CI Hero: Peoria man keeps community clean, helps mentor youth

Ci Heroes

A Peoria man takes it upon himself to go around the streets from his business to rid them of trash, but there’s more than one reason why Joseph Wheeler deserves to be this week’s CI Hero.

Joseph Wheeler takes pride in his main street business, but he also uses his time to help influence Peoria students with a barbering class.

His hope is that his efforts positively impact others and it’s obviously working.

“He’s just a good guy,” said Steve Spain, the owner of The Costume Trunk. “A quiet leader by example.”

It all started with a Facebook post from Steve Spain. He snapped a shot of his business neighbor and friend, picking up trash just because.

“He’s one of a kind for sure, but it just lifts your spirits a little bit just to hang around the guy,” said Spain. “It’s a good thing.”

We wanted to know if this was a normal thing for Joseph Wheeler. Turns out, he’s so much more than just a friendly neighborhood trash “picker upper.”

“He also teaches barbering at the Woodruff trade school [Woodruff Career Technical Center],” said Spain. “He mentors young people whenever he has a chance. He’s a good dad.”

The list goes on and on. We found out he doesn’t like recognition, so naturally we had to ask “how does it feel to be nominated?”

“It feels great,” said Joseph Wheeler. “It was unexpected, you know, that’s just something I normally do every day and if I’m up in this area I just try to keep this area clean.”



When he’s not teaching at Woodruff and helping set students off on a career path, he’s “The Main One.” His own barbershop that he opened himself. There’s such an artistic flare that comes with barbering. One that Wheeler said helps impact his personal decisions when it comes to lending a helping hand.

“Why not give? You know, you try to give back and if you give you get blesses in return,” said Wheeler.

If there’s one thing we’ve learned from Wheeler, it’s that you don’t go the right thing for praise. You do it because it’s right even when no one is looking.

Wheeler and Spain both say they appreciate the other for their years of friendship and hope that this story will inspire positivity in our community.

Nominate someone you know to be our next CI Hero by CLICKING HERE.

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