Downtown Pontiac will be just a bit greener and a lot more significant on Saturday, June 1st when two new trees will be dedicated in the memory of two outstanding women of Route 66 during the “Get Your Kicks on Route 66” car cruise and show being held in their honor. At 11:00 AM, Father David Sabel of St. Mary’s Parrish will bless two new trees and dedicate them to the memory of Pontiac’s Betty Estes and Lenore Weiss of Wilmington.
Betty Estes was Pontiac’s first Tourism Director and one of the leading spirits in the creation of the Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway. Over the years Betty was honored with a number of awards including the Pontiac Chamber of Commerce’s Citizen of the Year. She has been given the President’s Award by the Route 66 Association of Illinois, and with her husband, Dal, was instrumental in the creation of the Livingston County War Museum.
Lenore Weiss co-authored several books on Route 66 with her husband, John. She was very active in Illinois Route 66 preservation projects and was also inducted into the Illinois Route 66 Hall of Fame.
Betty and Lenore were great friends who shared a love for the Mother Road. Both women were victims of cancer and the “Get Your Kicks on Route 66” Car Show, which will begin the evening of May 31 and continue all day on June 1, will donate 100% of the proceeds from the show to the American Cancer Society – Relay for Life in memory of these two civic-minded women.
In the evening of June 1, the Betty Estes Community Scholarship winner will be honored at the Chautauqua Park pavilion prior to a free performance of the Vermillion Players’ musical revue, At the Hop. The student selected for this year’s award is Mitch Miller, a recent PTHS graduate who has been very involved in volunteering in the community. Miller assisted with the 2009 Walldog Mural Painting event, helped with the Threshermen’s parade, worked as part of the support team during the Relay for Life, and delivered meals to seniors and low income families during the holidays. The monetary award is intended to help a deserving student defray some of the costs of higher education. Prior to the scholarship award, a brief tribute to Betty Estes and Lenore Weiss will be presented.