IT DOESN’T seem possible that Brian Byers of WSOY’s Byers & Co. has been on the air for 25 years! That’s really quite an accomplishment, considering that he is live on the air three hours a day, 5 days a week, and he does a great job of holding the interest of listeners. It is one thing to have 15 hours per week on the air and something else to fill the time with interesting discussions, community information and promotion of projects and events to help the people of Central Illinois.
Obviously, anyone who has that much access to the public will have his share of critics, but Byers has never let those who disagree with him (sometimes angrily) stop him from speaking his mind. I met Brian not too long after he started hosting the program and he invited me to go on the air and talk about my fundraising efforts to build a new Central Park fountain after the old fountain had become an eyesore with stagnant water in it. I enjoyed the opportunity and, a few years later, when I was running for mayor, I was on Brian’s show several times, along with other candidates for office and he later endorsed my candidacy, served on my campaign committee and donated to the effort.
After I was elected, I started appearing on his program for “The Mayor’s Corner” where we discussed issues facing the community. Years later, when I left the mayor’s office, he asked me to go on the air at 7:00 every Thursday morning and renamed the program. “The City Hall Insider” and that’s been a Thursday morning appearance for me each week since that time.
I think the most important aspect of Brian’s efforts is the number of community projects he has promoted and to me, the annual WSOY Community Food Drive that is coming up on Oct. 8th, is the best of the best. Congratulations and best wishes to Brian on the 25th anniversary of WSOY’s Byers & Co.
• 60 YEARS! — Hillside Bethel Tabernacle, established on October 1, 1961, is celebrating 60 years of ministry in October, 2021. Founded by Pastor Donald E. Horath, Hillside’s pastoral leadership and congregation has been “evangelistic, visionary, and transformative, impacting the community with the Gospel of Christ.”
I’ve known Pastor Horath for about all of those 60 years and both of us did programming at WFHL-TV for years and talked often about what was happening in our community and the world. I have so appreciated his support of this newspaper over the years and also during the years I served as mayor. I remember he invited me to speak at the Sunday morning service at Hillside when I was running for office and it was a great experience. Don and his wife, Vickie, have been very impactful on the community over the past 60 years.
A 60th Anniversary Worship Service will be celebrated both live and virtually, Sunday, October 3, 2021, 10:30 AM. Dr. David W. Worley, Director of Congregational Care at Gold Canyon United Methodist Church will be speaking. A reception will follow the morning worship from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM on Sunday at Hillside.
As part of the anniversary celebration Pastor Donald E. Horath will transition to Bishop and Founding Pastor, while his son, Pastor Kevin P. Horath, will become Lead Pastor of Hillside. (More information can be found in an advertisement on page 14 of this week’s print edition and on page 7 of the Sept. 15th edition.)
Best wishes to Don and Vicki and thank you for all of your efforts in the Central Illinois area.
• 40 YEARS! While I’m passing out congratulatory messages, I have a big CONGRATULATIONS for Dan and Margie Heckman and everyone at Heckman Healthcare who are celebrating 40 years of being in business. There’s a full page ad on page 15 of this week’s print edition that shows the garage where Heckman Healthcare started 40 years ago and another photo that shows their present location at 1969 North Main Street in Decatur. (It’s a great looking facility.)
Best wishes to the Heckmans for many more years of success. The company projects a very positive image in our community.
• AS MENTIONED earlier in this column, I join Brian Byers on WSOY’s Byers & Co. every Thursday morning at 7:00 for the City Hall Insider. I always enjoy discussing the issues and events that are part of our community with Brian.