SPRINGFIELD — Metro East residents are among this year’s Senior Illinois Hall of Fame Inductees.
The Illinois Department on Aging is recognizing special contributions made by older adults in the categories of community service, education, performance/graphic arts, and the labor force, in regard to their employment. The recipients of the Governor’s Unique Achievement Award also were acknowledged during a ceremony at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library.
“I am pleased to announce the 2014 Senior Illinois Hall of Fame inductees and Governor’s Unique Achievement Award recipients,” IDoA Director John K. Holton, Ph.D., said during the ceremony. “Your individual accomplishments have helped make our Illinois communities better places to live. And for that we thank you,”
The Senior Illinois Hall of Fame was created by the Legislature in 1994 to honor Illinois residents age 65 and older for their personal achievement. Since then, 95 people have been inducted into the Hall of Fame, including the 2014 inductees. Each inductee is chosen through a statewide nomination and selection process. IDoA compiles a list of nominees then consults with the members of the Illinois Council on Aging to determine the winner of each category.
The recipients of the Governor’s Unique Achievement Award are nominated by Area Agencies on Aging. The award recognizes groups, individuals and programs that positively impact the lives of seniors in Illinois.
Local 2014 Senior Illinois Hall of Fame inductees include:
- Alvin “Al” Lopinot, 92, of Litchfield, is the 2014 inductee of the Education category. He holds degrees in biology, botany and chemistry, but Lopinot’s talent is not limited to science. He authored six books, did PR for the local hospital, and still writes for a magazine. During his service in World War II, he developed an interest in photography which later resulted in a business and teaching college students. Lopinot has served Litchfield in many capacities on various boards and committees including as chairman of the Tree Board.
- Louis Kibort, 84, of Edwardsville is the 2014 inductee of the Performance Arts category. For almost 60 years, Kibort has taught square dancing to people of all ages. His photos, articles, programs, thank-you letters and other mementos from years of dancing date back to the early 1960s. Square dancing, which is the official dance of the state of Illinois, is his first love but Kibort and wife (Wenona) dance polka, swing, jitterbug and are also accomplished ballroom dancers. He has “do-si-doed” all over the country and says there’s nothing square about it.