Mid Illinois Chapter announces local heroes


Every day, people in our community perform heroic deeds with little or no fanfare. During the Heartland Heroes Dinner, the Mid-Illinois Chapter honors individuals or groups whose extraordinary acts of courage and kindness make them a hero. A panel of judges convened and selected the following individuals to be honored at the event next month.

  • Citizenship Hero, Brian Byers of Decatur. For the past 12 years, Byers has been a champion for local food pantries in Macon County.  Through the WSOY Food Drive, many pantries receive precious food for low-income families.  This past year, after the Oklahoma Tornadoes, Byers also raised $150,000 in just 6 hours to benefit disaster victims.
  • Every Day Hero, Ryan Clark of Blue Mound. On July 29, 2013, Clark noticed the smell of gas at his aunt’s home.  He shut off the gas and then rescued his aunt who was very nauseous and weak.  The furnace’s faulty valve caused the gas leak in the home that was so dangerous; Ameren employees were unable to enter the home for 3 hours.
  • Youth Courage Heroes, Riley Matlock and Grace Shaw of Decatur. Following the devastating Oklahoma tornadoes last June, Riley and Grace decided they needed to do something to help.  The 10 and 11 year old raised $90 to support tornado victims by selling lemonade and snow cones.
  • Youth Courage Heroes, Michael Dust of Decatur, Nicholas Scherer and Austin Conour of Dalton City. At 11pm on June 13, 2013, Dust, Scherer and Conour came upon an accident at the intersection of Rt. 36 and Macon County Highway 57.  The vehicle was engulfed in flames, but the 3 could see that the driver was still in the vehicle.  Dust, Scherer and Conour attempted to extinguish the flames and rescue the occupant.  The 3 teens with the assistance of a Mt. Zion Officer were able to retrieve the driver from the vehicle, but sadly, the driver had perished as a result of the accident.
  • Valor Award, Brock Dieu of Danville. Dieu, a Danville Firefighter, responded to a home fire on June 16th in the 1000 block of Logan in Danville.  One resident was trapped inside the home.  Without hesitation, Dieu ran into the burning home and rescued the individual who was trapped on the roof.
  • Senior Hero, Don Peterson of Decatur. Just a couple of weeks before he passed away, Peterson reached another milestone in a blood donor’s journey, 22 gallons of blood donated to the Red Cross.  His dedication saved countless lives and ensured that a stable blood supply was available to those who needed it.
  • In Memoriam, Pastor B.G. Nevitt. To all those who knew him, Pastor Nevitt was a mentor, friend and inspiration.  This community leader and hometown activist touched thousands of lives and was taken from the community too soon following a motorcycle crash in August 2013.