After 2½ years they decided to move back to Danville where they could find solid employment to support their growing family. “Gloria was born right before we left for our mission in Mexico, and people worried about us taking an infant to that undevel-oped area,” Maria said. “But the baby did fine. All 10 kids in my family grew up in similar conditions, and we all made it through.”
Paul has worked for the city of Danville for five years and has directed the county’s Peer Court program since 2005. Peer Court uses a teen jury system to bring together juvenile offenders, their peers and community agencies to determine logical and natural consequences for the offenses.
Suzet is in kindergarten at St. Paul’s Grade School and Gloria is in fifth grade there. Gloria is into basketball, volleyball, cheerleading and scholastic bowl. Her little sister hopes to follow in her footsteps.
Suzet takes swimming lessons at Turtle Run Golf Club and Gloria is on its swim team. Both girls speak fluent Spanish as well as English.
Paul and Maria are big community supporters, and they’re always ready to lend a helping hand. Maria uses her fluent Spanish and knowledge of Panama and Costa Rica to give presentations in the schools and to communicate with Spanish-speaking adults and children through her job with the extension service. She’s a board member of Your Family Resource Connection and Keep Vermilion County Beautiful, as well as the Comboni Missionaries.
Paul is a licensed auctioneer and has donated his services to many community groups, including Toys for Tots and the Vermilion County Animal Shelter Foundation. He’s also a member of the Boys & Girls Club board and the Lake Vermilion Water Quality Coalition board.
Paul’s familiar blue silk jacket, which he often wears at fund-raising events, depicts his unending enthusiasm and sense of community.
“The people in the Danville area are very generous,” he said, “and we have such willing volunteers here. I don’t think you will find this spirit of volunteerism anywhere else.”