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This week’s IYW dives into the Hoopeston pool and the woman who led the campaign to keep it running: Kristi Hudson.

Kristi was born and raised in Hoopeston, where she and her husband have raised their two boys, Sam and Sean. She graduated from the University of Illinois with a BA in Anatomy and returned to Hoopeston to become a massage therapist. After 20 years of that career, she decided to make a change, studied occupational therapy at Parkland Community College and began working for the Vermilion Association for Special Education (VASE) in Vermilion County schools.

In 2021, Kristi was hired to manage the Hoopeston Pool and with the help of the “Save the Hoopeston Pool” group, she was responsible for improving the pool’s image, attendance and finances. “Once the city was convinced to keep the pool open, the group changed its name to the ‘Hoopeston Aquatics Coalition’ (HAC) to better reflect our purpose.” Kristi is the group president. Now they are raising money to improve the pools.

Kristi was able to rally local businesses such as AMBUCS, Hoopeston Rotary, The Pump and others to help purchase an ADA approved ladder so that people of all abilities can easily access the pool. Private and group lessons have been restored, water exercise classes have been started, evening parties and special hours have been offered for teenagers, adults, women and families. They have organized buy-one-get-one community days for people from different communities in Vermilion County. Last summer, they were able to reopen the concession stand after several years and they have big plans for next summer. “I hope to start a volleyball league, and we would love to find someone to revive the swim team!”

Last October, HAC presented the inaugural “Boo at the Pool.” Together with the Hoopeston Women’s Club and members of the high school band, they transformed the pool into a maze and enchanted scene, enjoyed by over 800 people.

Kristi has served on the board of Keep Vermilion County Beautiful and founded a Hoopeston group called the Trash Walkers that met weekly to pick up trash. He loves where he lives and says, “I love living in a town with grocery stores, seven restaurants, pharmacies, banks, gas, swimming pool, mini golf, bowling alley, barber, chiropractor, doctor’s offices, 1/4 mile from my house, and my yard every summer with corn or soybeans” about Hoopeston. “I love living in a community where strangers collect clothes and belongings for a family that lost their home in a fire or when someone pays a couple of $100 bills because they hear someone is having a hard holiday or where people send boxes and boxes. food and supplies to a food pantry or animal shelter”.

Thank you, Kristi, for all you do throughout Vermilion County and all the love you pour into the Hoopeston community.

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