Hitting the Ground Running Featured
When it comes to philanthropy, Bob Blazier walks the walk. And when it comes to staying fit, he has been “running the run” for nearly 40 years. He combines these two passions every year for the Bob Blazier Run for the Arts.
“I started running in 1972 and I ran all the time,” he said. “The Crystal Lake Chamber of Commerce announced 13 years ago that it was going to sponsor a 5K race in my name and that I could name the charity that would receive the funds. At that time, the Raue Center for the Arts in Crystal Lake was just beginning its refurbishing efforts. I knew then that the Raue would be the perfect recipient.
A Crystal Lake resident for 43 years, Blazier has always had a high-profile presence supporting the community. In 1962 he joined the community as a school principal at the same time his wife, Rosemary, started out as a teacher. After two years, he became the superintendent of District 47.
“I held that role until I retired, the first time, in 1985,” he said.
A few weeks after he retired, he went to work at Northern Illinois Medical Center as vice president for marketing, outreach and development.
“I have been very fortunate to be able to be involved in a variety of activities from chairing the United Way fund drive to chairing The Salvation Army drive,” he said. Blazier believes that he has been at the right places at the right times.
When Blazier was a school administrator, he held a firm commitment that schools should rely heavily upon the community and the tax dollars to tackle and complete projects.
“The one way the school community could say thank you was to be involved in the community itself,” he said. “I wanted all of our administrators to have at least one community activity, as a payback … a thank you. They could teach a Sunday school class or be a Jaycee volunteer, it didn’t matter. Every community project made a difference.”
Currently Blazier serves on several volunteer boards, including Horizons for the Blind and Faith in Action. One of his underlying intentions for volunteering is to spread the understanding of how valuable it is for others to participate in our own community and volunteer.
“A good example is The Promise program at McHenry County College,” he said. “The participating students were able to get a good part of their college education paid for but they, in turn, had to give back with some community service. Most of them did, but there was a small percentage who didn’t understand it.
“You can sit back and criticize or you can roll up your sleeves and be an example to others of what volunteering is,” he continued. “If you set an example you may inspire others that you don’t even realize.”
Rosemary also feels very strongly that if they are going to ask people be volunteers that they must be active volunteers, too. According to Bob, too often people are so involved with their own lives that they don’t see beyond what they consider their little world.
Bob Blazier Run for the Arts
The 13th Annual 5K Bob Blazier Run for the Arts is on Sunday, May 2. The event contributes 100 percent of the proceeds to the Raue’s programs. Prior events attracted more than 400 participants. This year’s new feature is the addition of Rosemary’s 1-mile walk. “The walk will encourage families and nonrunners to join in the fun and support the arts,” Blazier said.
A corporate challenge will also allow teams and companies to get behind the efforts.
Passion for Projects
Blazier’s community efforts stem back to his roots in Jacksonville, Ill. One of the first programs he coordinated was called the Elm City Center. Recently celebrating its 50th anniversary, this organization serves a population of more than 1,000 people with physical, emotional and mental challenges. Blazier’s efforts all those years ago are still making a difference today.
“The project that I have going on at any given moment is what I really feel good about, whatever it might be,” Bob said.
All it takes is one volunteer at a time. Run the run or walk the walk. Whatever you decide, just follow in Blazier’s footsteps. Our community will be all better for it.
>> For route and registration information, visit www.rauecenter.org/whats-on/2010/05/runforarts.