Make a Difference Award winner combines two passions to serve others

bob delaney
bob delaney

OLNEY, Ill. (WTHI) – Down on Main Street in Olney is where you’ll find Bob Delaney whipping up meals for the seniors who come to the senior center.  Not much gets by Bob…

“Usually no secrets or something like this don’t sneak by me without it being known,” Bob told us.

By “this,” he’s referring to something afterwards he called “quite a surprise.”  That’s when I let Bob know he’s the November 2016 Make a Difference Award winner!

“Food’s your passion first,” Bob told us.  “Then the elderly they come with it. Then your passion kinda blends.”

It blends well for the many seniors who come here, many of them quick to tell us how good of a cook Bob is!

“He’s the best cook in the county,” one senior told us!

Bob’s job comes with challenges outside the center itself.  The Illinois budget impasse forced the center to reduce its days open from five days per week to four.  That’s why Bob started the “Sponsor a Senior” program, delivering meals to seniors who otherwise might go hungry. He’s also the center’s chief fundraiser.

“We’ve raised about $20,000,” Bob told us, because he knows all too well the situation in Springfield may not improve anytime soon, and it’s up to the center to be as self-sufficient as possible.

As if that’s not enough, Bob also volunteers at the food bank, which is located next door to the senior center. As deserving as Bob is of this award, like many other past recipients, he gives all the credit to others.

“I’m proud of this, but my help deserves a lot of it,” Bob said. “You can’t do it without them.”

He’s thankful, “especially for the seniors. This is all for them.”