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hometown heroes

12 Heroes honored for their contributions to the Peoria community

Posted 2/20/24

The Heroes came out in spades to be honored Feb. 20 at the Rio Vista Community Center in Peoria.

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hometown heroes

12 Heroes honored for their contributions to the Peoria community


The Heroes came out in spades to be honored Feb. 20 at the Rio Vista Community Center in Peoria.

Independent Newsmedia celebrated its 3rd annual Hometown Heroes program with a luncheon, which was attended by friends, family and dignitaries.

The Hometown Heroes Awards are a celebration of Peoria businesses as well as  individuals who live or work in the city for their local achievements and distinguished contributions to the community,

Independent Newsmedia President and CEO Charlene Bisson opened the event, and Peoria Councilmember Brad Shafer spoke.

Video interviews of the Heroes were produced by members of the city’s communications team, as well as Peoria Unified, and were shown at the event.

Peoria Independent News Editor Philip Haldiman presented the awards.

The 12 Hero nominees were featured with a story in the Peoria Independent and at YourValley.net over the last year, which culminated in a luncheon catered by Dillon’s Kansas City BBQ.

The following Heroes were honored at the event. Photos include Haldiman, who presented the awards.

• Lifetime Achievement, Vicki Hunt: Long standing community member who has consistently stepped forward and exemplified a passion for giving back to the Peoria community.

• Trailblazer, The Hope Effect, Joshua Becker (pictured) and Joe Darago: Individual or company who launches a path for others to follow through on new endeavors.

• Healthcare, RaeRae of Light, Amy Norris: Influential professional who is a leader and provides top-notch care for the community or awareness on an important medical issue.

• Educator, Megan Cox: Teacher who has inspired students beyond their own learning expectation.

• Emergency Responder, Sarah Trieu, first female Peoria motor cop: Person who steps forward during an emergency in Peoria, or blazes a path for others.

• Spiritual Leader, Gavin Linderman, Axiom Church: A spiritual leader who displays good works in the Peoria community.

• Community Cheerleader, Rosalind Shanley: Individual who rallies and organizes positivity for the community.

• Mentor/Coach, Bobby Gonzalo, Peoria High School: Person who works with, and is a role model for the younger community.

• Veteran, Tad Snidecor, Veteran Advisor Corps: Former military person who served or continues to serve within the Peoria community.

• Volunteer, Lori Jensen, Just Serve: Person who has donated their time and skills to assist or improve the community.

• Entrepreneur, Joey Lucidi, Westside Concepts: An individual who launches an idea into a new business and serves the community.

• Leader of Tomorrow, Cougarjade Reyes, Peoria Unified (18 or younger), was unable to attend: Youth who shows leadership and involvement within the community.