Long before there was Wimpy’s Fund, there was Wimpy the police chief, Everett Vaughan. A generous character who often reached into his pockets to help needy families. Vaughan served as police chief in Rockton from 1977 to 1981 and was a police officer before that time. Officer Vaughan was given the nickname Wimpy which derived from the cartoon character in Popeye who would walk the streets carrying a sandwich board.
He’d be there helping the children cross the street every morning and afternoon, and he’d notice certain children didn’t have gloves, hats, even socks,” said Jack Stewart, a former Rockton police officer who worked for Everett “Wimpy” Vaughan. “He’d take the mothers of those families shopping and buy the kids clothing, groceries and one gift for each child,” he said. “He’d use money out of his own pocket.” But the giving did not stop there. His wife Betty wanted to go a step further by providing Christmas dinner for the families, soon they were providing toys also.
As area residents heard of his kind heart they began giving Wimpy money to buy gifts and food for the families in need. Since that time Wimpy’s fund has grown to serve the Roscoe, Rockton, South Beloit, Harrison, and Shirland Illinois communities.
He passed away in 1997 after suffering a stroke that left him unable to communicate. Stewart was Wimpy’s friend until the end of his life, and was proud to carry on his mission. For the proud dads, Stewart would open his home for them to pick up the items secretly at his house on their way home from work. Stewart said, “We would stand in the garage and cry like babies.”
Rockton Lions Club began overseeing the collections and distribution of food, toys, and clothing after Wimpy’s passing. A very special thank you goes out to Charlotte Larrison, Rhonda Fair, Jack Stewart, Paul Cannell and now Tami Verstraete for keeping the tradition. During the Christmas season each year dozens of volunteers wrap presents, and distribute them along with food baskets to families in the area. If you wish to contribute to Wimpy’s fund, you can deposit them directly at First National Bank Macktown, or mail them to Rockton Lions Club P.O. Box 90, Rockton IL 61072. Please designate these funds specifically for Wimpy’s Fund. You can also click the “donate” button on this website and give online, simply write “Wimpy’s” in the note area of your paypal donation.
Every year at Rockton’s Christmas Walk, the Lions organize an auction beginning after the lighted parade ends. Items donated from local business and individuals are auctioned off in live and silent auctions. The proceeds from this event are used to fund the food and gift baskets. Thank you to everyone who participates. If you are interested in helping out with Wimpy’s Fund or have any specific questions please contact the Committee Chair Tami Verstraete. If your business plans on doing a food or toy drive during the season to benefit this fund, we ask that you contact Tami beforehand so that we can best coordinate our efforts. Thank you.