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Announcing the 2023 McLean County History Makers

A man in a plaid shirt and dark pants stands at a podium, talking behind two microphones. A projection screen behind him says McLean County Museum of History 2023 History Makers Gala Reveal Press Conference.
Lauren Warnecke
McLean County Museum of History director of development Norris Porter, standing, and past board president Carolyn Yockey led a news conference Thursday announcing the 2023 History Makers.

Six community servants have been selected as this year’s McLean County History Makers. The award recognizes individuals whose lifelong commitment to the community have made McLean County a better place to live.

Awardees were announced Thursday at a news conference at the McLean County Museum of History in Bloomington.

“This year, we honor leaders in insurance, law, education, counseling, entrepreneurship, philanthropy and community service,” said museum director of development Norris Porter.

Garlic Press owner Dotti Bushnell was noted for her role in revitalizing Uptown Normal. Retired educators Mary and Hank Campbell have worked with Habitat for Humanity, various initiatives supporting formerly incarcerated women and organizations addressing food insecurity. Lincoln historian Guy Fraker III has a long-standing commitment to local land conservation efforts. Throughout and beyond their careers in insurance and counseling, Charles and Willie Halbert have been deeply involved in the faith community at Mount Pisgah Baptist Church and community activism with the NAACP, Human Relations commissions and the Bloomington Police and Fire Commission.

The group will be honored June 21 at the History Makers Gala and award ceremony.

“This is really a way of uplifting those individuals in our community that have made our community what it is today,” Porter said.

Past McLean County Museum of History board president Carolyn Yockey said the History Makers gala started in 2012 as a “better way to have our annual meeting.”

During the celebratory dinner and award ceremony, next year’s board will be elected. The event also serves as a fundraising event for museum programs that are largely free.

“We certainly need more money to do everything we do at the museum,” Yockey said, “but the goal has heavily been to honor people and bring our community together.”

Tickets for the 2023 History Makers gala go on sale in April. Individual tickets are $75-$100, with table sponsorships available. Details are available at (309) 827-0428 and mchistory.org.

Lauren Warnecke is a reporter at WGLT. You can reach Lauren at lewarne@ilstu.edu.