Rockford natives receive the state's highest award

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) -- The Order of Lincoln awards are hosted in the Forest City, and two Rockford natives are recipients.

Rockford natives Emily Bear and Dave Rydell were honored along with Dick Butkus, Steven Shih Chen, The Reverend Michael J. Garanzini, Mellody Hobson, Edward L. McMillan, and Dr. Louis Philipson, for the state's highest honor.

"I don't know if there are any words that I could come up with that would be adequate to say how I feel in accepting this order of Lincoln," said Rydell.

"It's really quite humbling to be considered amongst such an august group," said Hobson.

Rectors choose eight people throughout the state for their service and accomplishments.

"Illinois is simply the greatest state in the greatest nation on earth because of our people," said Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner.

"Two people in different places and where they're contributing. And it just shows you how special our community is, and how special our state is," said Winnebago County Board Chairman Frank Haney.

"I think the way that our community has rallied for this, it's very heart-warming as a citizen here in our own city government, and as part of the Friends of the Coronado, this is history that will be acknowledged in the archives forever," said Executive Director of Friends of the Coronado Beth Howard.

"This is the most ambition convocation and accompanying concert that has ever been done in the history of the academy," said Regent with the Lincoln Academy John Borling.

The Order of Lincoln awards have not been hosted in Rockford in more than 30 years.