Signs of the holiday season are popping up in just about every community.
For several weeks a handful of retirees have been wrapping, draping and connecting Christmas lights along Ben Butterworth Memorial Parkway in Moline.
Rick Naylor is a friend who nominated volunteer Duane Schultz for the “Pay It Forward” award.
“He is the youngest, at 77, of the group of guys. All of them in their eighties. Every year he and the Telephone Pioneer group come down, they do all of the lights along the river,” said Naylor.
He hopes to bring a little attention to the group’s dedication by paying it forward.
Schultz is quick to pass along his good fortune.
“Hey, this is alright! We appreciate that. I’ll give that to the lead man there. The Telephone Pioneers appreciate that. We thank you,” said Schultz.
The Telephone Pioneers is a small group of retired Illinois Bell and Ameritech Phone Company employees.
Schultz says the group of retirees took over the job years ago.
“We were doing this before the Mark started doing theirs down there,” Schultz said.
The group of three to four guys make sure the tradition continues. This year they’re lighting 89 trees, 14 gazebos, 6 bushes an one bridge.
Their hard work doesn’t go unnoticed, and people riding bikes and running along the riverfront often thank the group for the job they do. They quietly transform the riverfront year after year.
You can check out the lights along the Ben Butterworth Memorial Parkway in Moline from 5-10 p.m. every night through the end of the year.
The group is also looking for help, especially when they remove the lights in January.