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May 9, 2000


ZION - Governor George H. Ryan today dedicated Illinois Beach State Park along with North Point Marina as the Cullerton Complex in honor of William J. Cullerton Sr., a dedicated war hero, radio personality, entrepreneur and outdoorsman. While the two sites will be known as the Cullerton Complex, each will retain its own name and management.

"From his early years, Bill has demonstrated true American grit and has dedicated much of his life to encouraging others to participate in the great outdoors, safely, effectively and ethically," Ryan said. "He has had a long and distinguished career and continues to be a strong advocate for outdoorsmen and outdoor issues."

Cullerton, 76, retired in December after 20 years as host of WGN-AM Radio's Saturday outdoors program. He most recently spearheaded efforts to install an artificial underwater reef in Chicago off Lake Michigan's shore to enhance fish habitat.

Cullerton, a distinguished and highly decorated pilot during World War II, was an escaped prisoner of war and has been honored by the United States, French, Polish and Russian governments. He is in the Illinois Military Aviation Hall of Fame and is enshrined in the Champlain Fighter Aces Museum in Phoenix, Arizona. His U.S. military honors include the Presidential Citation, the Air Medal with 7 Oak Leaf Clusters, Distinguished Flying Cross with 4 Oak Leaf Clusters, Purple Heart, Silver Star and the Distinguished Service Cross. He has served on a variety of boards and won numerous honors.

Illinois Beach State Park is a 4,160-acre site that stretches along six miles of Lake Michigan shoreline in Lake County and is the state's busiest park with 2.8 million visitors. North Point Marina is a full-service marina with 1,500 boat slips constructed by the state in 1989. The world-class state-of-the-art facility accommodates mega-yachts while public launch ramps, beaches, charter boats and the fishing pier provide recreational access to Lake Michigan for thousands.

"Bill Cullerton grew up around the shores of Lake Michigan and has been a strong spokesman for sportsmen and the outdoors in the northeastern Illinois," said DNR Director Brent Manning. "As a member of the Illinois Conservation Foundation Board, he has been a tireless advocate for natural resources programs, particularly those that involved kids."


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