NeveHarms As a member of the first four-year class at Limestone High, Larry Stranz was eager to help get a positive athletic tradition started for the Bartonville school. All he lacked was talent.
"It took me very little time to find out I was just terrible in everything," said Stranz.
So Stranz chose to contribute in many other ways. That is why he was chosen to be the 40th recipient of the Neve Harms Meritorious Service to Sports Award.
Stranz figures he set the Greater Peoria record for "playing the last few seconds in (Rockets) games.. .and as a result I've always had a soft spot in my heart for athletes who sit on the bench."
As generations of Limestone athletes - stars and deep reserves alike - should have a soft spot in their competitive hearts for Stranz.
"I'd rather not think about what our athletic programs would be like without Larry around," said Larry Hodge, athletic director at the Mid-Illini Conference School. "He's been involved in about every sport you can imagine. You can always count on him. He's always there when we need him."
Stranz has always been there as a scorer, clockkeeper, statistician, volunteer coach, organizer, fundraiser, promoter and in many other sports-related capacities throughout the Limestone school system.
He's also humble - and admits to an ongoing struggle in the search for at least one sport in which he has a chance to become proficient.
"I can't golf, can't bowl, darts... I really can't do anything well," said Stranz, 60, an electrician by trade who is facility manager at the Peoria County Courthouse. His behind-the-scenes contributions have also benefited Illinois Central College.
"I'm proud of this award and very grateful," said Stranz, "but please mention there are people who have done the same things at every school, hundreds of them."
Consider it mentioned.
Through the years, the Stranz family - wife Pat, children Chris and Deana - has shared in Dad's tireless athletic activities. That makes it an even better story. Even if he has trouble throwing a Frisbee.
As a member of the first four-year class at Limestone High, Larry Stranz was eager to help get a positive athletic tradition started for the Bartonville school. All he lacked was talent.
|Jerry & Elaine Reibling|
For four decades Jerry and Elaine have volunteered their time and effort to benefit the runners competing in events within the Tri-County. Just prior to Jerry’s induction into the Steamboat Classic Hall of Fame in 2015, the race’s co-founder, Steve Shostrom said, “Jerry and Elaine are treasures in the running community. They have made substantial, lasting contributions to the Steamboat Classic and the Illinois Valley Striders over the years. They have worked tirelessly at countless local races through heat, rain, ice, snow and wind to get quick, accurate results for runners of all ages and abilities." Jerry was involved with the Steamboat Classic for 35 years and Elaine has been a part of the Race for the Cure for about 30 years. Married over 50 years, the Rieblings helped pioneer the transformation from hand timing to computerized timing for the major running events in the Tri-County area. In addition to the Steamboat Classic and Race for the Cure, they have served at the following events over their decades of service: the IHSA State Cross Country Meet; Illinois Valley Striders events; countless high school invitationals including the Richard Spring Memorial Invitational (Peoria Notre Dame) and the Peoria High Invitational at Detweiler Park; and Bradley University and the University of Illinois cross country meets and invitationals. Jerry has also raised funds for the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital by participating in the Memphis to Peoria Run and running the satellite event from Canton to Peoria. The dedication and passion of Jerry and Elaine for these events has enabled thousands of others to experience achievement and enjoyment while competing in running events.