Meet the nominees for the 2015 Extraordinary Ordinary Men of the Year Awards! Each of these men have been nominated for the contributions they have made to improve our community while behind the scenes. We cannot wait for you to meet them!
If you haven't already, plan on attending the 2015 Awards Dinner and purchase your tickets now!
Mr. Anderson has brought new life to the local Boys & Girls Club of Bloomington-Normal. He served as a volunteer to the club during his college years and now holds the executive leadership role. The Boys & Girls Club of Bloomington-Normal, once a struggling organization, is now thriving under the guidance and leadership of Mr. Anderson. He believes every child should feel empowered and be given opportunities to make good choices that will allow them to succeed. Through his tireless efforts, the Boys & Girls Club now has reached membership capacity for the very first time in its existence. A leader, a mentor, a motivator, and a relentless volunteer, Mr. Anderson is a shining example of what one person can accomplish when success is the only option.
Mr. Anderson created and has organized more than 100 Adventures Benefiting Children Runs (ABC Runs) in Bloomington-Normal. Over the past ten years, ABC Runs has generated over $90,000, benefitting twenty-seven local (27) charities including St. Jude Research, Children Protection Network and The Baby Fold. In August 2015, the 111th run to benefit the Seedling Theatre raised more than $2,300. Mr. Anderson volunteers his time and resources for each event, mapping out the route, providing drinks, and collecting donations. He is instrumental in keeping the runners motivated with awards and prizes. Thanks to Mr. Anderson’s dedication, ABC Runs has provided thousands of dollars of support to community organizations that desperately need it.
Dr. Beck has influenced this community, the state, and the world in countless ways, including his work in the Sociology Department at ISU, and even more importantly through his world-spanning work with the Stevenson Center and his work with Peace Corps volunteers. He has provided data to the Criminal Justice Coordination Council, worked on the Normal Uptown Redevelopment, the Economic Development Council, and the West Bloomington Revitalization Partnership. Dr. Beck volunteers his time with the Boy Scouts, at St. Mary’s, washing dishes at Chef’s for PATH, and helps local projects such as the Green Grocery and Ecology Action Center. He is a quiet leader, devoted to his family, his faith community, and the education and development of children and young adults.
Mr. Bergethon is a familiar face and voice throughout the community. He has been the General Manager of WGLT Public Radio for the past 25 years. During Mr. Bergethon’s tenure, WGLT has undergone many changes that have made it an invaluable part of the Bloomington-Normal community. As a member of the ISU Faculty in the School of Communications, he is passionate about student mentorship and internship opportunities. Aside from his work responsibilities, Mr. Bergethon performs unselfish acts of service to others and exhibits a giving spirit in the community. He serves as a moderator, volunteer, and host for an array of community events and has been actively involved in civic organizational leadership roles.
Mr. Bhende is committed to adding value to his community whether it is for his family, work, or non-profit organizations. As a manager, he is known as a systems thinker and servant leader. Mr. Bhende played a key role in a Bloomington West Side Recycling Awareness program, has served as a board member for both the Ecology Action Center and Multicultural Leadership Program, participated in wheelchair basketball games to raise awareness and funds for the Center for Independent Living and volunteered for poverty simulation sessions. Mr. Bhende currently serves on the Board of Directors for Marcfirst, where he is a member of the Human Resources Committee. He believes in doing what's right and champions causes that make this possible.
Mr. Bosquez currently serves as the Community Engagement Coordinator for the West Bloomington Revitalization Project where he handles coordinating volunteers for WBRP and assisting the Board of Directors with administrative oversight of the programs. Through his work at the Tool Library, a WBRP program, Mr. Bosquez helps empower residents to make repairs and maintain their homes. He builds genuine relationships with others to create a support network that enriches the community and builds trust in others. Outside of his time at WBRP, Mr. Bosquez works at Benjamin Elementary, taking pride in providing a clean and safe environment for the students.
Mr. Bradley has dedicated his life to helping underserved youth. As a volunteer for Youth Build McLean County, he provides the necessary patience, instruction, and unwavering compassion to encourage individuals to be the very best they can be. An exceptional mentor to his students, understanding father to the fatherless, and a considerate brother to all, Mr. Bradley shares his fun-loving personality with countless individuals. He is willing to do whatever it takes to help his students succeed. Mr. Bradley seems to know instinctively what to say and do to motivate his students to help them achieve their goals.
Dr. Campbell has an extensive resume as an educator and community volunteer. He is a dedicated member of the Normal Rotary Club, serving on the Board of Directors, as Sargent at Arms, has been recognized as a Paul Harris Fellow, and is involved with the Friends Forever Program to help promote world peace and understanding. Dr. Campbell has also volunteered for Habitat for Humanity for the past 21 years, serving as project director for construction for ISU/IWU College Houses. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the M.J. Rhymer Family Dry Grove Nature Preserve, is Treasurer for the West Bloomington Revitalization Project, and is a volunteer and construction director for Labyrinth Outreach Service for Women. His efforts personify a true community leader.
Mr. Eaton has volunteered his time and service for many years through his church and local schools. As a life-long member of the First Presbyterian Church of Normal, he has served as a mentor for teens in confirmation class, serves as an Elder and is an Associate Member of the Nominating Committee. His community volunteerism includes Habitat for Humanity and the Boys & Girls Club golf outing. As a band parent at Ridgeview High School, he worked countless hours to support the Marching Band and chaperoned the Senior Band trip. Additionally, he was instrumental in organizing the Olde Towne Neighborhood Association. Mr. Eaton has never met a stranger, always has a welcoming smile and a kind word for everyone he meets.
John T. Evans
Mr. Evans has served on LIFE Center for Independent Living’s Board of Directors since 2005. He demonstrates exceptional commitment and leadership as the Board Treasurer and President. Mr. Evans is an excellent communicator who clearly articulates the mission and values of the LIFE Center. In addition to his volunteer efforts at LIFE Center, he has participated in several community efforts to recognize and eliminate instances of bigotry, discrimination, and exclusion. He has served as a Deacon of his church, played for a community theater pit band, and was recently nominated to the board for a not-for-profit agricultural organization. Mr. Evans has a tenacious spirit and works tirelessly to make our community better.
Mr. Gordon is a dedicated teacher, mentor, leader and volunteer who has tirelessly served the Bloomington-Normal community for decades. His service at Illinois State University earned him a spot in the College of Arts and Science Hall of Fame. He serves as a member of the McLean County Board, is a member of the McLean County League of Women Voters and is a recipient of the Democrats Roosevelt Award. Other community volunteer efforts include the Bloomington Moses Montefiore Temple, Ecology Action Center, mentor for MCLP participants, Cedar Ridge Promise Council, 4H Fair, Heartland Theatre, Illinois Symphony, and the County Arts Center. In each of his volunteer roles, Mr. Gordon exhibits a warm sense of humor, dependability and a willingness to serve others.
Mr. Harmon has a long and rich history of commitment to his community and is considered a leader among leaders. He has served as chair for the Town of Normal Planning Commission, Mayor for the Town of Normal and has been involved in Board of Director roles for the Chamber of Commerce, Economic Development Council, and the Convention and Visitors Bureau. Also, he has provided board service for many not-for-profit organizations. Currently, Mr. Harmon gives his time to the Illinois Prairie Community Foundation, where he has been a member of the Board of Directors for seven years. As a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Normal, Mr. Harmon chairs the Gifts and Memorials Committee.
Mr. Howard exemplifies what it means to be a servant leader by focusing his efforts on helping others reach their full potential. As a 26-year Marine Corp retiree, Mr. Howard has become increasingly involved in community activities, specifically the Boy Scouts of America. He currently serves as the Training Chair for the Crossroads District. Under his direction, the percentage of trained leaders has doubled within the District. Most recently, Mr. Howard led the Order of the Arrows, scouting’s national honor society, to the National Conference at Michigan State University. Whether he is volunteering to cook meals for events or working with youth, he demonstrates a true giving heart. Mr. Howard’s commitment to the betterment of others is unwavering.
Mr. Luchtefeld is a community leader with such organizations as Autism McLean County, Kiwanis, and the Multicultural Leadership Program. He helped to create an Aktion Club, a Kiwanis group for children on the autism spectrum, which provides youth an opportunity to participate in community service work. Mr. Luchtefeld is always willing to volunteer his technology skills by providing tech mentoring to local organizations. This year, Craig has embarked on a year of service. He inspires his social media followers by posting his efforts at #Volunteer365 every single day. He is an individual who lives his life, fully embracing his values, to advance humanity in more ways than one.
As a Program Director of WGLT radio, Mr. McCurdy is the creator and host of the popular “Sound Ideas” program. He is also the Co-Director of the Good-to-Go Commuter Challenge, a program that encourages the use of sustainable transportation. Mr. McCurdy is President and founding member of Bike BloNo, a local organization whose core mission is to support the bicycle for transportation. He was also appointed by Mayor Chris Koos to serve as a member of the board of trustees for Connect Transit, where he has been instrumental in supporting changes that have resulted in significantly improved service levels and dramatic increases in ridership levels. Mr. McCurdy displays a selfless and tireless dedication to making his community an even better place to live, work and play.
Mr. Predmore personally believes in giving back to his community through church, advocacy, and legislative leadership. He has professionally been involved in the support of people with intellectual/developmental disabilities for more than 20 years. At Marcfirst, Mr. Predmore has worked diligently to help people with developmental disabilities find employment in our community. His efforts have resulted in a +60% employment rate for those supported at Marcfirst, compared to a national average of 10%. He currently serves on the APSE Board to develop best practices for employment, supports youth mission trips, and worked to establish Chris’ Law, giving college students the opportunity to sign a waiver to share critical mental health information with their parents while on campus.
Mandava V. Rao
Mr. Rao has a deep passion and commitment to making the community a better place, particularly serving in the area of social welfare, awareness, and justice. His impact on the community is widely felt through his involvement as founder and co-president of the Telugu Association of Bloomington, past-president and advisory council member for the McLean County India Association, founding member of the Minority and Police Partnership, and founding member of For A Better Tomorrow, to name a few. Mr. Rao is a graduate of the Multicultural Leadership Program and was recognized as the MCLP Alumni of the year in 2012. Mr. Rao leads by example and has mentored, coached, and inspired countless other individuals to contribute voluntarily to their community.
Bishop Larry Taylor
As the founder of Center for Hope International Ministries, Bishop Taylor impacts the lives of hundreds of individuals through a message of faith, hope, love and balance. He has established the Center for Hope Food Pantry Network, which is available to whoever may need assistance. Annually, Bishop Taylor hosts several conferences and summits to empower, motivate and inspire men from every walk of life. He is a graduate of the first Leadership McLean County class and serves on the Board of Directors for the University of Illinois Extension and the Immanuel Health Care Clinic. In addition to his civic involvement, Bishop Taylor also volunteers at Habitat for Humanity and delivers food to the homebound here in our community.
Mr. Tolone has volunteered with McLean County Habitat for Humanity since 2004, currently serving as a Project Director. He is recognized each year for contributing the greatest number volunteer hours among all volunteers. In addition to his volunteer efforts with Habitat, Mr. Tolone also volunteers at the Clare House food pantry. Rain or shine, you will find Mr. Tolone bagging groceries, actively engaging people in line, and handing out books to families. Passionate about the Free Little Library, he collects books from garage sales to replace those he’s given away. Mr. Tolone never misses a shift, except to help with the Wesley United Methodist mission trip to build and repair the orphanage in Nicaragua. Humbly and quietly, he goes about helping others with no need for a reward or thank you.
Mr. Winkel is a forward thinker who is dedicated to teaching and encouraging entrepreneurship throughout our community. He established SlingShot CoWorking, a collaborative space in Uptown Normal that brings bright, bold minds together to spark new ideas and innovation in the Bloomington-Normal community. Mr. Winkel gives his time and resources freely. He financially supports the Corny Challenge, a Shark Tank-like competition for young leaders in junior high through college. Mr. Winkel also founded Legacy Out Loud, a national network of universities across the US that encourages young female entrepreneurs, investors and business leaders. His tireless efforts are certain to keep Bloomington-Normal moving forward for years to come.