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Lutheran Day 2013 rally

Lutheran Day came out of two joint board meetings of Lutheran Social Services of Illinois (LSSI) and Lutheran Child and Family Services of Illinois (LCFS) that took place in Springfield in the spring of 2003 and 2004. At those meetings, the leaders of those two major Lutheran human service provider organizations recognized that they had common concerns relating to their partnerships with state government, specifically with inadequate state funding for human services. As a result of those meetings, the two organizations resolved to reach out to other Lutheran organizations in Illinois to combine and organize our voices and our constituencies, in support of strengthening the public-private human services safety net in Illinois.

During the planning for the second joint board meeting, we were saddened to hear about the untimely death of retired U.S. Senator Paul Simon, a life-long Lutheran, and a tireless and courageous champion for people in need in Illinois, across the U.S., and around the world. At the 2004 joint board meeting, Senator Simon's widow, Patti, joined with leaders of LSSI and LCFS to inaugurate the "Paul Simon Courage in Public Service" award that would be given in subsequent years to Illinois public officials who in some way exemplified the late Senator Simon's commitment to compassion and justice.

Learn more about the Paul Simon Courage in Public Service Award.

Past Paul Simon Award Recipients


George H. Sheldon, Former Director of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services

2017 Paul Simon Award Winner


Sen. Patricia Van Pelt & Rep. Kelly Cassidy

2016 Paul Simon Award Winners


State Sen. Dan Kotowski & Judy Baar Topinka

2015 Paul Simon Award Winners: Dan Kotowski & Judy Baar Topinka


Julie Hamos, Former Director of the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services

2014 Paul Simon Award Winner: Julie Hamos


Dawn Clark Netsch, Former Illinois Senator and Comptroller

2013 Paul Simon Award Winner: Dawn Clark Netsch


Men & Women serving in the Illinois National Guard

2012 Paul Simon Award Winner: Men & women serving in the Illinois National Guard


Michelle Saddler, Secretary of Illinois, Department of Human Services

2011 Paul Simon Award Winner: Michelle Saddler


State Senator Kwame Rauol (13th Senate District)

2010 Paul Simon Award Winner: Kwame Rauol


Pat Quinn, Illinois Governor

2009 Paul Simon Award Winner: Governor Pat Quinn


Rep. Barbara Flynn-Currie, Majority Leader, Illinois House of Representatives (25th District)

2008 Paul Simon Award Winner: Barbara Flynn-Currie


Rep. Lane Evans & Joe Hartzler, Former Illinois Congressman (17th Congressional District), Assistant U.S. Attorney

2007 Paul Simon Award Winner: Joe Hartzler & Lane Evans


James R. Thompson, Former Illinois Governor & Member of the 911 Commission

2006 Paul Simon Award Winner: James R. Thompson


Senator Dick Durbin, Deputy Majority Leader, United States Senate

2005 Paul Simon Award Winner: Dick Durbin