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posted: 4/15/2013 11:43 AM

2013 Liberty Bell Award winners announced

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19th Judicial Circuit submission

As part of the 19th Judicial Circuit's celebration of Law Day U.S.A., the circuit will present Liberty Bell Awards to two longtime volunteers and an organization.

The award, in memory of Lake County Judge Thomas R. Smoker who died in 2004, will be presented at noon Wednesday, April 24, at a meeting of the Lake County Bar Association.

Originated in Michigan in the 1960s, the Liberty Bell Award is given to individuals and/or organizations for their outstanding service and for their dedication to further the administration of justice.

The criteria is broad but generally recognizes those who have promoted a better understanding of the rule of law; encouraged a greater respect for law and the courts; stimulated a sense of civic responsibility; and contributed to good government in the community.

These awards have been presented by the Circuit Court of Lake County since 1996. The recipients of the award are selected by a vote of the sitting circuit judges of Lake County.

The Liberty Bell Awards for 2013 will be presented to:

• Janice (Jan) Heikkila, a volunteer with the Lake County Probation Volunteer Program since its inception in August 1974.

• Bruce Skipper, a volunteer with the Lake County Probation Volunteer Program since its inception in August 1974. He has volunteered at both adult and juvenile probation.

• Zacharias Sexual Abuse Center of Gurnee ("ZCenter"), whose mission is to provide a place where survivors of sexual assault and abuse can heal and mobilize the community toward action to end sexual violence. ZCenter is the former LaCASA (Lake County Council Against Sexual Assault), which was incorporated as a nonprofit organization in 1983. In 2013, LaCASA/ZCenter will celebrate its 30th anniversary.

The Liberty Bell Award presentations will take place at Milan Banquet Hall in Waukegan.

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