The Illinois Department on Aging presented awards to the 2012 Senior Hall of Fame class Oct. 24 in Springfield.
The Senior Hall of Fame was created in 1994 to honor Illinoisans age 65 and older who excel in the categories of community service, education, performance/graphic arts, and the labor force.
Each inductee is chosen through a statewide nomination and selection process.
Among this year’s members was Edmund Kueker, 87, of Waterloo, in the education category. Kueker, who is known as “Colonel,” is a World War II veteran, former Monroe County farm advisor, an auctioneer, 4-H volunteer leader, a collector, tour guide, artist and author of 10 books. His books vividly detail local history, the western way of life, and horsemanship.
He often says, “Kids will never know what any of this stuff is if no one saves it for them.”
He began writing his 11th book at age 85.
Kueker joins fellow Waterloo resident Harry Wolf of the Waterloo German Band in the Illinois Senior Hall of Fame.Edd Kueker receives his award during the induction ceremony in Springfield. At left is John K. Holton, Ph.D., Director of the Illinois Department on Aging.
Also during the ceremony, Gibault Catholic High School student Kendra Rakers, 18, of Millstadt, was honored as a 2012 Unique Achievement awardee.
Rakers enlisted the help of classmates to develop a senior fitness park after seeing one during a trip to Germany. Rakers worked with city officials and Millstadt Township Senior Services, modeled the park, and raised funds to make her vision happen.
“It was so neat to see Edd at 87 and Kendra at 18 talking and sharing their awards with each other,” Waterloo Community Relations Coordinator Julie Yeager said of the ceremony.