ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — This week’s Remarkable Women nominee has spent decades volunteering and activating positive change in the community.
Colleen Holmbeck has always loved sports. She played on the Rockford Peaches farm team for a few years before transitioning to tennis.
Her competitive spirit carries over to her passion for serving the community. Colleen was elected to the Rockford School Board in 1978 and served as President for two years.
Her involvement in politics began at a young age.
“I was always interested in politics since I was a little girl. My parents sat in the yard and turned on the radio and listened to Roosevelt’s fireside chats. And I’ve never forgotten them,” Holmbeck said.
Colleen’s been a member of the League of Women Voters for more than fifty years. She’s volunteered on many local political campaigns. She says one of her most memorable experiences was chairing John McNamara’s mayoral campaign in 1981.
“I saw him several times just before he died and we talked about the good old days and it was wonderful. It was a great campaign and I was very pleased to be a part of it,” she explained.
Fundraising for non-profits is one of Colleen’s strengths. She’s been called the “prime mover” in the successful development of Riverfront Museum Park.
Colleen co-chaired the fundraising effort to transform the former Sears store downtown into a home for Rockford Art Museum, Rockford Dance Company, Rockford Symphony Orchestra, and Discovery Center Museum.
“Colleen worked really hard and really tirelessly,” said Discovery Museum Executive Director Sarah Wolf.
Holmbeck says playing a role in the development of Riverfront Museum Park is one of her proudest achievements.
Every time I drive by there I’m thankful for all those people that worked so hard on that project. It was a real coming together of a lot of different groups,” Holmbeck said.
For nearly 30 years now, visitors have enjoyed the museum park with four cultural organizations under one roof.
“I think if you can look outside of yourself and think about the good of thousands and thousands of people that that’s quite a vision. And she has that,” added Wolf.