Five people who have contributed to the educations of numerous community college students have been honored by the Rend Lake College Foundation for their gifts.
Receiving Silver Major Gift Awards at the RLCF Annual Dinner were Dr. Charles "Bill" and Mary Roe and Milford "Doc" Harrell. Don and Jerry Peacock were recognized with the Bronze Major Gift Award.
Also receiving Major Gift Awards were St. Mary’s/Good Samaritan Inc. (Gold) and Pinckneyville Community Hospital (Bronze). The dinner was held Thursday, December 4, at Holiday Inn in Mt. Vernon with almost 400 in attendance.
Gold Major Gift Awards are presented to a person, business or organization which has donated between $50,000 and $250,000; Silver Awards go to those who have contributed $25,000 to $50,000; and Bronze Awards are given for donations of $10,000 to $25,000.
The Roes represent the first couple to serve on the RLC Foundation Board of Directors, albeit at different times.
Mary Roe is the Vice-President of Student Services for Rend Lake College and Bill Roe currently sits on the RLCF Board. According to Pat Mitchell, Chief Executive Officer of the Rend Lake College Foundation, the Roes’ belief in education has been demonstrated through their capacity to give and has been instilled in their children - a physician, a St. Louis attorney and a director for the National Collegiate Athletic Association.
With Mary Roe’s retirement next year, "It is very appropriate that this honor be given this year," Mitchell said.
"The Roes’ desire to give back to the community is two-fold," said Mitchell. "The foremost reason is to support education at Rend Lake College and, secondly, to enhance selected programs for their home area of Pinckneyville."
Their contributions to the RLC Foundation began in 1988. In 1993, when long-time RLC Coach Jim Waugh lost his youngest daughter in a tragic car accident, it was the Roes who established the Jane Waugh Memorial Scholarship to help a female athlete.
In 2002, during the opening of the new RLC Murphy-Wall Pinckneyville Campus, the Roes stepped forward to establish the Dr. Charles and Mary Roe Scholarship Award to benefit a Pinckneyville resident, won this year by Chantal Lamczyk. This perpetual endowment will continue to benefit Pinckneyville college students for many years, Mitchell said.
Two other Major Gift Awards have ties to the nursing profession. Honored with a Silver Major Gift Award was Harrell, who came to the RLC Foundation office in June 2003 and asked about establishing a scholarship in memory of his wife, Norma, a registered nurse who was very proud of her profession, according to Mitchell.
Harrell told Mitchell he would discuss the matter with his family and would contact her in two weeks. He said, "At my age, you can’t put these things off," according to Mitchell.
Two weeks later, Harrell established the Norma Harrell RN Scholarship, which was awarded this year to Michelle White of Coulterville.
According to Harrell, his wife participated in a government program which trained registered nurses during World War II. In return, participants had to make use of their abilities during the war effort. Harrell said without this program, Norma Harrell would never have been able to go to school.
Harrell said he considers the scholarship "payback to the community."
Also contributing to the education of nursing students are Don and Jerry Peacock. They established the Henry and Fern Peacock Nursing Scholarship in recognition of their parents. The award was won this year by Patricia Russell of Broughton.
Henry and Fern Peacock were patients of home health and hospice care and received excellent treatment during their illnesses, which caused their sons to see the value in nursing, according to Mitchell. For this reason, their scholarship is designated for RLC nursing students.