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Rural Kinmundy Man Named Illinoisan of the Day

August 17, 2016

Russell Vandeveer is officially named Illinoisan of the Day during a Tuesday ceremony at the State Fair. Pictured left to right are Governor Bruce Rauner, Vandeveer, Illinois State Fair Museum Foundation official Norm Claussen, and Illinois State County Fair Queen Abby Foster.

A rural Kinmundy man was honored as Illinoisan of the Day at the State Fair in Springfield Wednesday.

Russell Vandeveer was presented the award in a ceremony for his volunteerism as well as successfully taking over his family farm with his two brothers when his father died at the age of 20.

“Russell also took on a major roll with the Marion County Fair.  Serving as Fair Secretary for 40 years.  He also served as a school board member for 12 years.  Served on the board of his local Soil and Water Conservation District.  Served as Director of the Southern Zone of the Illinois Association of Agricultural Fairs Board, and as an award winning puller from his time at the Illinois State Fair Tractor Pull.  Russell is a great example of a leader with passion and pride in Illinois agriculture.  That’s why we honor him today as our Illinoisan of the Day.”

The announcement was made by long time farm broadcaster Orion Samuelson and was presented by the Illinois State County Fair Queen and Governor Bruce Rauner.    

Vandeveer got a chance to talk to the Governor.

“I got to talk to the Governor a little bit.  He gave me a high five and congratulated me on the award.  I got two awards, one of them they misspelled my name on but that’s not a big deal.  I’m so happy to be able to receive something in recognition, and that’s not why volunteers go out and do stuff, but they go out and do it and the recognition is just a little bonus.  I appreciate it.”

The Illinoisan of the Day awards during the state fair are selected by the Illinois State Fair Museum Foundation Board.   Vandeveer was initially surprised that he would receive the award at a meeting in Springfield in July.

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