Sue Barsaloux – Sue is a 27 year veteran of the Chiro-Med organization and is dedicated to serving others in any way she can. She has been involved with the board of the Downtown YMCA, Get Up & Go, and the Get Up & Go Biathlon. Sue is a member of the Belleville Running Club and founded the Belleville Walking Club. Sue also created and directs the Chiro-Med 5K Winter Luau held right here in our hometown. In its 9th year, this premier event raises money for local Special Olympics. Her leadership helps raise up others, both personally and professionally. She is never afraid of a challenge and her desire to learn and grow inspires all those she comes in contact with.
Dr. Thomas Birkner – For “Doc”, music has been the medium for a life of character and citizenship which flows from his teaching, singing, and playing. He is retired from 23 years of service to our community through his work directing bands at Belleville West. Doc’s humble approach to building strong people through the craft of music is appreciated by a generation of appreciative families in Belleville and the surrounding areas. As a result of Doc’s inspiration, many of his former students are now professional musicians and educators across the country. He remains active as a professional trumpet player and singer as well as a faculty member in the music department at SWIC.
Ally Dyer – As the youngest recipient in the history of the awards, Ally established herself as a citizen of character through her work as a 4th grader in Mt. Vernon, Il where she developed a fundraiser for a homeless shelter that raised over $12,000 over several years. Belleville was fortunate when Ally moved to town with her family in 2013. As a sophomore at Belleville East, Ally created the Blessing Belleville Banquet. This event has raised over $27,000 divided amongst Project Compassion, Caritas Family Solutions, and Beacon Ministries over a three year period. Now a senior, Ally has mentored others in her age group so the banquet can carry on in the future.
Marlene Frazer – A quiet, humble community member, Marlene is always ready to step up and help her church and her community in any that she can. Marlene is active on the Evangelism Team and serves as the lead usher at Union UMC. She volunteers at the Belleville marathon and Tour de Belleville. Marlene serves a treasurer for the Turkey Hill Grange and is one of the first to volunteer for Grange events. She is dedicated to activities that support youth and individuals with disabilities. Marlene impresses those who know her with her caring and respectful nature. Marlene is the sort of unsung hero we are proud to recognize as a citizen of character.
Joe Hubbard – A community servant since he teens, Joe has a tireless dedication to those who need food, medical attention, transportation, housing or any other basic need at any hour of the day or night. Joe spent 40 years with Catholic Urban Programs where he still volunteers and is director of Mt. Carmel Cemetery. Joe calls Belleville’s General and Community Assistance Office daily to encourage the staff. They feel lucky to have his support and guidance. Each day, he treats people from all walks of life with respect and care. He shows empathy and fairness in his outreach to people from all walks of life. Joe’s work strengthens our community and makes it a better place to live.
Crystal Nesbit – Crystal is a special education teacher at Belleville East and is passionate for the students she cares for. Recognizing the need for improved fitness among individuals with disabilities, Crystal worked to become a certified fitness instructor and establish the POPS or People of Possibilities fitness class at Belleville Health and Sports Center. As a mentor for the BASIC Youth Board for the past nine years. Crystal has earned the respect of the youth by exemplifying empathy, cooperation, and citizenship in her work to make a difference in the lives of young people as well as the Belleville community.
Jason Poole – A tireless supporter of the City of Belleville and the countless activities that make the community great, Jason serves as the Director of Public Works. It is Jason’s efforts that provide the behind the scenes support for events like Art on the Square, the Belleville Marathon, and BASIC’s Keep Belleville Beautiful and Belleville Helping Belleville community service days. Jason is “the guy you can always count on” no matter the day or time. If you call, he will answer and do whatever he can to represent Belleville in the most positive light. We are proud to recognize Jason and thank him for his work on behalf of many organizations, including the BASIC Initiative!
Dr. Phil Silsby – Dr. Phil Silby has truly enhanced the quality of life in Belleville through his many leadership roles. Phil served as principal of Belleville West for twelve years and demonstrated respect of every student, teacher, and staff member on campus. He created an atmosphere of positivity and encouraged everyone else to do the same. Phil served as Alderman for Ward 5 for over twelve years and was often the voice of reason at City Council meetings; always willing to work with others to create solutions. Currently, he provides leadership as the Seniors Pastor at Grace Church for those 55 or older. Phil’s positive, caring attitude has left a mark on all those he meets in our community.
Sally Stephens – Although involved in a variety of programs and activities at Belleville West, Sally provides perhaps her greatest impact as the leader of the STAR Team at the high school. In this role, Sally leads a team of teachers devoted to supporting at-risk students by helping to build their confidence and support positive decision-making. Sally has created a refuge for countless students struggling to navigate through the challenges of high school and adolescence. Sally is humble and doesn’t seek recognition, rather she serves others and constantly gives credit to the team she is leading for the consistent success they experience.
Jesse Swift – Jesse Swift has a passion for helping students to become the best they can be – in athletics, academics, and the social arena. His work at Belleville West began as a campus patrol, but has grown in to much more than that. Students seek him out for advice on many issues, and, because he always has time for others, parents often confide in him as well. He is an integral part of the athletic program at the school, particularly working on the Boys Basketball coaching staff for the past 23 years. He trains many of the school’s athletes and makes sure the players are in the best physical condition they can be. Jesse’s heart for the students at Belleville West is unmatched and he works hard to make a difference every day.
Jack Weck – A kind and generous community volunteer, Jack is behind the scenes working on many of the events that make Belleville a great place to live and work. He serves on the Foundation Leadership Council for St. Elizabeth’s Hospital. He lends his talents to the Cathedral of St Peter as Parish Trustee, Cathedral Men's Choir, Eucharistic Minister, and volunteers weekly at Althoff Father and Friends Bingo and Notre Dame Academy Bingo. He is an Ambassador of the Chamber of Commerce, a member of the Serra Club, and is retired as the Shrine Photographer and Community Relations Director. If there is an event in Belleville, Jack is probably there and we all benefit from his work ethic and dedicated service.
Linda Williams – In 2000, Linda worked with a dedicated group of volunteers to create and open the Children's Dyslexia Center at the Scottish Rite Cathedral. The Center opened in 2002 and provides one-on-one tutoring for students with dyslexia. Other Scottish Rite Dyslexia Centers offer tutoring, but often with a charge. It is through Linda's diligent fundraising, advocacy, and dedication that the Bellevillle Center has never charged for its services. The Center provides transformational instruction that changes the trajectory for life for a struggling reader and, because of the training that is provided to the tutors, often public school teachers, Linda's efforts extend well beyond those who visit the Center for tutoring.
Dr. Steve Suess Student of Character – McKenna Rafferty: From an early age, McKenna found her love for swimming which led her to Lindenwood University Belleville. As a Freshman & Sophomore she made the National Team and was named an All American Swimmer in the NAIA . As a sophomore she was the women's team captain for the Lynx swim team and placed 7th in the NAIA National Championship. She was also named Swimmer of the Month through Mid South Conference. A strong scholar as well. McKenna has taken a rigorous course load and been named to the deans honor roll. McKenna has a passion for children and teaching. She is excited to student teach this Spring and secure a full time teaching position in the Fall.