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An Evening With Friends: Illinois Outdoor Hall of Fame Banquet

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ISA President Don Rego and myself had the pleasure of attending the Illinois Outdoor Hall of Fame banquet this evening at Pheasant Run Resort in St. Charles.

Hosted by the Illinois Conservation Foundation and the IDNR, this annual event honors individuals and corporations for their distinguished service and undying commitment to natural resource protection and outdoor recreation.


The inductees for 2009 were Bill Guerrini, the late Don Hankla, Dwight Hoffard and Dr. George Rabb.

“Each of these individuals has a record of achievement that can inspire all of us as we work to preserve and protect the natural resources of Illinois,” said Illinois Department of Natural Resources Director Marc Miller.


It was an honor and privilege to help our friends and colleagues celebrate the legacies of people that have devoted much of their lives to conservation, and serve as an inspiration to all of us. Every time we were introduced to people we hadn't previously met, we were greeted warmly and thanked for all that the ISA does for Illinois natural resources.

New friendships were forged and old alliances strengthened, but this night belonged to people that one can only aspire to stand beside in the annals of conservation history.

We're thankful to be a part of it, inspired by their work ethic and blessed to have met them.


(l to r) Don, myself and ICF Chairman/ IDNR Director Marc Miller



Don was able to outbid other silent auction participants on this beautiful print:




2009 Illinois Outdoor Hall of Fame Inductees


William H. Guerrini, Spring Valley

A lifelong advocate for outdoor recreation in Illinois, Bill Guerrini served as one of the state’s first volunteer Hunter Safety Education course instructors in the 1970s. A long time educator and coach, Bill is the founder of the Spring Valley Walleye Club and helped bring the successful Master’s Walleye Circuit professional fishing tournament to Illinois in 1987. The tournament has served as an outstanding promotion for the Illinois River walleye and sauger fishery for more than 20 years. Bill Guerrini also promotes youth fishing events and boating in north-central Illinois.


Don Hankla, Anna

The late Don Hankla was a long time sportsman, conservationist, and advocate for natural resources conservation in Illinois. The Anna native retired in 1987 after a distinguished career as a wildlife biologist and researcher with the North Carolina Department of Fish and Game and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. After retiring, Don Hankla dedicated his volunteer efforts to conservation stewardship in the Cache River watershed in southern Illinois. Don chaired the interagency Cache River watershed planning initiative and helped develop the local Cache River Ecosystem Partnership and the Friends of the Cache River Watershed, promoting watershed protection projects throughout the Cache River basin. Don Hankla passed away in April 2007.


Dwight Hoffard, Johnston City

For more than 20 years, Dwight Hoffard has been the driving force behind the success of the Southern Illinois National Hunting and Fishing Days festival on the campus of John A. Logan College in Carterville, chairing the event for the past 15 years. Dwight is also a tireless volunteer in promoting outdoor recreation safety, serving as an IDNR Master Hunting Safety Education Instructor, Master Boating Safety Instructor, wingshooting instructor, and National Sporting Clays Association Youth Shooting Instructor. Dwight Hoffard is also a founder of the Youth Outdoor Education Foundation, the Southern Illinois Boat and Fishing Show, Friends of Crab Orchard, and the Midwest Bass Classic fishing tournament.


Dr. George B. Rabb, Brookfield

George Rabb, president emeritus of the Chicago Zoological Society, is a dedicated conservationist known internationally for implementing programs focused on conservation research and education. During a 47-year career at the Brookfield Zoo, George Rabb transformed the zoo to promote a concern for the natural world and conservation ethic among the facility’s millions of visitors. Dr. Rabb has also dedicated volunteer leadership to promoting natural resources conservation as a member of the board and chairman of the board Illinois State Museum. Among his many professional associations, Dr. Rabb served as chairman of the Species Survival Commission of the World Conservation Union, helping develop conservation action plans intended to stem the decline in amphibians.


2009 ICF Special Awards Recipients


Director’s Corporation of the Year – Remington Arms, Inc.

Director’s Organization of the Year – Ducks Unlimited, Inc.

Director’s Friend of the Foundation – Tom Allen (American Fiber Comm, Edwardsville)

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