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.
Neve Harms Award
The Greater Peoria Sports Hall of Fame Neve Harms Award, formerly the Peoria Advertising and Selling Club's Annual Meritorious Service to Sports Award, was named the Neve Harms Award in 1966 and for a very good reason.
As Director of Proctor Recreation Center, Harms observed the need for all youths to experience participation in sports activities, and not just the few who excelled. He, therefore, adopted a firm policy which assured that all youths would have an opportunity to play in games of the various sports controlled by Proctor Center. This plan met with much success and certainly with acceptance by parents whose children became more interested in sport activities at Proctor and consequently made good use of their free time.
Neve carried through this policy when he was appointed Superintendent of the Peoria City Recreation Department which later became part of the Peoria Park District. In addition, he also developed a system of recognition for all youths so that each young person could feel good about his or her efforts.
This kind of interest in all youths regardless of ability came from a most competitive and outstanding athlete. Neve was a four-sport player at Manual High School and a three-sport letter winner at Bradley University. He was a member of the 1929 Manual High School State Championship Basketball team.
Awards prior to 1981 were offered through the Peoria Advertising Club, rather than the Greater Peoria Sports Hall of Fame. We don't have biographies for these individuals. If anyone would be able to provide the bios that were written by the club at the time of the awards, we would very much appreciate receiving them for posting. We are also missing the Bruce Saurs' bio that was written in the 1991 Greater Peoria Sports Hall of Fame Banquet book, and we would like to receive it also. We are specifically interested in the bios written at the time of the awards, not more or less current. Please contact Rick at email@example.com.
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The first official Board of Directors meeting was held October 14, 1979. Officers were elected. Early decisions determined that the Hall of Famers would be from the Greater Peoria Area; the name would be The Greater Peoria Sports Hall of Fame; its purpose would be to promote and encourage the many varied sports programs in our area, to share with the area the pride we have in the accomplishments of area athletes, and to honor those men, women and teams contributing to our enjoyment and rich sports history.
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