December is for Reflection and Celebrating the Season of Joy

As I write my last column of 2017, I reflect on the extraordinary public service careers of three outstanding Central Illinois citizens. My mentor and friend, former Congressman Bob Michel, passed earlier this year. An educational leader in District 150, former Superintendent Harry Whitaker, passed a month ago. Also, a very accomplished and successful businessman and former mayor, Dave Ransburg passed in November. Each man had different skills and personalities but all had the same goal to improve the lives of people in Central Illinois. When Bob Michel passed, I was quoted saying that Bob “was the gold standard for public service.” Harry Whitaker was a successful coach and translated that success and leadership into a very traditional style of managing District 150 through some difficult periods. Dave Ransburg represented a thoughtful, deliberate method of operating his successful sprinkler business. He demonstrated his management style during his service on the Peoria City Council and as mayor of Peoria. His legacy includes relying on that management style to transform both the Peoria Civic Center and Riverfront Museum into very successful public entities.

The leadership of these three individuals is an example for all those in current leadership to follow. Even
though all of us were devastated and somewhat demoralized by Caterpillar’s decision to move corporate
headquarters to Deerfield near Chicago, we are hopeful much of Caterpillar research and manufacturing
will remain in Central Illinois. December is a time for all of us to celebrate the joy of Christmas and to reflect on the joy and happiness we share with family and friends. I want to say a very special word of thanks to Clare Howard for offering me the opportunity to be apart of the Community Word and allowing me to sound off on any topic of my choosing. Thank you to those who have chosen to read this column. More to come in 2018. MERRY CHRISTMAS!

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