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Rinella, Hancock among those locals named to 'Bicentennial HONOR 200' list Honor.


MARION ---- For one Marion man, a long list of community activities have earned him a place on the short list of honorees being recognized as part of Illinois' bicentennial celebration.

"I'm flabbergasted," said Ernie Rinella, who has been an active part of the Marion community for nearly a century.

The 93-year-old World War II veteran was named to the "Bicentennial HONOR 200" list, honoring the work of 200 veterans who make extraordinary contributions to their communities.

Gov. Bruce Rauner released the list, named by the Illinois Dept. of Veterans' Affairs and the Illinois Bicentennial office last week.

"America is the greatest nation on earth because of the sacrifice of our veterans," said Rauner. "We are proud to honor these 200 men and women as part of our Bicentennial celebration. Their service didn't stop when they took off their uniforms. They continue to be heroes among us by going above and beyond the call of duty to take care of the people in their communities."

Rinella, a U.S. Navy veteran, is a member of Marion's American Legion Post 147.

Following separation from the U.S. Navy in 1946, Rinella immediately began a working varied working career, beginning with management at Marion Greyhound Bus Station under Ralph and J. P. 'Speed" Smothers. In 1949 he began work for Hoosier-Cardinal Enterprises, manufacturing plastics, tools, utensils and other devices. He followed that company to Evansville, Indiana, and eventually to South Carolina before returning to Marion to work for Allen Industries,

devices. He followed that company to Evansville, Indiana, and eventually to South Carolina before returning to Marion to work for Allen Industries, performing similar duties to support the automobile industry.

Rinella took a position with Jakes Tire and Recap in Marion after Allen Industries closed in 1972, and he stayed with them until 1987 when he retired from an active working life.

Post Adjutant Sam Askew said he is not surprised about Rinella's inclusion on the list.

"He's out oldest member," said Askew. "He's supported us for years."

Although he said he's "slowed down a little due to health problems," Rinella has had a full plate of service to local veterans and the community.

Askew said Rinella's support has ranged from volunteering at the Marion VA Medical Center to helping with scholarship programs for area youth to coaching, umpiring, and sponsoring Legion baseball.

"Anything we need, he always supports it," said Askew. "He's just a great guy."

Rinella is more humble. Rinella began a fascinating and significant volunteer career when he returned to his hometown from Indiana in 1958. He worked as a lead volunteer until about 2010 in Marion Youth Baseball and Softball and with the Marion Recreation Department in it's church and commercial softball leagues. Rinella was a volunteer umpire and a supervisor of umpires, and he was a coach, manager, jack-of-all- trades for the volunteer youth and adult recreation programs in Marion for over 50 years through his working career and into his retirement until the present.

He has also been a volunteer shuttle driver, letter carrier, and general supporter of Marion Memorial Hospital since the 1960s, and he continued that service with Heartland Regional Medical Center when Community Health Systems purchased the old Marion Memorial Hospital in 1996.

At the age of 93, Rinella is still volunteering on the Marion VFW Ritual Team.

"I don't know whether I deserve it or not, " Rinella said of his inclusion on the list, "but I'm really honored to get it."

Rinella's inclusion on the list follows a long line of awards including Marion Citizen of the Year (1995), the Festa Achievement Award from the Herrin Festa Italiana Committee in 1999, and the Illinois VFW Member of the Year (1995), as well as several other state and local awards.

He said that he would have to put all of his activities on an equal plane, but he's most proud of being an altar server at St. Joseph's Catholic Church.

"That was my best," he said.

A Collinsville man from Marion, Daryl Hancock, son of John A. Logan College board of trustees member Ray Hancock, is also on that list.

As Chief of Staff and Executive Director for McKendree Worldwide, Hancock oversees and advises on a wide variety of executive duties and institutional initiatives.

He serves as the primary liaison between the President and the various Vice Presidents and Directors to enhance coordination and communication. Leveraging his experience in education and the military, he guides several institutional initiatives to promote enrollment growth, regional partnerships, retention, and financial strength, including a new 21st Century multipurpose learning space call the Hub, that combines cutting edge technology and collaboration tools into an active learning environment.

He also leads McKendree Worldwide, with responsibility for graduate and online programs, Kentucky Campuses, and the Center at Scott Air Force Base. He was instrumental to the establishment of a new chapter of the SALUTE National Honor Society, and several new student focused groups, such as the Student Veteran Association, McKendree's Cyber Academy, and a National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition Team.

Hancock retired from the U.S. Navy following 30 years of service. Early in his career he served as a surface warfare officer aboard a guided-missile destroyer and had several unique tours, including aboard USS Constitution, as a university ROTC instructor, and as officer-in-charge of a Navy Sail Training Ketch.

As an intelligence officer, he served with the Flag Staffs aboard USS Wasp, USS George Washington and USS Bonhomme Richard. Operating afloat & ashore, he supported stabilization and combat operations in Iraq, the Balkans and Haiti, tsunami relief operations in Indonesia, and counter-piracy operations off Somalia. He served in senior leadership roles in Washington, D.C., at the Office of Naval Intelligence and the Pentagon, as well within the Intelligence Community, and with NATO as U.S. Senior National Representative and Team Leader for NATO's Advisory Team to the Tunisian military. He was the Director of Intelligence, and Commander of the Joint Intelligence Operations Center, at U.S. Transportation Command, and the first Director of Intelligence for U.S. Tenth Fleet and Fleet Cyber Command.

During his Navy career, he received numerous personal awards and decorations, including multiple awards of the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, and Meritorious Service Medal, as well as the NATO Meritorious Service Medal, Military Volunteer Service Medal, the Defense Intelligence Director's Award and the Edwin T. Layton Award for leadership in the Intelligence Community.

He holds master's degrees from the Naval War College and Purdue University. He is a Senior Executive Fellow from Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government, and his undergraduate degree is from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, where he is currently enrolled as a doctoral student.

Other Southern Illinois honorees include Ethan Blumhorst of Carbondale, Thomas Harness of Carterville, Eugene Hollaway of Chester, and John Metzger of Benton.

All the Honor 200 recipients have been invited to attend the state's official 200th birthday celebration at the United Center in Chicago on Dec. 3.
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Publication:Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Geographic Code:1U3IL
Date:Nov 13, 2018
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