Clinton vet selected as Illinois ‘Bicentennial 200’ recipient

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CLINTON — During a ceremony at the Illinois State Capitol Rotunda on October 24, Clinton veteran and resident Darrel G. Tucker was announced as one of those selected to be honored as part of the Illinois 200th Birthday celebration.  

Tucker was selected from several hundred nominees from all over the state.  In order to qualify for the selection, the nominee had to demonstrate how, as a veteran, he continues to make “extraordinary contributions to his community and the people of Illinois.”

“The Bicentennial Honor 200 Campaign is one of the most important commemoratives of the year-long Bicentennial Celebration,”    said Stuart Layne, Executive Director of the Bicentennial Commission. “These 200 Illinois Veterans truly make us proud.”  

Tucker, along with the other 199 veteran recipients of the award, has been invited to attend the state’s official 200th Birthday celebration at the United Center in Chicago on December 3.  Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs Director Dr. Stephen Curda stated in the invitation letter, the “Honor 200 provides us with an opportunity to showcase our Veterans and the values they have when it comes to serving our communities.”

Tucker represents recipients from more than 50 counties across the state of Illinois.  The nominees were evaluated by a committee based on their achievements, as well as on the extent to which “their contributions have aided, benefited and provided inspiration to their communities and fellow veterans at large.”  

During his four decades of living in Illinois, Tucker has been in involved with various community organizations: Jaycees, Kiwanis, Junior Achievement and the Clinton Volunteer Fire Department; served in churches by guiding youth groups and Sunday school classes, singing in church choirs, and serving as a church deacon.  

He has also been involved with various school activities, including chaperoning French Club and senior class trips, building Homecoming floats and sets for school plays, and aiding with the National Honor Society’s annual investiture.  

Darrel is a member of the DeWitt County Honor and Color Guards, has administered a grant for the Clinton American Legion Post and continues to be involved with the American Veterans (AMVETS) by holding local Post, District, State and National offices.  He is currently serving as the AMVETS Department of Illinois (State) Commander and as a National Deputy Provost Marshall.  

Darrel and Mitchi will celebrate their 50th anniversary in November; the couple has two daughters and five grandchildren.

This continued involvement in social and service organizations as well as church, school and veterans groups were the reasons Tucker was chosen as one of the Honor 200.  As a veteran, Tucker served his country for six years (four active and two in active reserve) in the United States Air Force during the Vietnam War.  As an Instrument Trainer Instructor, he taught student pilots (from the USA, Vietnam, Iran and all over Europe) to fly the T-38 supersonic aircraft.  

Darrel went on to earn a BS degree in Electrical Engineering from Texas Tech University before working for Illinois Power/Ameren and then Exelon in the Mt. Vernon Service Area, at Decatur Headquarters, and at Clinton Power Station.  

Tucker retired in 2015 after serving as a Consulting Engineer in Nuclear Power for seven years and retiring from CPS in 2008.