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updated: 7/31/2011 8:20 AM

Keep Bob Leonard's passion alive

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  • Bob Leonard

    Bob Leonard


It's somewhat surprising, but probably understandable, that many people don't know what I am talking about when mentioning the Bob Leonard Walkway.

Lots of folks walk or ride a bike on it daily, and possibly don't even realize it.

Let's just say the St. Charles River Corridor Foundation has done an excellent job of improving the Fox River's shoreline the past decade, particularly on the west side in the area between the Illinois and Prairie Street bridges. That's where the Bob Leonard Walkway sits, named for one of the foundation's most passionate leaders after his passing.

I remind readers again, the fifth annual Bob Leonard 5K Run and Walk-A-Thon to raise more money for the cause of keeping the riverbanks beautiful will be held Saturday.

Registration forms can be downloaded at

Nothing quite like it:

When at least a half dozen people tell you, "I've never seen anything quite like this," you know something special is happening.

That's the only way to describe the turnout of 540 people last Monday night for the Friends of Rich Flores Benefit dinner at Pheasant Run. And that was after 280 golfers participated in the fundraiser at both Pheasant Run and Mill Creek for the former Batavia High School golf coach and longtime instructor.

"Do you believe this?" Flores asked near the end of the event that raised money for his fight against plasma cell cancer and primary amyloidosis, a rare heart disease.

Organizers of the event estimate that Flores' medical bills could surpass $1 million, and the fundraiser was a great way to start attacking those bills.

"I feel like I'm getting stronger," said Flores, who has undergone intense chemotherapy and a bone-marrow transplant.

"The kidney dialysis really wipes me out for about three or four days," Flores added. "But I am still hoping to get out and play nine holes of golf and carry my own bag by the end of the summer."

Flores' wife, Judy, delivered an emotional thank you to the crowd, saying she knew her husband had a lot of friends but she had no idea how many lives he had touched in such a meaningful way.

The greatest gift those friends could receive now would be to see Rich Flores teaching and playing golf again.

Going bananas:

There was much to be impressed with regarding the benefit for Rich Flores, but retired Pottawatomie pro Jim Wheeler and I came up with another aspect to rave about.

Wheeler, who volunteered to help at the fundraiser golf outing, finally sat down to eat at the Pheasant Run dinner afterward. When he went to the dessert table, he brought me a piece of banana nut cake.

If you are ever at a Pheasant Run banquet, ask if they have this choice available. It was, as Wheeler said, "Awesome."

Anything Culver's is OK:

Anything that would move the process along for St. Charles to approve a Culver's restaurant at the northwest corner of Main Street and Pheasant Run Drive is fine with me.

Not only do I think the food is pretty decent at Culver's, but I've had a good impression of the place since owner Craig Culver actually came over to my family's table at one of his restaurants in central Illinois, where we had stopped for a bite to eat on our way back from Springfield.

Culver had been in St. Louis for some type of meeting and was just stopping in for a visit. I thought he was just a regular employee, like in an "Undercover Boss" segment. He was an extremely likable fellow and gave us a brief history of his company as if were telling his best buddies.

Making his visits:

My service club has never had this many visits from a congressman, so I have to give Randy Hultgren credit for keeping his promise of stopping in on the Tri-Cities Exchange Club every five or six months to update us on what is happening -- or not happening, as the case may be -- in Washington, D.C.

As expected, you can tell Hultgren is still in awe of his role as a spokesman and decision-maker for the people of the 14th District, and he is solidly behind the Republican agenda of trimming government's role, getting debt under control and creating jobs by helping small businesses.

He recently went on a trip to Afghanistan to talk to the troops and military leaders with other congressmen, and he expressed confidence in those leaders to make the right decisions.

Hultgren leans to the side of the fence that says politicians should stay out of military strategy decisions, but history books tell us this has always been a tough call -- and depends entirely on the players involved at a particular moment in time.

Providing helping hands:

It was another job well done for a group of 77 volunteers from Geneva United Methodist Church in Geneva that recently returned from a week of work for the national Appalachia Service Project.

The church is particularly proud of this year's group, as it represents the most youths and adults to ever volunteer for work on the homes of low-income families in the rural areas of Knott County in Kentucky.