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BLOOMINGTON — The McLean County Republican Party is bringing in an extra chef for its biggest dinner of the year.

Martin Mongiello, a White House chef and president of the U.S. Presidential Culinary Museum, will be featured at the group's Lincoln Reagan Dinner on Friday at the DoubleTree Hotel and Conference Center in Bloomington. 

Mongiello will speak and present Presidential Service Center Distinguished Service Medals — the center is another museum connected to Mongiello and "The Inn of the Patriots" in Grover, N.C. — to McLean County residents chosen by the local GOP for their volunteerism.

"We were very quick to jump onto this whole idea because as Republicans, we look first to individuals in our community to create first-hand solutions rather than the government and official channels providing it," said Connie Beard, chair of the local party, of the award.

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Several others who were nominated also will be honored at the dinner, including representatives of Advocate Hospice, Boys and Girls Club of Bloomington-Normal, Court Appointed Special Advocates, Home Sweet Home Ministries and Western Avenue Community Center.

"We're excited about recognizing these great people and their years of service to our community," said Beard. "That kind of sacrifice and willingness to help those in need is the kind of thing we want to honor."

Beard expects at least 150 attendees for the 6 p.m. event. Tickets are still available, starting at $80, at mcleancountyrepublicans.org/2019_lincoln_reagan_dinner.

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Contact Derek Beigh at (309) 820-3234. Follow him on Twitter: @pg_beigh

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