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.
Larry Leitner was among the state's elite officials for more than 40 years, officiating high school, college and professional sporting events from 1960 through 2003 and he remains involved in sports by serving on the board of directors for the Pekin Insurance Holiday Tournament, as well as evaluating current officials and moderating IHSA rules clinics.
Among his officiating highlights, Leitner worked more IHSA basketball and football tournament games than any official in the state's history, earning 27 consecutive boys basketball regional assignments. He also worked the IHSA boys basketball state finals in 1973, 1974 and 1976, including the 1976 championship game, and three IHSA football finals, including the first-ever 2A state championship game in 1974. A charter member of the Gateway Conference officiating crew in 1988, Leitner was part of the crew that officiated the 1990 and 1993 NCAA Division I-AA quarterfinals and he served as an associate official for the Big Ten Conference from 1984-88.
Leitner also was called upon to officiate two IESA state championship games, the 1990 National Catholic Basketball finals, three Shriner All-Star football games and the 1980 IBCA All-Star Classic, while also working for two seasons in the Midwest Professional Football League.
Leitner is a member of the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association, Peoria Officials and Bloomington/Normal Officials Halls of Fame.