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Junior League of Peoria named recipient of 2015 de Tonti Award

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Tonti bust 3

Because of the decades of service to the community, the Junior League of Peoria has been named the recipient of the 2015 Henri de Tonti Award for Outstanding Principled Community Leadership, the Peoria Historical Society announced.

The society said the Junior League of Peoria Inc. was established in 1936 and since then the organization has been committed to improving the community through effective action and leadership of its trained volunteers. “The educational and charitable objectives of the organization are accomplished by developing the potential of women through the promotion of voluntarism,” the society said.

The 2015 de Tonti Award will be presented at Saturday, Sept. 26 during a dinner in the Grand Ballroom of the Peoria Civic Center. Tickets to the event are $150 per person or tables of ten may be reserved for $1,500. Reservations for the celebration may be made through the Peoria Historical Society at (309) 674-1921.

In announcing this year’s recipient, Mark Johnson, president of the Historical Society, said, “The Historical Society is pleased to recognize the Junior League’s long record of providing principled community leadership. From the contribution of the Sonar Tide sculpture in the Peoria Civic Center Plaza, to establishment of the Race for the Cure each May, to construction of the Tri-Centennial playground in Glen Oak Park, to the organization’s long commitment to developing a children’s museum in Peoria, and other projects too numerous to mention, the League has provided a remarkable example of a continuous commitment to providing principled leadership to the community.”

The Junior League of Peoria focuses on efforts that build a better community through projects that focus on the general categories of arts, education, health, women’s concerns, family and children and historic preservation.  The Junior League encourages and promotes leadership development for its members to meet the challenges of community service. 

Since its founding, the Junior League of Peoria has contributed thousands of volunteer hours and dollars to the community through more than 70 projects designed to address a variety of Peoria area needs. 

The de Tonti Award was established in 2012 to recognize individuals or organizations within the Tri-County area that have demonstrated a level of outstanding principled leadership to the communities within the three counties.

The award was established by the Historical Society to honor Henri de Tonti, the French explorer and fur trader who is credited with founding the first French fur trading outpost along the shores of Lake Pimiteoui. This event, in the fall of 1691, is generally accepted as the founding of Peoria.

The inaugural Henri de Tonti award in 2012 was presented to Caterpillar Inc. In 2013 the award was presented to Illinois State Senator Dave Koehler. Last year the award was presented to Ray LaHood, the former U.S. Secretary of Transportation and former member of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Associate sponsors of the Henri de Tonti award are the, WTVP – Public TV for Central Illinois, the Journal Star, Central Illinois Business Publishers, Simantel and Illinois Central College.

About the Author
Paul Gordon is the editor of The Peorian after spending 29 years of indentured servitude at the Peoria Journal Star. He’s an award-winning writer, raconteur and song-and-dance man. He also went to a high school whose team name is the Alices (that’s Vincennes Lincoln High School in Indiana; you can look it up).