NeveHarms It is appropriate that this prestigious award named for Neve Harms be awarded this year to co-winner Walter Eisele, as Walt was one of the original members of the Proctor Recreation Comet Club, a youth group founded by Neve Harms in 1935.
A retired electrician, Walt has been involved with youth-oriented organizations for over 50 years, either by spearheading fundraisers for youth programs or by co-ordinating youth sports activities.
A graduate of Manual where he lettered in football, Walt has always been a "doer" - whatever the job, big or small, he does it!! He has been a long-time member, former Board Member and Past President of the Independent Sports Club; he has also been active in the Old Timers Baseball Association, serving on their Board of Directors for several years.
A charter Board member and co-founder of the Spalding Booster Club, he was named "Spalding Booster of the Year" in 1966-67 for his many years of service to that group. For his outstanding and dedicated service to Carver Center, he was honored by their Board of Directors. His volunteer efforts also involve the "Meals on Wheels" program.
Walt is currently President of the "Friends of Fatherless Boys and Girls," a group that he helped form over 20 years ago. This is probably his favorite youth program, as he has been a Board Member since its beginning.
An avid sports fan, Walt's retirement years have been occupied with golf, bowling, and fishing. Although Walt and Gert, his wife of 47 years, travel extensively, he still finds time for his two daughters and threee grandchildren. It is a bit ironic that he met Gert on the tennis courts of Proctor Center.
One of Walt's first jobs was as a life guard at Proctor Center. Who gave him that job - none other than Neve Harms himself!!"
It is appropriate that this prestigious award named for Neve Harms be awarded this year to co-winner Walter Eisele, as Walt was one of the original members of the Proctor Recreation Comet Club, a youth group founded by Neve Harms in 1935.
Hockey was a sport local fans could watch only if they went to Chicago or St. Louis until BardezBanian founded the Peoria Stars in 1959.
The two were with the Pekin Stars until 1970, when they formed the Peoria Blades, on the outdoor rink at Logan, in 1971. The Logan "bubble" went up the next year and the Blades, through membership in the Continental League, gave Peoria a solid taste of hockey.
BardezBanian played with the Blades for a few years, then became president while Olson always served as the team's general manager.
And the two gave hockey a boost whenever they could. BardezBanian coached the Bradley University club team for many years and both were instrumental in starting and maintaining youth hockey in Pekin and Peoria.
Both are now retired, Olson from Caterpillar's Mossville plant and BardezBanian from a management position with the City of Peoria.