his own life; helped solve a string of 100 residential burglaries; and served as a mentor and hostage negotiator. Her actions are forever embedded in the memories of those she assists, including a young woman whom Blair discovered covered in blood, screaming for help. She had been forced to drive her attacker around while he beat her up. Blair’s quick actions saved the life of this young woman. Valor is defined as “strength of mind or spirit that enables a person to encounter danger with firmness: personal bravery”. This definition embodies Det. Elizabeth Blair.
Sponsored by the Oak River Foundation
On August 8, 2007, 12-year-old Nicole McGill was sitting on the deck behind her home enjoying a beautiful summer day while her mother, Julie, stood nearby talking to a neighbor.
In an instant, everything about this idyllic afternoon changed. Julie suffered a seizure and fell backward into the family swimming pool. She was in danger of drowning. Instinctively, Nicole jumped into the pool and held her mother's head above water while calling for her neighbor, Jim Connor, and her younger brother, 9-year-old Bradley, to help.
She instructed Bradley to call 911 and told him what to tell the operator while Jim ran over and jumped in the pool to help Nicole. The pair held Julie’s head above water until a Tazewell County deputy arrived to help pull her out of the pool.
Nicole's heroic actions saved her mother's life.
Making a difference in his community is something 13-year-old Tayler McGillis takes to heart. Determination, drive and ambition to succeed are part of his daily life. Just one example is how Tayler turned a Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts campaign -- collecting and recycling 350 aluminum cans, and donating the money to Habitat for Humanity -- into a project that has raised more than $20,000. Thanks to Tayler, nearly all of his hometown businesses have a recycling box. But for Tayler, that’s not enough. His commitment to recycling extends to recycling aluminum garage doors, siding, foil and anything else he finds. He also walks miles and miles of country roads picking up cans.
Tayler has made every possible effort to do good for our community, and not just with recycling. His efforts continued as he and his family once spent eight hours picking up litter. Now, he’s on a mission to ensure that every household in his community has an energy-efficient light bulb. At age 13, Tayler could spend his time on the computer or playing video games, but instead he is making a difference, one aluminum can at a time, one light bulb at a time, and one piece of trash at a time.
311 W. John H. Gwynn Jr. Ave. Peoria, IL 61605 • Phone: (309) 677-7272 • Fax: (309) 677-7283
404 Ginger Bend Dr., Champaign, IL 61822 • Phone (217) 351-5861 • Fax: (217) 351-5937
P.O. Box 1992, Danville, IL 61834 • Phone (217) 431-5600