Our thanks go out to those of you who gave during the Children's Miracle Network telethon that aired here on WEEK TV Sunday.
This year the event raised more than $2.5 million.
During the telethon several people are acknowledged for there work with children.
Steve Thompson-- President and CEO of Easter Seals was announced winner of the Bill Houlihan Professional Award.
"I came to Peoria really to advance community-based recreation programs for people with disabilities," Thompson said.
That dream started 30 years ago... Now Thompson has helped build the Easter Seals legacy throughout Central Illinois, giving more than 3,000 children with disabilities the chance to succeed--- just like Chad Cunningham.
He received Cerebral Palsy therapy from 18 months to 18 years old.
Now he works at Easter Seals, after Thompson hired him this past January.
"Steve is one of the most compassionate, kind and caring individuals that I have ever known. He has taught me so much in terms of how you should be able to live your life on a daily basis and lead by example," said Easter Seals Rehab Technician Chad Cunningham.
His example has landed him multiple awards and a list of more than a dozen accomplishments, like helping launch the Ray and Kathy LaHood Center for Cerebral Palsy.
" Going forward my goals have to do with leaving Easter Seals in a really strong financial position. That means building a significant endowment to ensure the future," Thompson said.
It's a future Thompson hopes will create even more services-- and success stories--- for the disabled.
"If I didn't have this organization, I don't think I would be the person I am today, and that all starts with Steve Thompson," Cunningham said.
"Easter Seals will always be a part of my life," Thompson said.