Take a Moment Winners
Michelle was nominated by Bloomington resident Tina Smith. She who remembers what it was like to grow up in need, wanted to help families that sometimes fall through the cracks at Christmas time. She established an organization called Christmas Miracles. Securing donations of toys, clothing, and food, she began delivering holiday gifts to a few needy families in Bloomington-Normal. That number has grown steadily each year, and now after 10 years Michelle has helped provide a Christmas celebration to more than 500 families throughout McLean County.
"This is an amazing organiztion, and I am very proud to be a behind the scenes volunteer for this wondeful woman who has dedicated her time to make sure that every child she can help might be happy at Christmas"
The ‘Take A Moment Winner’ of August is a group of retirees from Laborers’ Local 362 here in Bloomington.
They were nominated by 362’s Business Manager Ronnie Paul.
For 2 years this group of 20 retirees have been donating several hours a week to help with the Midwest Food Bank. Every Tuesday, they put together some 1,200 delivery boxes, unpacked food from pallets, then repacked those same 1,200 boxes with foodstuffs for people in need.
Bob Hendricks, Consultant with the Tinervin Foundation, who oversees this program says, “We absolutely could not do what we do without them! In 2021 we fed over 5,000 families primarily in Bloomington-Normal and throughout central Illinois. These guys played a major role in making that possible. They are an outstanding and dedicated group of men!”
Thank you, Local 362 Retirees, for your commitment to feeding the hungry!
The ‘Take A Moment Winner’ of July is Todd Eades, a resident of Hudson. He was nominated by Paula Weiland of Normal. Being associated with the Bloomington Knockers Youth Football League for a number of years I’ve had the opportunity to work with many wonderful volunteers, however, there is one coach that comes to mind who recently retired after years of coaching. Todd Eades in fact, coached kids from age 8 through 14 for 32 years. Including practices and games that adds up to more than 300 hours per year, and a grand total of 9,600 hours dedicated to teaching more than 700 kids the game of football and sportsmanship. Todd says, “it’s been quite a rewarding experience to be a youth coach
and see firsthand young people learn the game, go on to high school ball, state championships, college football, NCAA championships, and a few into the pros. I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything in
Thank you, Todd, for your commitment to the youth of this
Dorothy was nominated by John Penn of Bloomington. According to John, “Everyone who knows Dorothy knows she is a true believer in giving back to the community.” Since 2008 she has been a dedicated volunteer, giving many hundreds of hours of her time at Holy Trinity’s St. Vincent de Paul Pantries in Bloomington. The pantry distributes food as well as clothing to nearly 200 people each week. She initially began by helping to start several hundred plants from seeds for the organization’s produce garden; a job she continues still today as Chair of the Garden Committee. Thanks to her efforts the St. Isidore pantry garden provides thousands of pounds of produce each year.
In addition, Dorothy is responsible for entering and filing information on the clients, finding recipes for them to use with the food products they receive, organizing truckloads of food and materials, and overseeing the many volunteers. It’s been said of her that, “Dorothy is the go-to person for the pantry. She’s the one who keeps the machine well oiled.”
Fourteen years of service to the needy of our community. Dorothy Deany is more than deserving for a moment of thanks and recognition!
Mary Jo Fowler
Mary was nominated by Kara Heuer of Normal, who said the following, "Mary Jo is a Lead Server at Jim’s Steakhouse and has worked there for 30 years. She considers her customers an extension of her family. She greets everyone with a smile is and is always attentive to their every need. During COVID, while restaurants were shut down, Mary Jo made sure her friends from Jim’s were taken care of and had a home-cooked meal, working from her own kitchen to supply hot meals. She picked up and delivered groceries for them and checked in with those who lived alone. At the height of the pandemic, Mary Jo ensured these folks did not remain isolated. There isn’t anyone I know who is kinder, more loving, or genuine than Mary Jo Fowler. She has a heart of gold and is an inspiration to all that know and love her."
Cindy was nominated by Lexi Jordan of Bloomington, who said the following, "My grandmother had been in declining health for the last year and a half and was eventually confined to her bed. Cindy took care of her during that time. She was so kind and caring and helped make the quality of her life much more comfortable. Grandma passed away in January, however, Cindy's patience and loving compassion, particularly during her final days, made all the difference during that very difficult time. My family and I will never be able to express our gratitude for her exceptional support. That's why I am taking a heartfelt moment to say, "Thank you, Cindy."
Kathy was nominated by a fellow AMVETS member, Art Rodriguez, who said the following, "The first woman AMVETS Department Commander in Illinois, Kathryn Rutledge has opened the door for countless women Veterans to participate equally in Veteran organizations across the state. She serves as a mentor for the McLean County Veterans Court, helping women Vets in trouble and facing challenges in their lives. Kathy has been the local commander of AMVETS for over 20 years and has participated in a number of Veteran Hospital events including the new mental health facility in Danville and the new Veterans Clinic in Bloomington."
Don was nominated by Randy Henkels, who said the following, "Don has helped me through my cancer surgery and treatment and took the time to take me to Champaign and Peoria as needed. He is always available for family and friends who might need something. He cleans and blows driveways for neighbors, especially those that are elderly and in need. He doesn't want and refuses remuneration for any of his efforts. I've never known a nicer, more helpful man than Don. He never refuses a favor from anyone in need."
Wendy was nominated by her neighbor, Debbie. During the pandemic, Wendy started sending postcards to people to let them know that they were being thought about, to cheer them, and to check in when people experienced very little human interaction. These postcards were handwritten and so meaningful and really cherished in a time of uncertainty. "Each time I opened the mailbox to see this surprise," said Debbie, "it brightened my day and reminded me how important maintaining connections, even in these unprecedented times, was and is. Every note warmed my heart, made me feel loved, and gave me a great, big smile!" Her efforts are SO appreciated!