Peoria, Ill. (WMBD) — Decades of service culminated Wednesday as Peoria Mayor Rita Ali honored a woman who community members are calling a ‘local living legend.’

Ali presented a proclamation to Mrs. Pearly Bonds, who turned 99-years-old in October.

In addition to reading the recognition, Ali also the reflected on Bonds’ years of achievement and commitment to the community.

“During her long and productive lifetime, she has demonstrated in countless ways her dedication to the welfare of others and has earned the respect and affection of people from all walks of life and all ages,” Ali read.

David Jamison, Bonds’ nephew, said his aunt’s dedication to civil rights and to her community dates back to at least the 1960s, alongside leaders like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“This is a day when a person of my aunt’s stature gets the opportunity to be shown to the public,” Jamison said. “She has made a big contribution in her life and she’s always made a big contribution and played whatever role she needed to play in the community.”

Among her accomplishments, Bonds helped secure Peoria’s NAACP building which was eventually named after her.

She’s also the recipient of numerous awards such as: the NAACP 25 Years or more Service Diploma, Officer Certificate of Steward Board, Ward Chapel, African American Hall of Fame Inductee, United Usher Board, Certificate of Recognition, Rosa Parks Award, King Holiday Day Committee; and the Valeska S. Hinton Human Rights Award. 

“Aunt Pearly has always been one who was proactive,” Jamison said. “She not only spoke her words, she acted her words. She took time to reach out to the community and to persons involved in the community to get certain kinds of things done.”

He said even at the age of 99, she is still in the fight.