The Bishop Hill Heritage Association has a dedicated group of volunteers that help make the BHHA’s programs, events and other projects possible.

The Bishop Hill Heritage Association has a dedicated group of volunteers that help make the BHHA’s programs, events and other projects possible. 

The Swedish Council of America recognizes a volunteer’s outstanding contributions and hard work within their local community by bestowing the SCA Award of Merit. This year, seven BHHA volunteers were presented with the SCA Award of Merit — Cheryl Dowell, Dianne Lindbom, Lou Lourdeau, Vicki Massie, Warren Schulz, Jane Tornquist and Deni Menken. 

The seven BHHA volunteers recently received their awards at the SCA Recognition Banquet at Augustana College in Rock Island.

 

Cheryl Dowell

Cheryl Dowell is a Bishop Hill Colony descendant, lifetime Bishop Hill resident, a former assistant site supervisor for the Bishop Hill State Historic Site, long time BHHA Board member and former BHHA president. 

She has dedicated her adult life to preserving Bishop Hill Colony history. During her tenure as BHHA president, she supervised the $640,000 historic restoration of the 1854 Steeple Building. She works all the major Bishop Hill festivals, provides guided tours of Bishop Hill, and does public programs about the village’s history. She is also BHHA’s archivist, who specializes in Bishop Hill Colony genealogy, and current fundraising chairperson. 

Whatever is needed to preserve Bishop Hill Colony history, Cheryl is willing to pitch in and help. Bishop Hill would not be where it is today without her hard work. 

 

Dianne Lindbom

Dianne Lindbom is a long-time employee and volunteer for the Bishop Hill Heritage Association. 

As an employee, she was a clerk, and later manager, for the Colony Store, as well as the part-time bookkeeper. But Dianne still found the time to volunteer after hours. She has been heavily involved with children’s programming and landscaping projects. 

As the Heritage has acquired more historic buildings, Dianne has put in additional time beautifying them with period appropriate plants. In addition, she is a member of the Heritage Acting Troupe that performs skits about the Bishop Hill Colony for area organizations, such as nursing homes and senior citizen centers. Dianne has now retired from working for the BHHA but that allows her to volunteer even more time to Bishop Hill. Volunteers like her has kept Bishop Hill growing and thriving. 

 

Lou Lourdeau

Lou Lourdeau is a long time BHHA Board member, and the chairperson for the BHHA Building Committee. 

He is currently one of the leaders overseeing a $550,000 historic exterior restoration of the 1851 Carpenter Shop, one of the oldest brick buildings from Colony times. Lou is always helping out every week. He assists with a variety of activities including Bishop Hill festival setup/cleanup, Dairy Building rentals, landscaping, and building maintenance. Lou is also the BHHA’s photographer. He takes photographs of all the events. These photos are not only used for archival purposes but are also used by the Heritage for promotional purposes. 

Additionally, he is in charge of maintaining the 1859 town clock. It is no small feat to keep this over 150-year-old, 4-story clock going, but Lou is able to do it.

 

Vicki Massie

Vicki Massie is the treasurer for the Bishop Hill Heritage Association. 

After working all day in a law office, she volunteers her evening hours balancing the Heritage’s books and taking care of the BHHA’s financial matters. Under her guidance, the BHHA is in its best financial condition in years. However, Vicki does more than just finances. She helps with most of the Bishop Hill festivals and BHHA fundraisers. 

She is also one of BHHA’s main tour guides for school field trip and bus groups. In addition, Vicki is part of the Heritage Acting Troupe that perform skits about the Bishop Hill Colony for area organizations, such as nursing homes and senior citizen centers. Her dedication and hard work has helped the BHHA grow and prosper.

 

Deni Menken

Deni Menken is a long time BHHA Board member, and former BHHA president. 

During her tenure as BHHA president, a $120,000 historic restoration project was completed on the 1855 Dairy Building. Once a decaying storage building, now this Bishop Hill Colony Building is used by the BHHA and the public for concerts, lectures, programs and rentals. 

Deni is always willing to pitch in and help out whenever and wherever she is needed. She helps with all the major Bishop Hill festivals and BHHA fundraisers. Deni is also one of our main tour guides for school field trip and bus groups. In addition, she is part of the Heritage Acting Troupe that performs skits about the Bishop Hill Colony for area organizations, such as nursing homes and senior citizen centers. Deni is always working on something to make Bishop Hill a better place. 

 

Warren Schulz

Warren Schulz is a retired high school industrial tech teacher, long time BHHA Board member, and former BHHA president. 

During his tenure as BHHA president, a major restoration project was completed on the 1857 Blacksmith Shop. Without this restoration project, the building would not have survived. Every week, Warren is working on some BHHA project, whether it is festival setup, mowing one of the many lots, or repairing one of the nine buildings. Due to his mechanical expertise, he has saved the Heritage a significant amount of money over the years by the repairs he has completed himself. 

Behind the scenes, Warren is one of our volunteers who keeps Bishop Hill going. 

 

Jane Tornquist

Jane Tornquist is a long-time volunteer and BHHA Board member. 

For years, she has helped out with fundraising and greeting people at the Steeple Building Museum. In recent years, as the BHHA has grown, she has volunteered to take on even more responsibilities. As the Heritage has acquired more historic property, Jane, with other volunteers, has taken on the task of beautifying them with period appropriate plants. 

If you visit Bishop Hill today, you will see beautiful flowers surrounding the historic buildings due to the volunteers’ efforts. In addition, Jane has taken over the task of managing our BHHA Membership services. With over 475 members, Jane is kept busy keeping members informed and engaged in Bishop Hill activities. 

Her willingness to go the extra mile has helped the BHHA to continue to grow.