The 2003 Hall of Fame Inductees are:
Labor Force - Naomi Fowler
Ms. Fowler, a winner in the labor-force category, entered the field of aging in 1973 as director of the Nursing Home Ombudsman Program for 12 counties with the Project LIFE Area Agency on Aging in Springfield. As the ombudsman problem solver, Fowler introduced the "friendly visitors" program to more than 60 nursing homes to assist residents in resolving complaints. Her nomination notes that her interest in education and training proved to be important to developing the ombudsman program, while "her people skills enabled her to build an excellent rapport with nursing home administrators, residents, staff and families."
The nomination adds that her "diligence, understanding and administration of the program contributed to the self-esteem, confidence and retention of the ombudsman staff, which in turn benefited both the residents and administrator."
Ms. Fowler later became director of community services for Lincoln Land Community College in Springfield, where she continued to advocate for seniors, especially those with Alzheimer's disease.
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Community Service - Phyllis Rames
Ms. Rames, winner in the community service category, has been a leader in volunteerism since moving to Vandalia in the 1950s. Her motto is: "Our purpose on earth is to serve our fellow man."
Ms. Rames has organized weekly outings for residents of nursing homes; helped create Going the Extra Mile, a socialization program for homebound people; volunteered for Meals-on-Wheels; raised money for the Fayette County Hospital and many other organizations, and provided ministry under the auspices of the First United Methodist Church.
The former public school teacher is a strong advocate of literacy efforts and has spearheaded many reading programs, Sunday school programs and children's programs over the years. Her nomination stated: "No one has given more of herself to the community than Phyllis Rames. Her volunteer contributions will benefit residents for many years."
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Performance and Graphic Arts - Wayne F. Schlosser
Mr. Schlosser, who won in the performance and graphic arts category, is a life-long resident of Belleville who has provided professional, award-winning graphic art and design services to his community for 55 years. He has provided services to seniors, health and information programs, hospitals, Illinois tourism, schools and universities, museums, cities, chambers of commerce and community service groups such as the Boy Scouts. For over 20 years, he has volunteered, directed and produced graphics for the St. Clair County Health Department, the YMCA, United Way, Salvation Army and Red Cross.
Schlosser has won two statewide awards for his anti-crime programs and was awarded the “Governors Award for Unique Achievement” earlier this spring. He continues to strive for a “Service Above Self” goal and to use his experience in the graphic arts field to help others.
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Education - former U.S. Sen. Paul Simon
Sen. Simon, who won in the education category, has served the state in a number of capacities. He became the nation’s youngest editor-publisher at the age of 19 when he accepted a challenge to save the Troy Tribune in Troy, Illinois. He subsequently built a chain of 13 newspapers in southern and central Illinois, which he sold in 1966 to devote himself full time to public service and writing.
He served 14 years in both chambers of the Illinois General Assembly, wining the Independent Voters of Illinois’ “Best Legislator Award” every session. Simon was elected lieutenant governor in 1968 where he served as the people’s ombudsman. After narrowly losing the 1972 Democratic gubernatorial primary to Dan Walker, Sen. Simon started the public affairs reporting program at Sangamon State University in Springfield, now the University of Illinois at Springfield, and lectured at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
Sen. Simon, a Democrat, was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1974 and served Illinois’ 22nd and 24th Congressional Districts for 10 years. During that time, he played a leading role in drafting and enacting major legislation in a wide range of issue areas including education, disability and foreign affairs.
He was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1984 and won re-election to the U.S. Senate in 1990 with the largest plurality of any contested candidate of either party that year. As a senator, he held more than 600 town meetings throughout the state, more than any U.S. Senator in the state’s history. For 40 consecutive years, longer than any other federal office holder, Sen. Simon released an annual detailed financial disclosure report for himself and his wife.
Sen. Simon now teaches political science, history and journalism at Southern Illinois University’s Carbondale campus, where he also heads a public policy institute founded by him.
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For more information on the Senior Illinois Hall of Fame, contact the Illinois Department on Aging Senior HelpLine.