ALEDO, Illinois – As the school year winds down at Mercer County Intermediate School in Aledo, one teacher won’t be slowing down.
The band instructor goes beyond the music for many projects throughout the year.
Annette Speer calls Rusty Ruggles a tireless volunteer… as she enters the band room.
“Mr Ruggels can we interrupt class? You are probably wondering why we are here. I nominated you for WQAD and Ascentra Credit Unions “Pay It Forward” and you won!”
“Thank you so much”
Listing all that he does isn’t easy.
Speer says “you won’t admit that you do stuff and you do a lot for the community and I just wanted to recognize that. For all you do for the 6th grade band, high school band, and the community band.”
“We always had a strong band department ever since I was in high school and I wanted to keep it going, thats all I wanted to do.”
But Ruggles has done much more then teach music.
Born and raised in Aledo, he led the charge to build the band shell in Central Park.
“He raised the money on his own to do that.”
“We knew it was going to be good. We didn’t realize it would take on the affect that it did in the community.”
Speer says “he is now raising the money for a new track at the high school. He is the lead man for that because the school doesn’t have the funds anymore.”
Construction is underway and the district will host a home track meet next year.
“We haven’t had a track meet here at Mercer County for 11 or 12 years. I couldn’t do it with out support of the entire community.”
Instilling a love of community and music Ruggles also created the community band.
“Over the summer when kids come back from college they can play. Thats one of my greatest joys, so much fun.”
An advocate for Aledo… leaving a lasting impression.