PRINCETON —áIt took Katrina Hoffman and her family only a day of searching to find Heartland Bank’s final medallion.
The hunts are officially now over, but the spirit of the 30-year tradition will live on.
This year’s medallion was found within a lamp post in the parking lot at Princeton Public Library Wednesday afternoon — just minutes after the final clue had been released.
Hoffman, a Princeton resident, was out with her mom, daughter and grandchildren deciphering the two clues that had been released and narrowing down their locations to explore.
The family has an extensive background in geocaching, so searching with clues is a hobby right up their alley.
Hoffman said the first location they stopped at was the Owen Lovejoy Homestead. But after seeing the crowds of people searching in the area they were certain the medallion was not there.
When the final clue was released at 4 p.m., Hoffman read “689” and immediately recognized it was the library’s address. The hint about shedding light is what led the family to believe it was somewhere in a light post.
Hoffman said she watched her daughter check the first two light posts in the parking lot and decided to scope out the third one closest to the library. When she lifted the cover at the base of the post, the medallion wrapped in tape popped out.
“I just sort of sat with it in my hands,” Hoffman said. “I was in shock. I didn’t expect to find it by all means.”
Her family immediately came over to get a closer look and together they celebrated the win.
Hoffman and her family were awarded $1,000 in Princeton Chamber gift certificates and will be Heartland Bank’s guest in the annual Homestead parade.
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A look back at the medallion winners from prior years
* 1988: Connie and Chris Oeder found it under a bridge at Alexander Park.
* 1989: Rita Mongan and George Watson found it under steps at Lovejoy Homestead.
* 1990: Everett/Swalve and Skaggs families found it in a tree at Jefferson Elementary School.
* 1991: Colton and Sims families found it under a board at Zearing Park.
* 1992: Colton and Sims families found it behind the building at Bureau County Metro Center.
* 1993: Colton and Sims families found it under yews at Veterans Park.
* 1994: Sally Pelszynski, Kim Phillips, Donna Braida and kids found it under a bush at Princeton Elementary School administration building.
* 1995: Donita Sims and kids found it under a stone at Perry Memorial Hospital.
* 1996: Wayne and Mary Jane Dolk found it in a pine tree at Jefferson Elementary School.
* 1997: Sherri Mesick and Julie McKenney found it in a hole in a tree at Lovejoy Homestead.
* 1998: Tom Klukacznski and kids found it under a bush at Matson Public Library.
* 1999: Julie Fogarty and Jamie Rediger and kids found it in a post in the parking lot at the Prouty Building.
* 2000: Pam Pratt and Judy Dyke found it under steps in the recycling center on Main Street.
* 2001: Sally Pelszynski and Bonnie Herron found it under a bush in the municipal lot behind Fawcett's Pharmacy.
* 2002: Staff at Wyanet Carpet found it in a backside corner at Logan Junior High School.
* 2003: Laurie Marselle and Angie Canellos found it under a pine tree at the power plant.
* 2004: Andrea Strzalka found it under concrete at Darius Miller Park.
* 2005: Chad Winner found it in a tree at Alexander Park.
* 2006: Kathy and Mackenzie Geldean, Sharon and Eddie Wilson, and Emma Nelson found it near a backside deck in Perry Plaza.
* 2007: Todd and Joann Gibson found it behind a no parking sign in the municipal lot on West Marion Street.
* 2008: Gena Lucas and Sandy Jorgensen found it behind a sign at the recycling center on Euclid Avenue.
* 2009: Gina, Robb and Kameron Kleist and Eric Backes found it under a garbage can at Perry Memorial Hospital.
* 2010: Donna Milliron and family found it under a trailer in Westside Ballpark.
* 2011: Tim Harris and family found it under the pier at Zearing Park.
* 2012: Sheri Luigs found it under a garbage can lid at the corner on Main Street and Elm Place.
* 2013: Amanda Stewart and Dawna Todd found it in fence tubing at Little Siberia.
* 2014: CJ and Courtney Michael found it behind building vents at Prouty Building.
* 2015: Hannah Wilhelm and Kristin Bohms found it inside a guardrail in the municipal parking lot behind Sherwin Williams.
* 2016: Tara Favia found it inside the bell at Douglas Elementary School.