Kane County Judge Clint Hull receives two awards for community service

With all of the things swirling through his head the moment he realized he was winning the 2017 Charlemagne Award the night of the recent event at Pheasant Run, the last thing on Circuit Court Judge Clint Hull's mind was his place in city history for an impressive "double win."

Hull became the sixth person to deliver on the community daily double of being honored as a top citizen with the Charlemagne from the St. Charles Chamber of Commerce, and the 2016 William D. Barth Award from TriCity Family Services.

"Every year I go to the Charlemagne Award event and I think about how cool it would be to have an opportunity to be recognized like that," Hull said. "And it was a complete surprise, and just a great weekend because they got my two sons back from college and the whole family was here."

Hull is the first to win these two prestigious honors for service to the community in successive years.

He joins a list of other double winners that includes Max Hunt, who won Charlemagne in 1978 and Barth in 1991; Fred Norris with Charlemagne in 1987 and Barth in 2013; Vern Oie with Charlemagne in 1998 with his wife Sharon, and Barth in 2003; Vernon Guynn with Charlemagne in 2006 with his wife Vee, and Barth in 1995; and Betsy Penny with Charlemagne in 2004 and Barth in 2000.

It's lofty company, but a stratosphere Hull has admired for years.

It again confirmed he made the right choice to stay in his hometown of St. Charles when many of his friends were leaving for jobs in other parts of the country after college.

"I never thought about going anywhere else other than coming back to St. Charles and starting my career," Hull said.

His love affair with his hometown has much to do with his mother working at the high school and being in charge of the cheerleaders in the 1970s, thus taking him to just about every home or away Saints' football or basketball game.

"I couldn't wait to be a Saint," said Hull, who made good on that wait by having a stellar academic and soccer career during his prep years in the mid 1980s.

By the time he had established a career in law, and eventually in the circuit court, Hull also knew that serving his community in many different ways had significant meaning - from his years on the St. Charles Park District Board, to his role in juvenile court and helping countless youths get back on track with a second chance program.

He spends countless hours speaking with St. Charles students to inform them of the dangers of the cesspool side of social media, and other temptations.

"I will never forget the first year I went to Charlemagne, in 1997 when John Wredling won it," Hull said of the longtime school superintendent. "I did not who John was, but when he got on stage, his speech was off-the-cuff and brilliant; I was just mesmerized by his ability."

It was another learning moment for Hull, who for all these years has pointed to the Wiffle ball games his friends played against my newspaper team in the late 1970s in their backyard, hand-built stadium as a major influence on his life.

"The Wiffle ball stuff has been a real moniker for me, and I tell my 22-year-old son about how you never know how things will come out, but so many things came out of that Wiffle ball experience," Hull said. "I always tell my kids how important it is to have good relationships with adults and get to know them."

The moral of that story for parents, I suppose, is that if your kids want to build a ballpark in their backyard, you should let them do it. Some prestigious awards may await their futures.

For special needs:

This is an area of education that surely has changed for the better, as I don't recall these types of students decades ago getting their deserved attention.

The Batavia Special-Education Parent Network is hosting its fifth annual Parent Resource Fair from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 22, at Batavia High School.

This free event gives parents of children with special needs an opportunity to meet people from various organizations or businesses that serve these individuals - from early childhood to age 22.

Parents are likely to find out about recreational programs, therapy providers, educational consultants, advocacy programs and other support of great benefit to these kids.

Fans down under:

It seems I have picked up a few readers in Australia in the past week. They just happened to be gentlemen who worked with or knew Henry Flora of Aurora Township.

Last week I wrote about Flora's exploits with the Signal Corps, working for Gen. Douglas MacArthur in the Pacific Theater of World War II.

Not to mention, he was scheduled to celebrate his 100th birthday with family and friends from Batavia on Feb. 17.

These fellows in Australia took the time to send me a note, thanking me for the article.

I should be thanking them again for their service to our country, and to Henry for taking the time to talk to and inspire me, not only with his wartime story, but also with his quick mind and awareness of the past and present as he reached the century mark.

Taking those steps:

It was a nice Christmas gift, partly because I had never given a tremendous amount of thought to the number of steps I take during the course of a day.

As one could easily imagine, I am sitting and writing for quite a few hours a week working on this column and also for a full-time job for a media company covering the financial services and payments industries.

But I got a Fitbit activity monitor as a gift and set the challenge of walking 10,000 steps a day. My wife and I walk the dog at least once, sometimes twice, a day. So that had to add up, right?

Not really. It's not easy to hit 10,000 steps, but I have somehow managed to do it. As of this writing, I hit that goal for 29 of 30 days. The day I missed was when the sidewalks were like a sheet of ice.

So, I'm thinking it will get easier when the weather warms up - if, and this is a big if, I can stay engaged and interested in this little device on my wrist.

Kane County judge Clint Hull addresses Larkin High School students about the consequences of making bad decisions about alcohol and drugs. For his service to the community, he has received both the 2016 William D. Barth Award and, more recently, the 96th annual Charlemagne Award. Daily Herald File Photo
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