Each year, people in the community have an opportunity to submit a nomination for Rock Island residents who have made selfless contributions of service to the community.
Eight categories are available for individual nominations which include Individual; Youth; Education; Professional; City Employee; Veteran; Organization, Church or Non-Profit; and Business.
Rock Island High School teachers Mr. Mike Mertel and Mrs. Katie Mertel were chosen for the category of Education. On August 28, they were honored at the Rock Island City Council meeting.
An individual is typically chosen for this award, but Mike and Katie Mertel are truly a dynamic duo who work together to make Rocky a more inclusive, spirited, and accepting community through their work in classrooms and extracurricular activities.
Mr. Mertel teaches World Studies and founded the RIHS Education Internship Program and leads the Cultural Appreciation Club. Mrs. Mertel teaches English and serves as an advisor to the student council, organizes Homecoming Week, the Dance Marathon, the Student Hunger Drive, and more.
Rocky Grad Aubrey Barnes won for the category of individual. Aubrey is the founder of Roaring Rhetoric and the non-profit group Young Lions Roar which he teaches in some of our schools.
Winners also will be honored in the 2023 Rock Island Labor Day Parade, on Monday, Sept. 4.
From left to right: Rock Island Alderwoman Jenni Swanson, Mike Mertel, Katie Mertel, and Rock Island Mayor Mike Thoms