Our fast-paced world continues to “pick up speed” day by day. Within this life, it has become difficult to know our neighbors, co-workers, even our friends. And yet with upcoming decisions that must be made within our local, state, and national communities, it is important to know the persons who may impact not only our future, but the future of our families and lifestyles. In this article, you will get to know Ms. Rachael Parker.
Born in the Galesburg, Illinois area, Rachael was influenced at an early age by the “servant’s heart of her Mother. By living in a rural part of the area, she would see her Mother feed individuals we now call hobos, who would be walking via the railroad tracks. Rachael saw in her Mother the importance of helping the less fortunate and the practice of describing community as “neighbors helping neighbors.” From this early time in her life, through her own family experiences as a mother of two children, the motivational seeds of excellence, service, and entrepreneurial activity have flourished.
In the fullness of time, outcomes of excellence, service, and entrepreneurial activity were evidenced. Her excellence has been evidenced through attendance at Bradley University where she is not only a Bradley graduate in Business and Finance, but was inducted in the Athletic Hall of Fame and still holds a track and field record that has not been broken. This excellence was on display as she entered the banking industry as one of the first African American persons to serve individuals and companies through the intricacies of economic development. Her life journey has overflowed with outcomes of service from volunteering for Big Brothers and Big Sisters activities to establishing a weekly feeding program “Food for the Soul” from which her team delivers and serves an evening meal to those persons in need. Within her career, service has been an ongoing theme. As the current Peoria County Clerk, a member of the Peoria County Board for nine years, a member of the Board for Peoria Public Schools 150 for 3 years,
Director of Economic Development of Chillicothe for seven years, and Economic Specialist for the City of Peoria, Rachael reflects a personal and professional lifestyle of service. Likewise, her entrepreneurial activity has been remarkable. It takes a genuine, committed individual to assist others in the strengthening of business plans, applying for grants, and facilitating diverse means of implementation. Her professional activities have spanned from Oklahoma City, OK to Galesburg, and Peoria City and County. Rachael is a 31 year resident of Peoria County. She applied her business acumen of 25 years as a business owner to assist persons and groups from metropolitan communities to rural areas, from predominantly Caucasian communities to diverse communities with an emphasis on encouraging business measures for all.
Rachael Parker is a remarkable, quiet individual. She has described herself as a good listener who “speaks when I have something to say.” She has further reflected upon the belief that in the midst of life’s ups and downs, her faith in the Lord and years of service as one of the Worship Leaders of St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church, Peoria, has been an ongoing part of her personal strength. Additionally, Rachael displays flexibility, adaptability, and the value she has for all people. These characteristics of compassion and respect inspire hope and a belief in the future.
As her journey continues to unfold, Rachael has consistently made it clear that she prefers to refer to herself, not as a politician, but a PUBLIC SERVANT. Thank you, Rachael, for your servant’s heart! Your professional journey now includes serving as Peoria County Clerk, no better person for this position!