NeveHarms It seems appropriate that this prestigious award named for Neve Harms, a former Superintendent of Recreation at the Peoria Park District, be awarded this year to co-winner Bonnie W. Noble, President of the Peoria Park District Board of Trustees. As president of the Board, Bonnie's many responsibilities include overseeing a vast array of programs providing sports opportunities to thousands of youth in youth baseball, soccer, ice skating, tennis, and other recreational activities.
Bonnie was first elected by the voters at large as Peoria Park District Trustee in 1973, and has served as the President of the Board of Trustees since 1979. Her unique ability to analyze community needs and to act as a catalyst for the cooperation and joint ventures of community benefactors, public bodies, and residents has resulted in the completion of many noteworthy projects that the park district has undertaken over the past 16 years.
In addition to her many responsibilities with the Park District, Bonnie has been active in numerous Peoria community groups including the Girl Scouts, Peoria City Beautiful, Lakeview Museum, Neighborhood House, United Way, Public Television Channel 47, the Heart Fund, Junior League of Peoria, Women's Civic Federation and the Women's Symphony Guild.
A current member of the National Recreation and Park Association's Board of Trustees, Bonnie has been recognized at the local, state, and national levels for her contributions to and leadership roles in all aspects of the park and recreation field. She has been the recipient of: the 1989 Citation Award from the National Association of State Outdoor Recreation Liason Officers; the National Parks and Recreation Association State-Citizen-Board Member Service Award; the Peoria Jaycees "Outstanding Government Leader of the Year 1987"; the 1987 Allen A. Weissburg Commissioner of the Year Award (the highest award given by the Illinois Association of Park Districts); and the 1985 Y.W.C.A. Community Volunteer Service Award for the Professions (as an elected official).
A graduate of the University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign), Bonnie holds a bachelor of science degree with majors in recreation and park administration and psychology. She is experienced as a recreation supervisor with various agencies and as a caseworker for the Department of Public Aid. Professionally, Bonnie currently serves as Executive Director for the Heartland Water Resources Council. Bonnie and her husband Kent are the parents of three daughters, Cindy, Kristen and Jamie.
It seems appropriate that this prestigious award named for Neve Harms, a former Superintendent of Recreation at the Peoria Park District, be awarded this year to co-winner Bonnie W. Noble, President of the Peoria Park District Board of Trustees. As president of the Board, Bonnie's many responsibilities include overseeing a vast array of programs providing sports opportunities to thousands of youth in youth baseball, soccer, ice skating, tennis, and other recreational activities.
As a man devoted to sports, Mick Donahue contributed an essential (and sometimes underappreciated) service to organized sports in Peoria for decades. His passion for athletics began as a youth as a participant in the Salvation Army Junior League Tournament and Proctor Center Basketball League. At Peoria Manual High School in the early 50’s, he played on the baseball team. After graduating from Manual, he was a player/manager on the LeTourneau-Westinghouse team in the old Industrial League, which was one of the nation’s top amateur sports organizations at the time.
Mick spent much of his life coaching, organizing and officiating youth sports in the area, especially baseball, softball, basketball and volleyball. He volunteered as a coach from 1957-72 for the St. Boniface Mustangs. Additionally he coached numerous Little League and Pony League teams.
Over the next several decades, he volunteered thousands of hours organizing and administering officials for various league play in the community. Beginning in 1972, he supervised adult softball and basketball leagues for the Peoria Park District. He also scheduled officials/umpires for the area’s catholic grade schools as well as many basketball, baseball, and softball games for the Peoria Public Schools. In his over 30 years with the Peoria Park District, Mick trained, assigned, and supervised officials for adult softball games for leagues at Peoria Stadium and Sterling school. He organized a force of volunteer basketball officials for the Prairie State Games.
Even after his passing in 2011, his legacy in sports continued to have a positive impact for a charitable cause. As a tribute and acknowledgement of his decades of dedication to local softball leagues, a Mick Donahue Memorial Tournament was held in August of 2013, on the park district diamonds near Peoria Stadium. Many teams participated and many others, including umpires, volunteered their services. Proceeds from the successful event were donated to the PKD (Polycystic Kidney Disease) Foundation, a disease being fought by his granddaughter. Concurrent with the tournament, a park bench was dedicated near the large diamond near Peoria Stadium. The small plaque affixed to the bench, reads, “In Memory of Mick Donahue for his dedication to softball and the Peoria Park District.”