The Rock Island-Milan Education Foundation has honored four individuals for their professional achievements and contributions to the Rock Island-Milan School District.   

This year’s Rock Island Legend Award winners are:

n Dr. Paula Youngberg Arnell, class of 1956: Co-founder of the  Metropolitan Laboratory and the Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center, founder of The Women’s Connection and a founding member of the Quad- City Breast Center.

n Don Nelson, class of 1958: A two-time All-American at the University of Iowa, he won five NBA titles with the Boston Celtics, coached 30-plus seasons and has the most wins for any coach in the NBA.

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n Gary Payton, class of 1966: He spent 23 years as an Air Force officer as a pilot, instructor pilot, spacecraft operations director and space technology manager. He flew on the 1985 Space Shuttle Discovery and currently is a distinguished visiting professor in engineering sciences at the U.S. Air Force Academy.

The Founders Circle Award was given to Vic Boblett, who has coached football for 36 years, including 21 at Rock Island High School. He was a driving force behind creating the Rock Island Youth Football program in 1993 and has been inducted into the Illinois Football Coaches Hall of Fame.