By DOUG WILSON
Herald-Whig Senior Writer
Ray Heilmann will receive the 2013 Quincy Catholic Elementary Schools Foundation's Friend of Catholic Education Award in February in recognition of his many years of dedicated service to Quincy Notre Dame High School and his many years of support for Quincy's Catholic elementary schools.
The award recognizes a person, couple or organization whose contributions have significantly fostered and strengthened Catholic schools in the Quincy community.
Before retiring from Quincy Notre Dame in June after 39 years of service, Heilmann had served as an English teacher and assistant football coach for nine years, and as the assistant principal for 13 years. In 1995, Heilmann became the first lay principal in the 128-year history of the Quincy Cathollic high school, a position he held for 17 years until his retirement.
"I have had the wonderful privilege to know Ray as a teacher, administrator and friend," said Chris Reichert, principal of Blessed Sacrament School. "His dedication and positive attitude towards his students and Catholic education has been an inspiration to me on how I can be a better administrator.
"My family and I have been blessed to have Ray in our lives. He has been such a positive force in so many lives, and this is just one way to honor all that he has done for our students, Quincy Notre Dame and Catholic education."
QND Principal Mark McDowell said Heilmann "has been the face of Catholic education in Quincy" for nearly four decades.
"His passion for Catholic education has been limitless. Anyone who has had the opportunity to work with Ray knows of his incredible energy and enthusiasm. His life as an educator was much more than a career; it was a true vocation," McDowell said.
"Ray put his students first. This honor is a way for us to show our gratitude to Ray for all he has done to foster Catholic education in Quincy."
Revenue from the February dinner to honor Heilmann will go toward the QCES Foundation's tuition assistance fund for Quincy's four Catholic elementary schools.
Since 2009, the QCES Foundation has awarded nearly $250,000 in tuition assistance to families with students enrolled at Blessed Sacrament, St. Dominic, St. Francis and St. Peter Schools.
People interested in buying tickets or who want to sponsor a corporate table for the 2013 Friend of Catholic Education Award Dinner Heilmann, and anyone wanting to donate to the QCES Foundation's tuition assistance fund should call Paul Rittof, executive director of the QCES Foundation, at (217) 779-3157.
The QCES Foundation was set up in 2009 to support Catholic elementary education in Quincy through the establishment of the tuition assistance fund.
WHAT: Quincy Catholic Elementary Schools Foundation's Friend of Catholic Education Award.
WHEN: 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 2.
WHERE: Quincy Holiday Inn, 4821 Oak Street.
COSTS: $100 per person or corporate tables $1,000 for eight dinner tickets.
WHO: Ray Heilmann will be honored for his contribution to Catholic education in Quincy.
CONTACT: Paul Rittof, executive director QCES Foundation, (217) 779-3157 or firstname.lastname@example.org