Carbondale, Ill. - Aur Beck, the owner of AES Solar and a long-time community volunteer, says "the hardest thing for me to say is 'no'." His willingness to say "yes" and support others has been a boon for the Carbondale community, where Beck volunteers through numerous organizations. Thanks to his extensive contributions, Beck has received a ‘Neighborly’ Award inspired by Fred Rogers for his service as an educator and all-around great neighbor and community member.
As a member of the local Rotary Club District 6510, with a motto of "Service Above Self" Beck loves helping others in need. He also cooks for a local soup kitchen, serves on the Habitat for Humanity board, volunteers for the Great Carbondale Pumpkin Race and teaches others about solar energy through "coal to SOL," a clean energy job-retraining program he developed through AES Solar. He eventually created a spreadsheet to track his many volunteer commitments to ensure he wasn’t trying to be in two places at the same time.
"My passion is for the people who are most disadvantaged, which tends to be youth and people who are hungry. I really like feeding people," Beck said. "My other passion is to share knowledge." He does this by teaching a volunteer course on solar energy to students interested in the solar industry and new economy.
Inspired by his dad, who would literally give the shirt off his back, Beck said, 'We came from very little and, therefore, what little we have is time. Time is the most valuable thing." He even continues his charitable work during vacations, finding service projects in other locations so he can make a greater difference in the world.
Beck received two nominations for the ‘Neighborly’ Award. He was nominated by friend Shannon Griffin, who noted that "Aur is always doing something for the community. He is always giving back" as well as fellow Rotary Club member Gregory Kupiec.
Kupiec added that "he gives his time and sweat and is not afraid to get dirty. A good neighbor helps out when and how they can, at the time help is needed or before it’s needed to prevent something bad from happening."
Griffin added that Beck personifies her definition of a good neighbor. "Someone who helps others and gives to the community. A good neighbor is friendly and kind. Aur is all of these things."
Beck has lived in 34 states and four countries but raves about the phenomenal Southern Illinois community and the "outpouring of goodness" he sees on a regular basis.
When thinking about all he does for Southern Illinois, Beck concluded, "I don’t think of it as volunteering because it makes me feel good. And so, I’m doing it, I like to say for greedy reasons. I want to do it more and more and more and just have to be careful not to wear myself out."
About One Region All Neighbors
Inspired by the life and legacy of Fred Rogers and in honor of his vision, WSIU’s One Region, All Neighbors initiative encourages community members to nominate those who are making positive contributions through acts of kindness, compassion and service. Winners are chosen from nominations submitted by the public in five categories-individual, youth, educator, community group and business. WSIU recognizes these winners on its television and radio stations, website and social media. All awardees and nominators will be invited to attend a special ceremony where they will be recognized for their outstanding contributions to their communities.
Nominate Your Neighbors
WSIU encourages the public to participate in One Region, All Neighbors campaign by nominating neighbors online and sharing on social media using #WeAreAllNeighbors.
About WSIU Public Broadcasting
WSIU Public Broadcasting is licensed to the Board of Trustees of Southern Illinois University and is an integral part of the College of Mass Communication & Media Arts on the Carbondale campus. The WSIU stations reach more than five million people across six states and beyond through five digital public television channels, three public radio stations, a radio information service, a website and education and outreach services. They partner with other community organizations to promote positive change and to support the academic and public service missions of Southern Illinois University, Carbondale. Learn more and get the latest station news online and on WSIU's Facebook and Twitter pages.