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 Department on Aging announces 2016 Senior Hall of Fame inductees

Awards underscore inductees’ contributions to the community

Springfield – The Illinois Department on Aging (IDoA) is pleased to announce the 2016 Senior Hall of Fame inductees. These individuals are being honored for the meaningful contributions they have made in performance, education and community service. Inductees will each be presented with an award during individual ceremonies being held in their hometowns.

"Each year, it's our distinct honor to recognize older adults across the state that have made a significant impact on their community," said Elizabeth Delheimer, IDoA Division Manager for Community Relations and Outreach. "Our 2016 inductees are dedicated individuals whose contributions help make their communities better. We thank them for their commitment and generosity."

The Senior Illinois Hall of Fame was created by the Legislature in 1994 to honor Illinois residents age 65 and older for their personal achievement. Since then, 101 people have inducted into the Hall of Fame including the 2016 inductees. Each inductee is chosen through a statewide nomination and selection process. IDoA compiles a list of nominees then consults with the members of the Illinois Council on Aging to determine the winner of each category.

The 2016 Senior Illinois Hall of Fame inductees are:

Barbara Schafer, 65, of Burr Ridge, is the 2016 inductee for the Performance category. Mrs. Schafer creates dance routines that focus on aerobic fitness and wellness for individuals of any physical ability, be it her “Sit and Be Fit” wheelchair-bound students or students that have an increased range of motion. What began as a Friday morning fitness class that brought together dance and exercise in a fun and exciting way soon became the senior dance troupe, K-B Adorables, led by Mrs. Schafer. K-B Adorables have performed in Illinois and around the country before national conferences, college sports games and on television. Intergenerational programs created by Mrs. Schafer connect the dance troupe with school children, Scout troops and other dance groups to underline the importance of having a regular fitness regimen at any stage of life.

Julius W. Hegeler, II, 89, of Danville, is the 2016 inductee for the Community Service category. As a lifelong resident of Danville, Mr. Hegeler has shown tremendous support for community-based programs in his town through his financial contributions to groups focusing on education, environmental training, health care, historic preservation, the arts and aiding individuals with disabilities. Mr. Hegeler’s generous donations and dedication to the Danville community have made a significant impact in the lives of many people, prompting the Illinois General Assembly to pass House Resolution 892 in March of 2014 in recognition of Mr. Hegeler’s contributions to the community.

Joseph Hernandez, 80, of Aurora, is the 2016 inductee for the Education category. For 24 years, Mr. Hernandez worked as professor of Ceramics and Art at Waubonsee Community College prior to his retirement as Associate Professor Emeritus. Among his many accomplishments, Mr. Hernandez received the NISOD Excellence in Teaching Award, the Illinois Community College Teacher of the Year Award and the Distinguished Service in the Profession of Art Education Award from the Illinois Art Education Association. He has traveled across Europe, Asia and South America, allowing him to bring his cultural knowledge to the classroom and enriching his student’s education.