Governor Pat Quinn declared December 1st “Chad Pregracke Day” to salute the East Moline man who was named “CNN Hero of the Year” for his efforts to clean up America’s waterways.
In his Proclamation, Governor Quinn said that Pregracke is a model for the 3,000 AmeriCorps members in Illinois and embodies the mission of the Governor’s Serve Illinois Commission to instill an ethic of service.
Pregracke and his crew spend nine months a year living and working on a barge, organizing riverbank cleanups, watershed conservation initiatives and invasive plant removal. He is halfway to his goal of planting one million trees along Midwestern shorelines.
During the past 15 years, more than 70,000 volunteers have participated in Pregracke’s projects. The Living Lands & Waters staff has grown to 12, and its fleet includes 15 boats, six trucks and a crane. Pregracke has been called “the garbageman of the rivers”, and Living Lands & Waters is known as the most “industrial strength” river recovery project on earth.
» Learn more about Living Lands and Waters
» Read the news release
» Read the proclamation
Multiple severe storms and tornadoes have caused damage throughout the state. The State Emergency Operations Center in Springfield is activated and resources are being coordinated and deployed to assist. Touchdowns have been confirmed by the National Weather Service in Vermilion, Champaign, Tazewell, Woodford, Peoria, Massac and Iroquois Counties. Damage has also been reported from severe weather in LaSalle, Wayne, Grundy and Washington Counties.
For the latest information about donation and volunteer needs, please visit Ready.Illinois.gov
The Serve Illinois Commission is looking for programs interested in administering AmeriCorps funds. AmeriCorps members serve their communities by improving education and healthcare, protecting public safety, safeguarding the environment, providing disaster relief and promoting civic engagement.
“AmeriCorps is an excellent opportunity for people to volunteer their time and talents and give something back to their communities,” said Brandon Bodor, Executive Director of the Serve Illinois Commission. “Illinois has a strong tradition of volunteerism and compassion for those in need. AmeriCorps volunteers make a real difference in the communities in which they serve.”
Serve Illinois will host mandatory meetings for interested parties in Belleville, Chicago, Dixon and Springfield. Proposals are due by November 22, 2013. Funded programs will begin their work in July, 2014
» Learn more about the Request for Proposals
» Read the News Release
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Evelyn Martinez is an AmeriCorps member working as a Literacy Specialist in the Jump Start Program at IYC-Harrisburg. She began volunteering with the program in late 2011 as a one-on-one tutor. Her position includes creating lesson plans, tutoring students one-on-one, and helping them to achieve their academic goals. Although she is full-time at IYC- Harrisburg during the week, her entire weekend is devoted to caring for elders in need in the community.
Evelyn began her career in the office of the Illinois Secretary of State in Springfield. Later, she became an elementary school teacher and taught at Faith Tabernacle School in Rockford, IL for 12 years. After retiring from teaching, she continued to work part-time as a home health aide. She holds an Associate of Arts Degree in Elementary Education from Rock Valley Community College.
For her service to Illinois Youth Center, Evelyn received an AmeriCorps Service Governor’s Volunteer Service Award on April 18, 2013.
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