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TV Host Mike Rowe Surprises Non-Profit Director with $124,000 in Donations

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Television personality Mike Rowe is probably best known as the host of “Dirty Jobs,” which aired from 2003 to 2012, but now, Rowe is traveling around the United States in search of people who have jobs of a different flavor.

Rowe now hosts the series, “Returning the Favor,” a Facebook show preparing to air its third season.

“Returning The Favor,” focuses on honoring individuals who are doing good, hard, self-sacrificing work in their communities. Rowe and his colleagues seek to give back to the series participants, supporting them as they continue to move forward with their good works.

On Sept. 24, Rowe made a stop in Peoria, Illinois, to meet with Carl Cannon, founder of the ELITE Youth Program in the Peoria Park District.

A former military officer, Cannon aims to teach vulnerable young people how to escape the clutches of poverty, crime and jail and succeed in life.

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“Believe it or not, some of these kids think prison is cool, like some kind of badge or something. I want to destroy that myth and teach these kids what kind of life they can have with some effort,” Cannon told The Peorian in a 2012 interview.

“Access to knowledge is the pathway to change. But the hardest part about success is getting started. So, if we can get them started, most will have the opportunity to succeed.”

Rowe visited Cannon to award him with $50,000 to keep the ELITE Youth Program moving forward during a surprise celebration on Sept. 24

Cannon also received $24,000 from the city of Peoria and $50,000 from charity organization Stand Together, bringing the donation total to $124,000.

“Carl Cannon has given his life in service to young people, the youth of our community, making a difference in their lives. He deserves this. I’m just so proud of him,” Peoria City Councilwoman Rita Ali told HOIABC.

An elated Cannon stood beside Rowe as he accepted the check from “Returning The Favor” at the Noble Center.

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Viewers will have to wait until January to see the full episode and learn more about Cannon’s work with the youth in his community.

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