The inductees are:
- Community Service: Eugene Verdu, 77, Swansea, IL
- Education: Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt, 98, Chicago, IL
- Labor Workforce: Carolyn Casteel, 94, Pittsfield, IL
- Performance/Graphic Arts: Wai Yu Kuan, 73, Chicago, IL
Community Service – Eugene Verdu
For over 32 years, Eugene Verdu has organized and administered a wide variety of programs and services for seniors in Madison, St. Clair, Monroe and Randolph counties. He has served as a Delegate to the White House Conference on Aging on 4 separate occasions 1971, 1981, 1995 and 2005. In 1995, Mr. Verdu was appointed by the Prime Minister of Belize to the diplomatic post of “Consul of Belize” for Illinois and Missouri and continues to serve in this capacity.
Education – Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt
Sister Jean worked for two decades in elementary education serving as a principal, coach, and teacher. She began her collegiate career in 1961 serving as Assistant Professor, Associate Dean, Acting Dean, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Director of Academic Advising Center. During her educational career, Sister Jean has opened doors to non-traditional students, worked to expand higher education to immigrant students, united generations and served as a daily ambassador and counselor to the greater student and university community.
Labor Workforce – Carolyn Casteel
In 1950 Carolyn Casteel along with her husband started “Casteel Color Wheel” a local paint store. Sixty-eight years later the store has expanded and now offers window blinds, draperies, decorative accessories and other odds and ends. Carolyn has not only dedicated her life to expanding her business, she has also dedicated herself to making things better in her community by supporting numerous organizations, activities, and projects.
Performance and/or Graphic Arts – Wai Yu Kuan
Ms. Wai Yu Kuan, affectionately known as “Master Kuan” has made extensive contributions to the citizens of the City of Chicago and the State of Illinois through her performance and teaching of the therapeutic and healing benefits of Tai Chi. She has organized many fitness groups in several senior centers throughout the Chicago area. Master Kuan’s efforts have been especially important to seniors made vulnerable by language, cultural and/or financial barriers. Her dedication and sacrifices have increased the health and well-being of an ever-growing number of residents of her community and beyond.