2014 Henri de Tonti Award to Honor Ray LaHood

The Board of Trustees of the Peoria Historical Society, in conjunction with the Institute for Principled Leadership in Public Service at Bradley University is pleased to honor former U.S. Secretary of Transportation and a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, the Honorable Ray LaHood with the 2014 Henri de Tonti Award for Outstanding Principled Community Leadership.  An award ceremony will be held Saturday, September 27 at 6:00 p.m. in the Peoria Civic Center ballroom.

The de Tonti award was established in 2012.  It is presented annually to a tri-county individual, business or organization with a consideration of the following attributes:

  • Community leadership based on a foundation of integrity and high ethical principle,
  • Community leadership operating in a bipartisan and collaborative manner,
  • Community leadership focused on finding solutions to critical issues,
  • Community leadership dedicated to promoting positive attributes of the area communities,
  • Community leadership committed to developing future principled public service leaders, and
  • Community leadership devoted to promoting and advancing Peoria’s historical heritage.

The award is named after the French fur trader Henri de Tonti.  He was the principle figure in the fur trade in the Illinois Country for twenty years and in 1691 established the first French trading outpost on the shores of Lake Pimiteoui.  Tonti also built a fort at the site which was called Fort Pimiteoui.  The small French village and Jesuit Mission at the site were located in the vicinity of today’s Detweiller Marina at the foot of Caroline Street.  Tonti directed fur trading operations at the Lake Pimiteoui village for eleven years until he moved south to New Orleans in 1702.

The inaugural de Tonti award was presented in 2012 to Caterpillar Inc. in recognition of over 100 years of community leadership provided by employees of the company.  Last year, the award was presented to Illinois State Senator Dave Koehler in recognition of his exemplary leadership as a member of the Peoria City Council as well as representing the area in Springfield.

While there are many examples of the leadership Mr. LaHood has brought to the Tri-County area over his years of public service, he is being recognized specifically for his leadership and creativity in the development of the Peoria Riverfront Museum project.

The de Tonti Award celebration will be held at the Peoria Civic Center ballroom beginning at 6:00 pm on Saturday, September 27.  Reservations for individual tickets ($150 per person) or tables of ten ($1,500) may be made through the Peoria Historical Society website at www.peoriahistoricalsocity.org or by calling the Society office at 309. 674.1921.