Inspiring the Next Generation

Greater Peoria is full of leaders whose hard work, ethics, morals, passion and talent have served to motivate, inspire and encourage the next generation. Whether past or present, well acknowledged or unsung, these individuals have made an enduring impact on their community. We asked this year’s class of 40 Leaders Under Forty: “What local figure or person inspires you?” Here were some of their answers:

The nurse educators. I’ve worked with so many, and they each have a passion and a gift that they are just hoping reaches at least one student, so they can help that one patient. —Amanda R. Lambie

Jean Baptiste Point Du Sable. He was also from Haiti—a trader and founder of the settlement that became the City of Chicago. His story reminds us that we are able to achieve great things regardless of our background. —Dr. Lionel J. Malebranche

All of the participants in the St. Jude Memphis to Peoria Run and all St. Jude satellite runners. Their dedication and ability to raise staggering amounts of money to fight childhood cancers is inspiring. —Leslie Vallar

My grandfather, Norman R. Johnson, MD, FACP, ABAM, CCHP, founder and CEO of Advanced Correctional Healthcare. Not a day goes by that I don’t marvel at what he and my grandmother did with their lives. They started from the bottom and achieved success while steadfastly adhering to their philosophy of always doing the right thing. —Jessica Kathleen Young

Single parents working hard to support their families. I am fortunate to have a friend and spouse to help with all the duties of raising kids. I could not imagine doing it on my own. —Timothy Beccue

My administrative team and colleagues at Richwoods High School. I couldn’t ask for a better group of individuals to work with. They are truly fantastic educators and leaders, who work day in and day out making our school the “standard of excellence.” —Phil Earhart

Jim Thome. As a fellow Limestone grad, I found his humble nature in the spotlight, combined with his commitment to community and charity, very inspirational. And my parents. They have always provided me and my siblings with an example of selflessness, compassion, community involvement and a sense of humor. —Erik M. Fehl

Mike McCoy. It’s difficult not to be inspired by someone who convinced a group of crazy runners to commit to a common cause to help sick children. Thirty-seven years and over $50 million later, we continue the journey to eliminate childhood diseases. —Judson Swan

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