The Illinois Valley is home to many sports officials, who love the games and admire the young athletes who play them. Illinois Valley Living asked a handful of area officials to tell us a little bit more about themselves.
Town where you live: Dimmick.
Occupation: Assistant principal, math teacher at St. Bede Academy.
What sport(s) and grade level(s) do you officiate: Basketball and softball at the junior and high school levels.
How long have you been officiating: Sixteen years.
Why do you enjoy officiating: It keeps me involved with kids. As I'm getting older, it's great exercise. I enjoy it. To me it's therapy, not so much physically, but mental therapy. After a tough day at school or dealing with what I do as assistant principal, and we all do, I can get to a basketball game, and on way, get myself into the frame of mind, and it puts all that stuff I dealt with on the backburner. I don't take all that frustration home from work. To me, it's a real mental therapy, plus I get to be active and be involved with kids. We also get paid. That's not why we do it, but it's nice.
What other interests do you have: I'm an avid gardener. I've got two acres of yard. I've planted lots of garden and done a lot of my personal landscaping at home.
Home: Live out in the country in LaSalle.
Occupation: I am the farm origination manager at the ADM Grain company in Mendota.
What sport(s) and grade level(s) do you officiate: I referee youth soccer, ages 14 and under. I have done games in Peru, Spring Valley and Mendota.
How long have you been officiating: I have been doing this for the last five years.
Why do you enjoy officiating: I love getting out and working with the kids, watching them develop as athletes and young adults.
What other interests do you have: I also coach soccer in Peru and am the president of the Illinois Valley Youth Soccer League. Soccer is a real passion of mine; I grew up playing soccer in Kentucky and love the fact that soccer is growing in the Illinois Valley. It is an awesome feeling work with the youth and getting them ready for high school sports. Our youth programs in the area are an integral part in feeding our high school programs. Outside of soccer, I am an avid hunter and outdoorsman. I love spending time with my wife and three kids outside. Watching them grow into good solid young adults is something I am really looking forward to.
Town where you live: Peru.
Occupation: Retired from American Nickeloid in June 2011 after 44 years.
What sport do you work in: I am on the chain gang during St. Bede Academy football games.
How long have you been doing this: 46 years.
Why do you enjoy this: I have a lifelong passion for St. Bede football.
Town where you live: LaSalle.
What sport(s) do you officiate in and levels: Baseball (Little League, Junior League, Senior League, Frosh/Soph).
How long have you been doing this: About five years.
Why do you enjoy this: Baseball was always my favorite sport. It keeps me involved; I enjoying do it for the youth.
What other interests do you have: I'm president of LaSalle National Little League; I coach my daughters Little League softball team; and old cars.
Town where you live: Princeton.
Occupation: Work for IDOT.
What sport(s) and grade level(s) do you officiate: Basketball and football at the high school level. I've just started doing football.
How long have you been officiating: Nineteen years.
Why do you enjoy officiating: Mainly, I do it because I love sports and get exercise and get a little a money doing it. Now, that we're getting a little older, it's tougher to play anymore.
What other interests do you have: Hunting and fishing; outdoor stuff.