From 1990 through 1999, Jeff Bridges' impact on the Colts as a drill writer and program coordinator are still felt today. Jeff came to the corps at a critical time, when the corps was searching for an identity and competitive success. Jeff was integral in establishing an identity for the Colts as "the performer's corps," one that could play diverse styles of music from jazz to rock, while allowing the performers to create their own success. This approach, as well as assembling a great instructional and design staff, helped put the corps in its first DCI Finals appearance in 1993, and to establish competitive success that continues today.
Jeff was also a natural born speaker, often challenging the corps and the staff to strive for greater things. He was a key component in developing the corps' family philosophy, and regularly exposed the corps to different methods for thinking successfully and overcoming perceived limitations, while challenging them to be consistent. Jeff's easy manner, natural leadership and communication style was exactly what the corps needed during an exponential growth period for the corps in the 1990s.
But, it wasn't only on the field that Jeff made a difference. No marching member ever went a day without knowing that Jeff was there for anyone at any time of day. From comforting, to counseling, and teaching personal responsibility, Jeff concentrated on the growth of the whole person, not just the performer on the field. Jeff Bridges made a pivotal difference at a critical time for the future of the Colts; a future which has allowed the Colts to continue to compete at the highest levels of our activity, giving young performers from all over the world the chance to share the same amazing experiences that the corps members from the 1990's shared with him.
Often referred to in the singular as "Bob-n-Mary," Bob and Mary Deschepper have played extensive roles as volunteers for the corps since the mid-'90s, often simply doing whatever was needed at the time. Mary became a recognizable face for the corps through selling corps merchandise at our souvie booth at contests around the country. Perhaps her most important contribution has been that of being "grandma" to any member of the corps who needed her warm heart and words of support. We can only wonder how many corps members may have gone home early, if not for the warmth, care, and support from her. Mary was honored by Drum Corps International in 2012 as "Volunteer of the Year," and it is fitting that we now honor her as she embodies dedication to an organization.
It is often the people working behind the scenes who pull the heaviest load, and that was certainly the case with Bob Deschepper who drove and cared for our kitchen trailer for many years. While his wife Mary worked during the day at our souvie booth, Bob was up all night toting our mobile kitchen down the road, ensuring that the corps' most vital equipment, our food and cooking supplies, got where it needed to go, on time for the next day's breakfast. Like his wife, Bob played a critical role in making sure the members were supported off the field so that they could be their best on the field of competition.
Bob and Mary have often joked that "we just came along with the truck," but we know better. Their love of the corps and their caring for the members has been obvious and truly exceptional. It is fitting that we honor Bob and Mary Deschepper for the essential role that they have played off the field as volunteers and as de facto grandparents in making our Colts family complete.
As a leader in the Dubuque business community, first at the William C. Brown Group and later at Westmark Enterprises and Kendall-Hunt Publishing Company, Mark Falb's business success has been well documented. However, the work that he and his wife Cheryl provide to nonprofit organizations in the Dubuque area often goes without fanfare. Mark and Cheryl Falb have quietly made an enormous impact on the 50+ year history of the Colts Youth Organization.
The business of running a world-class drum and bugle corps is often daunting and demanding. When the Colts faced one of their most challenging times over a decade ago, Mark and Cheryl stepped in to ensure the corps would continue onward for the benefit of our student performers, and for the residents of the tri-state area who are treated to their amazing talents each summer. The Falbs have stepped up time and again to offer support, to provide an additional boost for a fundraising effort, or to make a capital contribution for new instruments or transportation equipment. The Colts march on today because Mark and Cheryl Falb believe in its mission to "use music & excellence to teach each other about success in life."
We are proud to welcome Mark and Cheryl Falb among this elite group of Hall of Fame inductees who have made such significant contributions to the long term health and greatness of our organization.
Frank Nelson's association with the corps began in 1964 when he led his son Craig into an American Legion Hall in downtown Dubuque for his first drum corps rehearsal. Frank stayed to watch the entire rehearsal, and from then on, he was smitten by the "drum corps bug," an incurable condition that would remain with him for many years.
He regularly used all of his vacation time from John Deere each summer to travel with and help chaperone the corps when it toured; sometimes even driving his own car. By the mid-'60s, Frank became the assistant equipment manager, as well as helping with the many and myriad chores that were needed to keep the corps moving and performing. He even used his drafting and carpentry skills to construct the interior of the corps' first equipment truck so that it would to accommodate uniforms and equipment. Before they were commercially available, he designed and helped fabricate the harnesses used by the drum line. On the road, Frank could always be found at the back of the truck loading and unloading, or fixing and adjusting equipment.
Frank served as the assistant corps director, and later became a member of the corps' Board of Directors, giving up his evenings to attend meetings or to volunteer at the weekly bingo games, which was the major source of financial support for the corps at that time. Sadly, Frank passed away in 1989, but his contributions and memory are still felt today. We are certain that Frank would be pleased to see how the Colts have grown to join the ranks of the drum corps elite, and proud of the role he played in building the corps' foundation and supporting its growth during its critical early years.