|FIRST REPORTED 5:30am 2/12/13 A Galesburg man who was at the helm of the Knox County University of Illinois Extension office for a long time before being reassigned to head the newly consolidated Henry/Stark/Mercer/Rock Island County Extension office is being honored for his advocacy on behalf of public health.
Tony Franklin received an "Excellence in Community Leadership" award Monday from the Illinois Department of Public Health -- part of an initiative statewide to commemorate Black History Month.
Franklin received his award at the Full Gospel Church, where he's a deacon, and says he was honored.
"Receiving this honor is a humbling experience," Franklin said. "I say that truly because the work that's done is not about me; it's about the community."
Franklin, a native of West Virginia, says he's just leading the way he was taught.
"I was raised in a town where people said if you want to do something about things, you need to get involved," Franklin said. "And I had some mentors that were behind me from early on. [They] used to make sure I got involved. And, I never would complain about anything unless I had a solution. I always tell people if you've got a complaint, bring a solution with it."
Franklin was referred to by state and Knox County Health Department officials as being "a tireless advocate" for public health in the area over the last several decades.
Franklin himself cited health fairs at the church, and an effort to plant a garden and show people different ways of preparing that produce.
(Rev. John Sibley, Sr. speaks about Tony Franklin Monday at Full Gospel Church.)
(Mayor Sal Garza speaks to Franklin Monday. WGIL News Story and Photos by Will Stevenson.)