FULTON, Ill. — The Fulton Dutch Days Committee is thrilled to announce that Chad Pregracke, founder of Living Land & Waters, and CNN 2013 Hero of the year, will speak in Fulton on Sunday, May 4, at 1 p.m. in the Fulton Presbyterian Church.
“I’ve been trying for years to book Chad as a speaker here in Fulton,” said Barbara Mask, Dutch Days Committee Chairwoman. “Then a few weeks ago his assistant called and said he was available on May 4. Of course I said yes, we want him!”
As the founder of America’s only “industrial strength” river clean-up organization, Living Lands & Waters, Chad tells a compelling and funny story about growing up on the river and how his river experiences led to his unique vision to clean up the Mississippi River.
During his hour-long talk, Chad takes the audience out on one of the world’s greatest rivers – a journey filled with endless challenges and gripping adventures. His delivery is motivating, captivating, genuine and refreshingly spontaneous.
From the darkness of underwater shell-diving to the brightness of open-air community cleanups, Chad’s tale embodies the importance of setting goals (one river and one piece of garbage at a time) and illustrates how determination hard-work and persistence pays off.
The river environment is relentlessly real and Chad brings the same up-front honest to his presentation. Chad’s sincere enthusiasm is an uplifting wave for audiences of all ages as he relates his personal conviction to clean America’s rivers.
The Mississippi River was literally his backyard while growing up outside of Hampton, Ill. The son of educators and river enthusiasts, KeeKee and Garry Pregracke, Chad and his older brother, Brent, spent the majority of their time on, in, and around the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers.
During his summer breaks from high school and college, Chad worked on the river – primarily as a commercial shell diver for the cultured pearl industry, but also as a commercial fisherman and barge hand.