In honor of National Volunteer Month, Mayor Wells-Armstrong recognized
seven local men for their contributions in the community!



Phil Hodak

Phil lived most of his life in Kankakee on the same street. He raised two children with his wife Sue and were blessed with four grandchildren during their 40 years of marriage. 

Phil was a firefighter and paramedic for the City of Kankakee, a career he truly loved. Because of heart issues, his career ended early in 1992.  His new “career” when his health allowed became that of volunteering. Phil was a basketball coach and athletic director at St. Patrick and Teresa Primary School and also coached basketball and soccer with the Kankakee Valley Park District. He loved working with the kids and teaching them the fundamentals. Phil was a very patient man. He was on the steering committee many years for the Bishop McNamara Annual Spring Auction. He most recently served on the Kankakee Firefighters’ Pension Board.

Phil was a lifelong member of St. Patrick’s where he shared his time, talent and treasures. He served many years as a Eucharistic Minister, a sponsor for RCIA and a member of the parish council. He worked countless hours on numerous fundraising efforts for the parish.

After a year-long struggle with cancer, Phil passed away in his home on May 3, 2020 with his loving family at his side.

Dr. Willie Davis

Dr. Willie L. Davis is a retired school administrator who received a Bachelor’s Degree in Science from the University of Arkansas, a Master’s of Education Degree in Administration and Supervision from the University of Illinois, and a Doctor of Education degree with an emphasis on Administration and Supervision also from the University of Illinois. Dr. Willie L. Davis has served in many roles, but to name a few, he began his career at the John F. Kennedy School as a science teacher, transitioned to the Field Facilitator, and then became a agent for the Modern Income Life Insurance Company. From there, he served as the Coordinator of School Community Communications, the Director of Magnet School Programs, the Principal of Lincoln Cultural Center, a District Hearing Officer, a board member for the Kankakee County Crime Stoppers, Adjunct Instructor at Governors State University, and then became the first African-American Assistant Superintendent in the Kankakee School District #111.

Some current memberships and organizations he is currently apart of, to name a few, are the National Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, Kankakee Jaycees, YMCA Extension Board, Kankakee County Administrators Association, City of Kankakee Police and Fire Commissioner, and many more. We are so very grateful for Dr. Willie Davis’ continuous flow of servitude in his community and communities outside of our own. 

Scott Snavely

Scott Snavely was born and raised in Kankakee and is a graduate of Eastridge High School. He previously served on the Kankakee County Chamber Board, served as Past President for the United Way of Kankakee/Iroquois County, served on the Kankakee County Regional Planning Commission as well as serving on various task forces to help promote Kankakee’s Opportunity Zone and Historic Tax District. Scott presently serves as the Board Chairman for the Kankakee Riverfront Society and Team Leader for the Kankakee Riverfront Implementation Team. He is also Board President for Kankakee County Drug Free Inc. and serves as Vice Chairman of Riverside Healthcare’s Foundation. Scott feels it’s a blessing to live and give back to the community where he was born and raised.

Matt Hedding-Hess

Matt Hedding-Hess lives in Kankakee with his husband, Josh. He works as a counselor at Kankakee County Center Against Sexual Assault. Matt is the president of the Kankakee County Mental Health Council and a board member for Fortitude Community Outreach. He is beginning the final semester of his Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Governors State University, during which he will be interning at a private practive in Bourbonnais, providing counseling for a range of clients, particularly the LGBTQ+ community in Kankakee County. He is passionate about the LGBTQ+ community and organizes events and resources as a leader for the Kankakee Area LGBTQ+ Network. In his personal life, Matt and his husband are foster parents to an adorable 6-month-old baby boy.

Matt is proud to volunteer his time and effort with the organizations he is involved with. He is focused on improving mental health services for his community and for people who are often overlooked or marginalized. 

Anthony Grant

Anthony G. Grant Sr. graduated from our Kankakee High School, where he was involved both in track and football and awarded both the MVP Award and the Kankakee Kays Sportsmanship Award. Anthony then went on to serve in our United States Marine Corps. Since then, he has served as a Sanitation engineer for the past 34 years with the ABC Disposal Waste Management and Homewood Disposal.

Anthony has also served on the side volunteering with the Knights of Columbus Baseball, Riverside Colts Youth Football and Cheerleading, Kankakee Area YMCA, March of Dimes, Relay for Life, and as the Track Coach for Kankakee District 111 Jr. High School. He has been serving his home church, Morning Star Baptist Church, as a Senior usher for over 35 years, and has served with his wife as a host family for Bishop McNamara for 4 years.

Anthony has been a very dedicated and passionate volunteer in our community and we are proud to see him give back to our youth. 

Victor Nevarez

Victor Nevarez is a trauma-informed Clinical Director who has accelerated professional in the Substance Use Disorder field. He provides expertise in the Medically Assisted Treatments (MAT) in the outpatient and detox platforms. Mr. Nevarez was notably distinguished early on in his career as he implemented innovative interventions and best practices for a highly successful DUI treatment services center for the Hispanic population in Chicago. He was also promoted to the Clinical Director of Duane Dean Behavioral Center in Kankakee where he and his team service a population that sits in the heartland of the opiate epidemic for the Midwest.

Being empathetic and passionate, and with 14 years of professional experience, Mr. Nevarez has dedicated his life to being a protector for the afflicted to restore their lives using a holistic approach. Along with many certifications, Mr. Nevarez also serves as the President of the Illinois Association for Medication Assisted Addiction Treatment, and he serves on multiple boards and committees advocating for Medically Assisted Treatments in Kankakee county.

We are so very appreciative of his passion and drive to better our community and to make a difference for those who have been struggling. 

Alonzo Cephus

Alonzo Cephus a graduate of Westview High School class of '79, and he was born and raised here in Kankakee. Alonzo is also a graduate of Lincoln University, PA. and Governors State University in University Park, Illinois. Mr. Cephus is a physical educator, teacher, and Youth volunteer in our community. He volunteered for Kankakee Track club. He is also the President of Illinois Gold track club, Vice president of Kankakee Colts Youth football and cheerleading club, Youth Donor in Kankakee Jaycees, and a strong supporter of Kankakee High school sports. Mr. Cephus resides in Kankakee with wife Portia and 6 children. Mr. Cephus has and always will believe in our community.