Bethalto - September 9, 2011 - The bandstand in Bethalto Park featured a variety of entertainment throughout the Labor Day weekend as crowds gathered for Bethalto's Annual Homecoming, but perhaps the most touching moment of the weekend came when Phil Schneider, Senior Pastor of Cornerstone Church, presented this year's Rock Solid awards.
Arvel Fowler, a lifelong resident of Bethalto, was selected to receive the Rock of the Community award because of his dedication to the Bethalto Museum. Fowler founded the Bethalto Historical Museum in the mid-1980s and worked tirelessly for more than 20 years to collect artifacts of Bethalto's history. Unfortunately, Arvel was not present to receive his award. He passed away Friday, two days before the award presentation. One of the nominating letters said it best - Arvel LOVES Bethalto. In addition to his work with the museum, Fowler was a member of the Bethalto Spirit Group volunteering his time to help with the annual Chirstmas Walk." Arvel embodied the type of person we want to honor with this award," said Schneider. "It is a lifetime achievement award and he continued to work to improve the museum as long as physically possible."
Three others were recognized during the awards presentations Sunday evening. Nate Hoffman received the award for Village Employee of the Year; Vicky Newberry accepted the award as School Employee of the Year; and, Robert and Juanita Lowrance received the award for Volunteers of the Year.
Hoffman, an employee of the Bethalto Public Works Department for 14 years, was lauded as an extremely dependable, hard worker respected by his co-workers and supervisors. "Nate is quiet and unassuming but he gets the job done," according to one co-worker.
Vicky Newberry is a special needs teacher at Meadowbrook Elementary School and has served at several schools in the district during her 24-year tenure. "She discovered very early that she loved working with and helping children.. She loves her job," stated the resident who submitted the nomination.
Robert and Juanita Lowrance have been involved in the Bethalto community for many years serving as Cub Scout leaders, supporting local school sports and other activities while raising their children. Robert was part of the group that worked to bring a Boys and Girls Club to Bethalto. They currently can be seen at sporting events showing support for their grandchildren and both
continue to volunteer with the Senior Citizen's Center of Bethalto.
"It's important to recognize people for the incredible work they do for the families of Bethalto," said Schneider. "My family and the Cornerstone family have been blessed by so many in the community and we recognize the extra effort. This is our fourth year presenting these Rock Solid awards. There are so many in the Bethalto community who go above and beyond to make this a
great place to live and work. We're just beginning to scratch the surface. This is one way to show our appreciation."
If Bethalto residents would like to submit nominations for future consideration, please send letters to Cornerstone Church, PO Box 136, Bethalto, IL, 62010.