Their legacies are legendary, their impact profound. By sharing their stories, we hope to inspire the rest of us who are living out our own legacies, each and every day. We are proud to announce our 2020 Local Legends!
Sid & Flo Banwart
Partners in Philanthropy
Over the years, this generous couple has quietly worked to make a positive impact on their community, having dedicated their lives to giving—and inspiring others to do the same.
Bob & Joan Ericksen
Connections to Nature
They came together as artists and teachers on a mission to connect children to art, science and nature, so today’s youth might experience the same magic they had felt as kids.
Junior & Jackie Watkins
Paying It Forward
From mentoring the next generation through sports to commemorating African American history, their life together has been one of dedication, purpose and accomplishment.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we will be unable to celebrate them in person this year. However, we will be honoring them in other ways:
Mini-exhibit at PRM: We are partnering with the Peoria Riverfront Museum on a small exhibit featuring David Vernon’s beautiful portraits and significant historic objects from each of our Legends. We are still working out the details, but expect it to be in place later in July.
Facebook Live: We are collaborating with videographers Jeffery Noble and Tim Sotter of Six Foot Sessions to host three socially distanced Facebook Live events honoring their work and achievements. Editor-in-chief Jonathan Wright and contributing writer/interviewer Mae Gilliland Wright will join our Legends for a series of fun and insightful conversations. These events can be viewed free of charge on our Facebook page and live-streamed into the comfort of your own home.
Mark your calendars! The Facebook Live events will take place on three consecutive Wednesdays:
- July 15: Bob & Joan Ericksen
- July 22: Junior & Jackie Watkins
- July 29: Sid & Flo Banwart
Each event will kick off at 6:00pm and last approximately 45 to 60 minutes. Join us on Facebook to help celebrate these amazing individuals!
Many thanks to our sponsors for their patience as we worked out an alternative to our traditional event. None of this would be possible without their continued support! We are so grateful.
Wayne Baum Family Foundation
2019 Local Legends
- G. Raymond Becker: Builder of Modern Peoria
- Dr. Patrick Elwood: The Modest Neurosurgeon
- Hon. Joe Billy McDade: The Principled Judge
- Doug & Diane Oberhelman: The Ultimate Power Couple
2018 Local Legends
- Bruce Brown: U.S. Marine & Restaurateur
- Anne Fox: Optimistic Humanitarian
- George Manias: Hard-Working and Humble
- Donald Rager: Doctor, Teacher, Visionary
- Gerry Shaheen: Executive and Board Leader
2017 Local Legends
- Dr. Stephen & Patti Bash: Catalysts of Healthy Living
- Royal Coulter: Business Leader with Integrity
- Ken Hinton: A Caring and Compassionate Educator
- Norman V. Kelly: Patriot, Storyteller, Historian
- Joan Krupa: Public Servant & Health Advocate
Photos from the 2017 Local Legends reception...
2016 Local Legends
- Byron DeHaan: Communicator of Culture
- Jean Ann & Gordon Honegger: Sharing the Wealth
- Mike Landwirth: A Life of Development
- The Honorable David Leitch: A Tireless Workhorse
- Sally Snyder: Advocate for Health and Education
2015 Local Legends
- Wayne Baum: A Legacy of Servant Leadership
- Bob Gilmore: “Yellow-Blooded” Philanthropist
- James Polk: An Advocate for All
- Dave Ransburg: Businessman and Civic Leader
- George Shadid: The Principled Statesman
2014 Local Legends
- John Bearce: Entrepreneur and Adventurer
- Lowell "Bud" Grieves: Developer, Businessman and Conservationist
- Gene & Harriett Swager: A Partnership in Service
- Kathryn Timmes: Teacher and Counselor
- Jay Vonachen: Businessman and Community Leader
2013 Local Legends
- Glen Barton: Businessman & Visionary
- Congressman Bob Michel: Distinguished Public Servant
- Art & Judy Oakford: A Pair of Peoria Philanthropists
- Gerald D. Stephens: Entrepreneur & Businessman
- Pete Vonachen: Peoria’s Mr. Baseball