MOMENCE -- "He's been giving me direction from heaven," notes Gladiolus Festival Association President Andrea Schopf of her friend, the late Gerard Rivard, who will be posthumously honored with the Chamber's Citizen of the Year award. Gerard, 46, was Mrs. Schopf's "right hand man" -- vice president of the Momence Glad Fest, when he died June 19, 2002, from a heart attack. She
chose to keep his
position open all that year."I didn't want to fill it immediately," she
certain that Gerard had a hand in last year's excellent Festival weather.Gerard died two months before the August festival, but when the float built by the festival association passed, all thoughts were on him.
Gerard was the one who had designed it just before he
was in so many different organizations, and when he
was there, he
gave it his
all," notes Mrs. Schopf
would walk the parade route as the clown "Sad Sack" -- a tradition begun by his
father Leonel, who died in 1973. Besides the festival, in which son Matt is also active, Gerard was greatly involved in St. Patrick Church, where he was a member and lay minister.He was a charter member of the Bishop Blanchette Council in Momence, taught catechism there, and led the high school youth group.He
was a 4th Degree Knight.
Gerard was also a 14-year fireman with the Momence department and was charter member with the Kankakee County Arson Investigators Association
was an assistant Scout Master for Troop 391 and past member of the Momence Youth Soccer Association