Wednesday, May 18, 2011

‘Hometown Heroes’ honored

Richard Billington, a resident of ASTA Care Center, listens as awards were given to 28 “Hometown Heroes” during a reception Wednesday. Eighteen agencies were honored at the reception, which was held in conjunction with National Nursing Home Week.
By Peg Reynolds
Pontiac Daily Leader
Posted May 12, 2011 @ 09:07 AM

Pontiac, Ill. —
ASTA Care Center of Pontiac recognized 18 “Hometown Heroes” at a 2 p.m. reception Wednesday at the nursing home.
Activity Director Kathy Finkenbinder was the organizer of the event that honored 18 Pontiac, Livingston County and state officials and volunteers.
Most organizations were represented by at least one person. They were presented with a certificate and a goodie bag filled by nursing home residents. Inside the bag was a thank-you card, an American flag pin, and “a bunch of lifesavers, because they are lifesavers in this community,” said Finkenbinder.
“It’s our way of giving back to the community and letting them know we are part of the community,” she said. Honorees sat on one side of the main dining room as residents and staff filled the other side. Finkenbinder shared reasons why each agency was being honored and what they did to assist the residents and staff at the nursing home.
ASTA Care Center Administrator Lorrie Stogsdill and Social Service Director Tisha Harty handed out certificates and gifts as Finkenbinder talked of each organization’s service to the nursing home and the community.
Those honored were:
• Emergency Disaster and Service Agency “for their quick, informative manner in which the response comes from the agency for emergencies and disasters,” said Finkenbinder. Chuck Shopp accepted the award.
• Pontiac Street and Alley Department “for getting our staff to work during the snow storm and keeping the streets open,” she said. Chris Brock accepted the award.
• St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry “for keeping the community fed and helping those in need,” she said. Evelyn Ribordy and Jane Kuerth accepted the award.
• Alfa Troop 2nd 106 Calvary Unit National Guard for “serving our country and helping out in disasters,” said Finkenbinder.
• WJEZ, Todd Lowery and Kent Casson, for “always keeping the community informed of weather alerts,” she said.
• Livingston County Coroner Michael P. Burke was honor for things he does “without being aware of what he does,” said Finkenbinder. “He reaches out to the younger generation, stressing the importance of safe driving and the use of common sense — such as promoting that the youth not take on habits that would cause a terrible outcome.”
• Livingston County Sheriff Marty Meredith was honored for his service, which was accepted by Chief Deputy Marvin R. Rutledge and Sgt. Earl Dutko. The department was honored “for combating the drugs in this area are commended. The continuing education of his officers will only enhance their job performance.”
• Betty Ester, a promoter of the city of Pontiac, was recognized for “placing Pontiac on the official tourism map,” said Finkenbinder. “People from all over the world come to visit our town. For that we are very grateful. Those groups of tourism helps to promote business, families moving her and our economy.”
• Del Estes Education Center honor was accepted by his widow, Betty and their son, Dave Estes. “Del had a dream, a goal and a strong drive to get the museum in place,” she said.
• Livingston County Food Pantry was recognized and volunteers Joan Bevill, Gwen Voytas, Grace Weaver, Betty Decker, Heather Robertson, Pastor Carolyn Bavaro and Edna Mae Rutherford.
• Duffy Ambulance Service award was accepted by Joe Stock, Brenda Matuszewski, Tina Diemer and Andrew Krominga. However, Matuszewski and Diemer had to leave abruptly when an emergency call came in during the awards.
• Pontiac Police Department was honored “for all of your efforts, keeping us safe and the continued education to both the officers and the community,” said Finkenbinder.
• Pontiac Fire Department for “always meeting the needs, for the 911 calls, fires, accidents and disasters, and for putting yourself at risk to help others,” she said. The award was accepted by Officers Jim Woolford and Jim Morgan.
• Paul Ritter, Pontiac Township High School ecology and science teacher, was honored for his “outstanding efforts educating the students, community and the all-out efforts for the P2D2 program,” she said.
• Danny Jarrett was in Springfield and could not be present. Accepting the honor on his behalf was his wife, Linda Jarrett. He is the president of the AFSCME Local 494 and was honored “for his continued support for the employees of the prison, the unselfish hours of work for the union and helping with the fight to keep the Pontiac Prison open,” said Finkenbinder.
• Scott McCoy was not present, but was honored ‘for his outstanding efforts, outcome and endless time that he spent as mayor during the flood.”
• State Police District 6 was not present, but was recognized for “keeping us safe and protecting and guiding us,” she said.
“They are like the Three Musketeers — when you need help you call on a Three Musketeer to come to your side,” Finkenbinder said of the 18 agencies. “We thank them whole-heartedly for all their efforts and dedication. We are a strong community because of those folks.

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