NeveHarms The Neve Harms Award for meritorious service to the youth of central Illinois is awarded this year to Dan Shea, who is the 44th recipient of this award.
Dan has been active in numerous volunteer sports, church and community events for 50 years. These activities consist of coaching and officiating in intermurals at Holy Family grade school, with both boys and girls softball team. Dan volunteered on many evenings and weekends.
He was on the board and co-director for years in the annual March of Dimes Snowball Softball Games as well as the March of Dimes One Mile Mall Run. He was a 10 year member of the Illinois Valley Striders board and was in charge of the Steamboat 4 mile course for 10 years.
Dan, 73, is on the Peoria Mayor's Commission for the disabled. He is also on the Holy Family Mexican mission committee.
He has helped veterans clean up Soldiers Hill in Springdale Cemetery, and has helped Santa at the Journal Star Red Stocking Fund party for 28 years. Dan still helps as a monitor for the Steamboat Classic, the Brimfield Run, the Jack Kenny Gaelic Gallop, the OSF Wildlife Park Race, the Race for the Cure, and the Mike McGlaughlin Run in Bradley Park.
Despite a 6-bypass heart surgery and diabetes that limited his walking to a cane and a 3-wheel walker, Dan still helps coach Ed McGraw with his girls track and cross-country teams at East Peoria High School.
Despite all his activities, he found time to bowl in two leagues and played in two softball leagues. He also coached Jimmy's Bar girls softball team for eight years in the 1980's and 1990's.
Besides volunteering for many other activities, he ran for 20 years between ages 45-65 and competed in 336 races from New Hampshire to Hawaii and Florida to California. He also completed seven marathons and 10 triathlons. He continues to volunteer at Holy Family School as well as at the Knights of Columbus.
Dan wrote sports for the Peoria Journal Star for 10 years in the 1950's. He served with the U.S. Army during the Korean War and retired from the Journal Star in 1992 after 41 years, the last 26 years as Day News Editor.
The Neve Harms Award for meritorious service to the youth of central Illinois is awarded this year to Dan Shea, who is the 44th recipient of this award.
As a man devoted to sports, Mick Donahue contributed an essential (and sometimes underappreciated) service to organized sports in Peoria for decades. His passion for athletics began as a youth as a participant in the Salvation Army Junior League Tournament and Proctor Center Basketball League. At Peoria Manual High School in the early 50’s, he played on the baseball team. After graduating from Manual, he was a player/manager on the LeTourneau-Westinghouse team in the old Industrial League, which was one of the nation’s top amateur sports organizations at the time.
Mick spent much of his life coaching, organizing and officiating youth sports in the area, especially baseball, softball, basketball and volleyball. He volunteered as a coach from 1957-72 for the St. Boniface Mustangs. Additionally he coached numerous Little League and Pony League teams.
Over the next several decades, he volunteered thousands of hours organizing and administering officials for various league play in the community. Beginning in 1972, he supervised adult softball and basketball leagues for the Peoria Park District. He also scheduled officials/umpires for the area’s catholic grade schools as well as many basketball, baseball, and softball games for the Peoria Public Schools. In his over 30 years with the Peoria Park District, Mick trained, assigned, and supervised officials for adult softball games for leagues at Peoria Stadium and Sterling school. He organized a force of volunteer basketball officials for the Prairie State Games.
Even after his passing in 2011, his legacy in sports continued to have a positive impact for a charitable cause. As a tribute and acknowledgement of his decades of dedication to local softball leagues, a Mick Donahue Memorial Tournament was held in August of 2013, on the park district diamonds near Peoria Stadium. Many teams participated and many others, including umpires, volunteered their services. Proceeds from the successful event were donated to the PKD (Polycystic Kidney Disease) Foundation, a disease being fought by his granddaughter. Concurrent with the tournament, a park bench was dedicated near the large diamond near Peoria Stadium. The small plaque affixed to the bench, reads, “In Memory of Mick Donahue for his dedication to softball and the Peoria Park District.”