My name is Robert Van De Velde. My family and I have been residents of Sterling for more than 44 years. My wife, Rita, and I have four children, a daughter and three sons. My family farmed in the Tampico area.
In October 1943, at the age of 18, I enlisted in the U.S. Air Force. I was assigned to a B-29 air crew training to fly bomber missions over Japan. Upon completing 30 missions from the island of Tinian in the South Pacific, I returned to the U.S. and entered Illinois State University. I later entered the business world.
I was employed by Hardware Products Co., a distribution company in Sterling, as a sales representative, and rose through sales and management to become president and partial owner. During my 30 years of employment, company sales rose from $2.5 million to $125.6 million.
In 1980, we founded our own company in Des Moines, Iowa, Velde Distributing. After 50-plus years in marketing, management and ownership, we retired in 2006, having returned to Sterling in 1998.
Being of good health, I became active in community charities. I co-founded the Catholic Charity Golf event that raises funds for needy children of all denominations. In 12 years, we distributed $160,000 to needy children and feed lunches to 4,000 children a year.
I also co-founded the Whiteside County Honor Flight organization, raising funds in excess of $200,000 and escorting 200-plus veterans to Washington to view the memorials built to honor their service to our country.
As a member of the county board for the past 4 years, I served on the finance committee and 911 ambulance committee serving CGH.
I submit that my many years in business management and ownership qualify me to present myself as a candidate for another term as a member of the county board.