FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Jan Costello
Phone: 217-785-9020, TTY: 1-800-252-8966
August 1, 2002
Four Older Illinoisans Enter Senior Hall of Fame
SPRINGFIELD, IL Illinois Department on Aging Director Margo E. Schreiber has announced the names of four inductees into the Senior Illinoisans Hall of Fame. They will be inducted in a ceremony to be held at 11 a.m. on "Senior Day," Monday, August 12th, at the State Fair Senior Center Auditorium, also known as the Illinois Theatre.
"These individuals are so deserving of this prominent award," said Schreiber. "They have been so generous in sharing their time, talent and energy to make their communities and the state a better place."
Inductees were selected for achievement in the areas of community service, education, performing arts and the work force. They join 51 previous inductees. They are:
Theodore “Double Duty” Radcliffe, 100, of Chicago The honoree in the Performance Category was a star in the Negro League, playing many championship teams as a pitcher and catcher for 38 years and a manager for 28 years.
- He still gives motivational speeches to children in innercity schools and has coached Little League games.
- He has raised funds for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Chicago and America, Meals on Wheels, Little League, March of Dimes and other charities.
- According to his nomination, Racliffe’s "popular manner has propelled the Negro League into international popularity after being in obscurity."
- At the beginning of his career, Radcliffe endured bigotry, long road trips and low wages to play baseball. He was colleagues with Satchell Paige and Jackie Robinson and played with Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Ted Williams, and Mickey Mantle. Writer Damon Runyan watched him catch in the first game and pitch the second, and said it was worth the admission of two, hence the nickname, "Double Duty."
- Radcliffe has survived two strokes and other health problems.
- A WGN documentary about Radcliffe’s life narrated by Morgan Freeman won an Emmy Award.
- He is a recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award given by the state of Illinois Historical Committee and was honored by Mayor Richard Daley as being an outstanding citizen of Chicago.
- He has been the guest of three U.S. Presidents at the White House.
- Radcliffe holds many sporting records.
Dr. Carmen Joseph Carsello, 85, of Chicago The honoree in the Education Category received his bachelor’s degree from Central YMCA College in 1943, a master’s degree from DePaul University in 1971, and a Gerontology certificate and a Guidance and Counseling Certificate from the University of Illinois in 1962. He holds a doctorate in Educational Psychology.
Ed True, 70, of O’Fallon True is an honoree in the Community Service Category. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Bradley University and two master’s degrees from the University of Southern California.
- He taught at the University of Illinois from 1963 to 1985.
- He taught physical education in innercity schools and swimming for the American Red Cross.
- He has served on the Near West Side Community Committee delinquency prevention program.
- Carsello, who served two years in the military in the South Pacific, earned the World War II Victory Medal and the Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal.
- He has also received the Sheriff’s Senior Medal of Honor Award and been named in the Marquis Who’s Who in the World.
- Now retired from teaching, Carsello continues serving as a counselor and mentor to youth and is a strong advocate for senior citizens.
- Working as an adjunct instructor for Southwest Illinois College and St. Louis Community College, he spends extra hours helping struggling students.
- He has volunteered for the YMCA, United Way, Junior Achievement, Boy Scouts and the Leukemia Society and Cancer Society.
- He has served on local and national boards for the Leukemia Society, Boy Scouts of America and Senior Olympics.
- He is past chairman of the Member Service Committee, St. Louis Regional Commerce and Growth Association.
- He was a member of the O’Fallon District 90 Elementary Board for 17 years.
- True currently serves as alderman on the O’Fallon City Council. He is also on the board of the O’Fallon Chamber of Commerce, Bradley University Alumni Association, St. Louis Sports Commission and the Southwest Division Chairman for the Illinois Association of School Boards.
- He is Southern Illinois Chairman for the Foreign Country Rotary Exchange High School Students to promote world understanding of different cultures.
- He has provided and arranged housing for crippled children from Belize during their stay to receive care at Shriner’s Hospital.
- He is active in "Program Pride" to beautify O’Fallon.
- True also competes in Illinois and Missouri Olympics.
Identa Austin, 88, of Yorkville is also a winner in the Community Service category. Austin has been an advocate for the needs of children, teachers, sick and elderly for over a quarter century. According to her nomination, "As we reminisce about the care and service this one person has given to the citizens of Kendall County, we feel somewhat awed, wondering how one person could have found the time and personal stamina to dedicate herself so abundantly to the service of others. Perhaps her longevity and good health is her reward for a life of selfless service."
- Austin lead the fight to have a referendum placed on the ballot that provides a percentage of county taxes directed to senior services; the funding has been used to build a large senior center in Yorkville.
- She has participated in the Silver Haired Congress in Washington, D.C. and served twice as a Senior Citizen Intern in Washington, D.C.
- She is a recipient of the Governor’s Award for Unique Achievement.
- She is a longtime active member of the Retired Teacher’s Association, American Cancer Society, Yorkville Women’s Club, AARP, Kendall County Senior Citizen’s Council, Fox Valley Older Adult Services and more.
- Austin also recently completed her 67th learning and traveling session as part of Elderhostel.
The following individuals receive Honorable Mention for their contributions to their communities:
Yoji Ozaki, 80 of Chicago is a U.S.born citizen of Japanese decent who has helped Illinois’ immigrants and refugees for over 40 years. He was interned in U.S. concentration camps during World War II. Perhaps this experience gave him resolve to dedicate his life to helping others. According to his nomination, "Rather than being bitter, Mr. Ozaki sought to make the world a better place for everyone."
- He was director of the Japanese American Service Committee, and he worked for the Illinois Department of Community Mental Health.
- He founded the Chicago Japanese Historical Society.
- He is a member of the Chicago Senior Hall of Fame.
John Garcia, 71, of Chicago is an activist within the Hispanic community in south Chicago. He has been very active in Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish for over 40 years, raising funds and organizing banquets and events that benefit youth. Garcia said, "Our Lady has been my strength and protection during my lifetime. She inspires me to share my good fortune with the needy and less fortunate."
- Garcia accompanied Cardinal Francis George on a pilgrimage to Mexico in honor of Our Lady’s feast day.
- Garcia is retired from the city of Chicago.
Walgreens Drugstores sponsor the Hall of Fame. Inductees were selected by a team of judges representing Illinois Aging Network agencies and organizations.
For more information, call the Illinois Department on Aging's Senior HelpLine at 1-800-252-8966 (Voice and TTY).
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