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Citizens of Character 2014

The Seventh Annual
Community of Character 2015 Honorees

13 Honored for Strength of Character

Thirteen people were honored in 2014 at the seventh annual Belleville Achieves Strength in Character dinner. 

Organizers said they especially looked for "unsung individuals," or people who make an ongoing, positive difference in the community without the intention of drawing attention to themselves.  

  The 2014 Award Winners Are:

Rebecca Boyer

Becca has been called a model of “Citizenship” as she responds to any opportunity to make our community, nation and world a better place. In her position at Kaskaskia Engineering, Becca contributes to the culture of service that Kaskaskia embraces. She serves on the Belleville Zoning Board, was a strong part of the two-year Belleville 200th Committee, helps in local elections, volunteers in most of the downtown festivals, serves on the steering committee for the Belleville Helping Belleville Day, and is an Ambassador for the Greater Belleville Chamber of Commerce. Becca gives countless hours in all of these endeavors while keeping an upbeat, positive attitude even when things are not always going well. She serves with a smile and gives great encouragement to those she works alongside.  Becca Boyer is a person who lives a life that shows unwavereing character to the community.

Cynthia Colbert

Cindi has been described as a person who displays the 12 Character Life Skills on a regular basis. Cindi is one of those people who is not limited by her job description as Head Teacher at Jefferson School, but consistently goes above and beyond those duties to impact the young lives of those she works with. Cindi is often called on to connect with parents and work on managing student behavior. She does that exemplifying fairness and responsibility. In addition to her teaching and administration duties, Cindi has touched the lives of many Americorps workers as their trainer and has made this an incredibly valuable part of District 118. Cindi is the definition of perseverance, never giving up on students, and is a great example of self-discipline and patience.

Sue Ellen Dumstorff


Sue Ellen has been described as the woman behind-the-scenes for some of Belleville’s most successful civic programs. She is known to tirelessly rally friends and family to support the causes that she sees as cornerstones of a successful city. She serves as a Eucharistic Minister at Blessed Sacrament Church, is a longtime volunteer for Art on the Square, and has served on the Board of Directors for the Belleville Area Humane Society. Sue Ellen has for many years worked with the St. Elizabeth’s Friends Leadership Council, currently serving as Vice-Chair, and has been deeply involved in many programs that have supported both Belleville hospitals. She has been involved with the Children’s Miracle Network, Friends with Kids with Cancer, and the Philanthropic Educational Organization. If you need something accomplished, Sue Ellen can help get it done.

Rachel Jackson-Bramwell

Rachel has accomplished great things in her young life. Through Project Compassion, a not-for-profit she founded 9 years ago, she has assisted over 45,000 homeless, dis-advantaged and low-income men, women and children in many solid ways. Rachel opened the Compassionate Resource Center in 2011 to prepare young women to become successful. Her efforts through the Self-Esteem & Self-Worth Program and the Girlz On Purpose Tour are showing great results in the lives of young women in our community. Rachel Jackson-Bramwell is an example of what can be great in our community and beyond.

Nathan Karlas

Nathan Karlas is the picture of the life skills of caring and empathy.He is a special education teacher at Belleville West High School and is instrumental in the School District’s Night School Program. Anyone who knows Nathan knows that he cares deeply about his students. He builds relationships with them and learns their stories. Nathan understands that it is a struggle for many of his students to get through high school. He never passes judgment and treats all people with respect. It is not an exaggeration to say that many young people in the Belleville area have their diplomas because of Nathan and the support that he provided to them.

Bernard Lengerman

Bernard is the most senior Citizen of Character we have ever honored. He has served in many tremendous ways in his 91 years and, best of all, he’s still serving. After serving in WW II, Bernard brought that spirit of serving home to Belleville, working for 50 years at the Catholic Knights and Ladies of Illinois. Beyond the service he provided there, Bernard has been active continuously through St. Teresa’s Parish and the St. Vincent de Paul Society. For over 50 years he has been a member and officer of the Serra Club, has been a member of the Althoff Father and Friends Club and the Layman’s Association of the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows.

Bernard continues his service even today by volunteering at the Community Interfaith Food Pantry and at PSOP. Bernard Lengerman is synonymous with service.

Cindy McGlothlin

In the nomination of Cindy McGlothlin it noted that she is our “community’s servant par excellent!” She is described as a neighborhood promoter, a church volunteer worker, a volunteer at the Community Interfaith Food Pantry and a valued member of the Turkey Hill Grange. Friends describe Cindy as a “spark plug” for whatever group has the joy of her service. She has created new events and helped bring new life into programs that were thought to be on life-support. Recently when her church’s youth group was about to lose their annual mission trip due to a lack of funds, Cindy picked up the role of organizer and helped raise $14,000 to help see them on their way. Cindy’s attitude in all of her endeavors is “what can I do to help?” She is truly a community servant.

Marlaina Reel

If you were to look at Marlaina Reel’s resume,’ you would see that she is the School Nurse at Jefferson School. But what you wouldn’t see there is that Marlaina is far more than just the School Nurse. She is not constrained by a job description. Marlaina’s caring goes far beyond helping to keep Jefferson’s students healthy. She teaches them to take care of their whole being, often enlisting help from dentists, doctors and optimologists to provide community care. Her care goes even beyond the physical though as she helps at PTA Reading, Math and Science  Nights, makes auction baskets to help needy families, gathers clothes for students who need them and drives them to eye appointments. She’s even known to fix malfunctioning office machines, all with a smile. Marlaina Reel CARES about her Jefferson family.

Marilyn Rossi

Marilyn Rossi is described as a person who makes a positive difference wherever she is. A person of strong faith, Marilyn is very involved at her parish, St. Luke’s, where she serves on the hospitality committee. Marilyn is a strong supporter of her alma mater, Althoff Catholic High School, is a dedicated member of the Swansea Rotary and the Swansea Chamber of Commerce where she currently serves as an Ambassador.

She is a volunteer with High Mount School where she works countless hours as the district’s Treasurer.If you have been to any major community event, you have most likely seen Marilyn Rossi as she has volunteered for  the Belleville Chili Cook-off, Downtown Trick or Treat, Art on the Square, Wine, Dine and Jazz, the Belleville Bicentennial and the Fairview Heights Seniors’ Bingo.Marilyn Rossi is a great example of a selfless person who wants to be helpful wherever she is needed.

Patton and Whitney Segraves

Patton and Whitney were nominated together because so much of what they do to impact the lives of the students at Belleville West High School is done together. Often, you’ll see Whitney, with their three young daughters in tow, attending the track meets where Patton coaches. The athletes look to the Segraves as great role models and are able to attend dinners in their home for bonding and coaching in the skills of life, especially parenting, that will help them succeed. They are caring adults who recently took a young man into their home when he was experiencing difficulties in his home situation. They have provided a permanent home for this young man and the entire family has embraced him as one of their own. This is just one indication of the Segrave’s devotion for doing what they can do to make individuals' lives better and to help create a better community.

Christine Stewart

Christine Stewart, like many of our Citizens of Character, is an exceptional school teacher at Governor French Academy, but is involved in giving of herself in so many other ways as well.

At Governor French, she volunteers as a coach for the math team and the WYSE team. She is active as a kindergarten teacher in her church’s Sunday School and helps with her son’s Boy Scout troop and her daughter’s Venturing Crew. She is described as the “heart and soul” of the Girl Scout program at Governor French as she works with all of the troops and assists in training new leaders. She has been a delegate for the Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois for years and has recently been elected to represent her council at the National Level. With her involvement in scouting, Christine has taken on the mission to upgrade some of the cabins at Camp Butterfly near Farmington, Missouri. She and her volunteers have accomplished a great deal, but more remains on Christine’s “to do” list. Regardless of the time and energy needed, Christine Stewart will see her mission to completion. She is a true Citizen of Character and an example for us all.

Lori Taylor

Lori Taylor is an example of someone who makes their occupation a “calling” that embodies so much more than is what is required by the job. In her interactions with students, staff and the families of Union School, she exhibits what is described as an approach of  LOVE. That loving involvement and dedication can be seen in the achievement of the students in her care. The students at Union School outpace almost all schools in the state with similar demographics. She leads them in learning how to live out character. Union School was recognized as the Illinois Do the Right Thing School of the year for 2013-2014. Her mantra is that fair doesn’t mean treating everyone the same. Fair means giving each student exactly what they need. That mantra and her caring for the good of her students have led Lori to be involved throughout the community, helping to provide a summer camp for those in the 17th Street Neighborhood Association, and advocating for her students and their families. Lori Taylor has rightly been called a “gift to the Belleville Community.”

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