A tree planting ceremony was held at Kaskaskia College on
August 5 to honor Herschel Thomas, a long-time friend of the College. The event was attended by Betty Thomas, her
daughter Liz Wade, and members of the Kaskaskia College staff.
Mr. Thomas served in WW II, fighting in the Argonne Forest
and the Battle of the Bulge before being wounded by a mortar round. Mr. Thomas has been a member of the VFW for
more than 60 years and served as Post Commander for a period of time. He was also a Grand Commander and Grand
Master of the Masonic Order for the State of Illinois, and was instrumental in
developing Little League Baseball in the Centralia area as well as coaching
basketball for St. Mary’s School for a number of years.
Herschel Thomas attended Centralia Junior College, later
known as KC, on the GI bill after the war, and his wife, Betty Thomas, is a
former employee of the College. Herschel
and Betty have established four scholarships through the Kaskaskia College
Foundation, and Mr. Thomas has been credited with helping to establish KC’s
Patriot Award. Mr. Thomas has also made
generous donations to the Veterans Tribute project on campus.
A Magnolia tree, donated by KC President Dr. Jim Underwood
and the Board of Trustees, was dedicated to the memory of Herschel Thomas.