[Congressional Record Volume 160, Number 101 (Thursday, June 26, 2014)]
[Extensions of Remarks]
[Page E1076]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]



                           HON. AARON SCHOCK

                              of illinois

                    in the house of representatives

                        Thursday, June 26, 2014

  Mr. SCHOCK. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to celebrate an organization 
that has been dedicated to improving central Illinois for 100 years. 
The Itoo Society is the oldest Lebanese-American organization in the 
United States and one of the oldest heritage societies in Illinois. 
Named after a small village in northern Lebanon, the Itoo Society was 
formed in 1914 by a group of Lebanese immigrants who came together to 
support their members through financial and emotional hardships. Since 
then, it has developed into an active community group that Peoria, 
Illinois is proud to claim.
   Peorians know the Itoo Society to be a family oriented organization 
that honors its members' heritage and culture. The Society has long 
been dedicated to charitable works that benefit the community members 
in Peoria as well as villagers in Itoo, Lebanon. Many of their 
festivals illustrate their dedication to commendable causes, including 
Peoria's oldest food festival, which honors those who have served in 
our military. I think my colleagues and I can learn a valuable lesson 
from the Itoo Society as its members are known for producing results 
through a team-oriented approach to their many projects.
   In addition to serving its members, the Itoo Society opens its doors 
to charitable organizations and small businesses. By providing the 
community with a meeting place for business purposes and public 
fundraising events, the Society contributes to the success of other 
community institutions. This function is another way the Society brings 
together friends and neighbors who share similar problems, values, and 
   An impressive list of Peorians can claim Itoo roots, including 
former U.S. Secretary of Transportation, Ray LaHood, former City 
Councilman and now Chairman of the Society, Leonard Unes, and Peoria 
County Circuit Judge Steve Kouri.
   I'd like to thank Corrie Ricca and Carl Williams, the Ladies' and 
Men's Branch Presidents, respectively, as well as Chairman Leonard Unes 
and the rest of the Itoo Society for their continuing service to the 
greater Peoria community and its devoted Lebanese members. On behalf of 
the constituents of Illinois' 18th Congressional District, I commend 
the exemplary record of service the Itoo Society has contributed. I am 
honored today to recognize their 100 years of effort. May they have 
many more to come.