Kaskaskia College is proud to announce that Jerry Rakers of Carlyle has been given the Kaskaskia College Distinguished Service Award.
Jerry Rakers was born in Breese and has spent virtually all his life in this area. He has spent his entire adult life in service to the community and his contributions have greatly enriched the lives of others in this area. He and his wife Millie have been blessed with six children and 12 grandchildren.
From his military service, as a translator for the army, to his collaboration with farmers during his ownership of Rakers Elevator Rakers has been committed to bettering our community. In addition, he played a key role in opening up grain markets for American farmers in Asia, Europe and South America. Through the government sponsored “People to People”, Jerry helped open markets for wheat in China. He also received from Russia the very first commodities
trading certificate issued to a westerner, for the assistance he gave them in switching to a free enterprise system during his visit there in 1994. Jerry also visited Brazil, Argentina, and Japan during his travels on behalf of US farmers. In 1995, Jerry was voted top dealer by Purina. In 2003, Jerry was honored by the College as Entrepreneur of the Year through the Teachers and Coaches Entrepreneurship program. This honor was a result of his success in business, as well as his willingness and ability to coach and mentor others and his service to the community.
Jerry’s affiliation with Kaskaskia College began when he played a key role in locating the College at its current site and ensuring its continued development as a community college. His children have attended and graduated from Kaskaskia College. He has served as a Board member of the KC Foundation and has remained active as a Foundation Director Emeritus and Foundation Trustee. He also is a Triple Crown member of the KC Friends of the Fine Arts, the KC Sports Association and the KC Alumni and Friends Association. Jerry and his wife Millie faithfully attend many of the events and functions of the College and remain enthusiastic supporters of Kaskaskia College and higher education.
In 2007, Jerry and Millie sponsored the construction of the KC Clocktower, which is located in front of the Lifelong Learning Center. It was aptly dedicated by the Rakers’ as “A Time to Build your Future”. The Clocktower symbolizes the importance of higher education and has become a beacon for the campus. In further support of enhancing student educational opportunities,
Jerry and Millie have also sponsored a Title III scholarship, which has been awarded over the past several years to deserving students and which will continue to be awarded for many years into the future. The Rakers’ have also supported many other events and activities of the College and their generosity has greatly enriched the College, the students, and the community.
In addition to supporting Kaskaskia College, Jerry and Millie have unselfishly supported many other worthy projects and organizations in the community, which are too numerous to mention. Notably, they were instrumental in the establishment and continuing development of Christ Our Rock Lutheran High School, which has realized great success in its first several years of operation.