The 2017 Marigold Festival Grand Marshal has given to others, always caring about the community he calls home and the needs of the impoverished and neglected.

Retired 10th Judicial Circuit Court Judge Brett Bode was named grand marshal at Tuesday’s Kiwanis Club meeting at the Pekin Country Club. Marigold Chairwoman Brigitte Krieg and others lured Bode to the luncheon under false pretenses. He was shocked when the ruse was up, but even then, he thought of others.

“When I first got here today, I was talking to Paula (Davis) about a book I’m reading called ‘Our Kids,’” said Bode. “It’s by Robert Putnam.

“... He documents, pretty thoroughly, the fact that the land of opportunity, that America has always been for everybody — it’s not so much so anymore. There’s a divide going on and for many kids it’s still the land of opportunity and it’s probably true of most of our kids — people in this room. But there’s a lot of children, and Pekin has got a great number of them, who opportunities aren’t available to them.”

Bode asked people read the book and look for things Pekin can do to help the underprivileged children.

Time is opportunity and Bode spends a lot of time volunteering his time to help others. He volunteers with the Peoria Prison Cursillo Ministry, the Society of St. Vincent DePaul Food Pantry, the Pekin Consortium of Health Care, the Pekin Outreach Initiative and the Jubilee housing ministry. He also headed St. Vincent’s Crisis ministry.

Bode has served as president of the Boys & Girls Club of Pekin, chairman of the Boy Scouts of America, an escort at Pekin Hospital, president of the Friends of the Pekin Public Library board, a board member for Harrison Home Interdenominational Board, a member of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services child abuse advisory council, and a crisis worker for the American Red Cross. He also served at Peoria Youth Services Network where he worked on a teen task force on teen pregnancy and sexuality.

Bode and his wife, Carolyn, have been residents of Pekin for 46 years. They have six daughters, 18 grandchildren and three great grandchildren. They have three foster children. They also hosted three foreign exchange students, who attended Pekin Community High School.

He has a lengthy career as a lawyer, state’s attorney and judge.

The beginning of the nomination letter from Kiwanis members, read by Krieg, said simply, “In all of the things Brett has done for others, love remains the reason why.” The letter ended with, “He has a heart full of service and a soul for helping those in need.”

Follow Sharon Woods Harris at Twitter.com/sharrispekin