Metro-East News

Ron Johnson will share his message at Racial Harmony dinner


Capt. Ron Johnson
Capt. Ron Johnson Provided

Racial Harmony of Belleville will honor its ELITE winners at a dinner Sunday evening at Fischer’s Restaurant in Belleville.

ELITE stands for Extraordinary Leaders Impacting Today’s Environment. The dinner is an annual events that focuses on awarding outstanding individuals, businesses and organizations who have helped in many ways throughout the last year.

Keynote speaker is Capt. Ron Johnson, Missouri Highway Patrol officer who came into Ferguson, Mo., with a plan after the fatal shooting of Michael Brown by white police officer Darren Wilson on Aug. 9, 2014, caused unrest. He helped calm the waters, restore peace and he did it without any loss of life.

“He has a powerful, positive message,” said Donna Moody, president of Racial Harmony.

Tickets for the group’s annual fundraiser are $50. Doors open at 5 p.m.; dinner is at 6. For ticket information, call the Center for Racial Harmony at 618-234-0508 or email Tickets also may be purchased at the door.

Here is a little information about Johnson and two other honorees. They are among 15 people, businesses or organizations that will be honored.

Capt. Ronald Johnson

As a lifelong resident of the St. Louis area, Captain Ron Johnson is a 29-year veteran of the Missouri State Highway Patrol. Johnson, who holds a degree in criminal justice, joined the Missouri Highway Patrol in 1987. He was promoted to corporal in 1995, sergeant in 1997, and in 2002, became a captain and commanding officer of Troop C. Johnson was appointed to the Peace Officer Standards and Training Commission by Missouri Governor Matt Blunt in 2007. In 2014, he was appointed Commander of Ferguson Operations by Governor Jay Nixon. Captain Johnson was instrumental in bringing the community of Ferguson together during a difficult time. He did so with calmness and respect for all. His leadership throughout the crisis inspired many and subsequently, he was named one of CNN’s “Extraordinary People” in 2014.

Retired Judge Annette A. Eckert

Judge (Ret.) Annette A. Eckert was the first woman elected a circuit judge in the 20th Judicial Circuit in St. Clair County in 2002. Judge Eckert has been an instructor at Loyola University School of Law, Southwestern Illinois College Police Academy and currently at Lindenwood University-Belleville. She is also a commissioner with the Metro East Police District Commission and Director of the St. Clair County Teen Court.

Forrest Bevineau, Sr.

Forrest Bevineau was born in Belleville, attended school here and graduated, worked at the Department of Defense at Scott Air Force Base and retired after 23 years. He then volunteered as an auxiliary deputy sheriff with the St. Clair County Sheriff Department. His job evolved. He went from deputy sheriff bailiff to assistant chief bailiff and retired after 26 1/2 years.

He now works as a part-time bailiff. Forrest is married and has three children; Heather, Mariah and Forrest, Jr., and five grandchildren. He was a former board member of Zoning Board, board member of Franklin Community Neighborhood Association, Masonic Mason for 40 years, president of Christ United Methodist Men and singer for all occasions. He loves singing at nursing homes, and has been to approximately 50 of them.