PRINCETON — Amber Harper, president of the Bureau County Retired Teachers’ Association (BCRTA), invites all retired teachers living in Bureau County to attend the second fall meeting of the BCRTA on Thursday, Oct. 18, at the Princeton Public Library. The meeting will begin with a catered luncheon prepared by Poor Boys’ Catering of Princeton for a nominal cost of $11 per person.
The program for the meeting will be presented at approximately 12:30 p.m. by Rep. Daniel Swanson, 74th District; Rep. Jerry Long, 76th District; and Richard Small, IRTA Area 7 membership chair and former PHS graduate. Interested IRTA members may be interviewed following the meeting for the BCRTA recruitment video.
Long is a first-term state representative for the 76th district. He has called Streator his home for over 30 years. He is a graduate of Burns Union High School. He served in the U.S. Air Force from 1978 to 1980. He graduated technical school as a corrosion control specialist. He is a third generation union worker and a 30-year member of the Teamsters, with 2,850,000 miles traveled under his belt. He is a member of the 3rd Degree Masters Masonry. He is a Rotarian and a member of the Chamber of Commerce. He currently serves on seven committees: The Appropriations-Public Safety; Business Incentives for Local Community; Community College Access & Afford.; Economic Opportunity; Transportation: Regulation, Roads; Aging; Police and First Responders. In the past, he was a citizen columnist for the Ottawa Times, as well as a member of Starved Rock ABATE. He is a small business owner, and he is a passionate student of economics. His hobbies include history, painting, and spending time with his wife, four children, and nine grandchildren.
Swanson, lieutenant colonel (retired), was born July 30, 1959, in Woodhull. He graduated from AlWood Community Schools in May 1977, Black Hawk East in June 1986 and Western Illinois University in August 1994 with a Bachelor of Arts degree, Board of Governors. He enlisted in the Illinois Army National Guard on Aug. 11, 1977, as a 63B generator and wheel vehicle mechanic. He was selected on March 1, 1980, to serve on an active duty tour with the Illinois Army National Guard. He was commissioned a second lieutenant on June 14, 1986. He retired Jan. 31, 2001, after 20 years active duty and over three years as a traditional guardsman. He volunteered and returned to active two more times. During these additional tours, he earned the Bronze Star and Combat Action Badge. He was sworn in on Jan. 11, 2017, to serve proudly as an Illinois state representative, 74th District in the 100th General Assembly. He previously served for over 17 years on the AlWood (Alpha and Woodhull) Board of Education, two years on the Henry County Board, as well as superintendent, Henry County Veterans Assistance Commission providing financial aid and transportation services to Iowa City, Iowa, Veterans Hospital for Henry County veterans. He is actively engaged with the fifth generation Swanson family farming near Andover. They raise corn, beans, oats, wheat and hay crops, and also includes a cow/calf operation, cattle feedlot and swine. He is married to the former Tammy Snider of Kewanee. They have two children.
Small graduated Princeton High School in 1954, Southern Illinois University - Carbondale (Bachelor of Science in Speech Communication - major/Political Science - minor / Masters of Science in Education School Administration.) He completed additional post-graduate studies at ISU in school administration. He was a high school teacher/coach for eight years), high school principal for six year and district superintendent for four years. He served as the assistant state superintendent of education eight years. During those eight years, he served as an adjunct lecturer at Illinois State University and Sangamon State University (now U of I Springfield). In addition to his work in education, he served as marketing director for two different architectural firms and commission sales representative for Grolier Educational Corp. RIA (reference libraries for attorneys and CPAs). He has served in leadership roles in various civic organizations, including president of Jaycees chapter, vice president of Rotary, club president, lieutenant governor and state treasurer of Kiwanis, and the IRTA executive committee (two years). He is a certified lay speaker in the United Methodist Church for the past 18 years. He has preached in United Methodist and Presbyterian parishes in south central Illinois, averaging leading services in two churches each Sunday three Sundays per month.
Participants may attend either the luncheon and the program, or just the program. This month’s menu includes cheesy ham casserole, salad and pumpkin bars. Participants may also invite a retired colleague to attend as well, and spouses are always welcome. To make reservations for the luncheon and/or the program, contact Alice Ehmen at 815-638-2387 or email firstname.lastname@example.org, or Connie Espel at 815-303-8982 or email at email@example.com by Monday, Oct. 15.
To view news of state matters affecting retired teachers and/or to read the BCRTA fall newsletter, visit the IRTA website at www.IRTAonline.org. To view the newsletter, click on Bureau County.