Saturday, March 26, 2011

Happy New Year's – 2011

The Year of the City Worker

as published in the 03/22/11 issue of The Blue Island FORUM

by Jude Coyle

If you listen to the fat cats in Washington, you'll hear them refer to the fat cat union workers that saturate every part of government. They're making all this money and it's killing the American economy. It has to be stopped.

I've been searching my memory for a name I can blame as the cause of all of the discomfort America has felt of late, and frankly I can't come up with one. Instead I think of those individuals who patrol our streets, fight our fires and dig ditches in an effort to stop the flow of water main breaks. I think of the guys who fill the potholes, and the employees at City Hall who do the paperwork required in running a City the size of Blue Island. None of them are living in mansions, and if you read City Council News, you'll know that these are the same people who were asked to give up half their regular pay for the months of October and November because property tax bills went out late. They were to be repaid after Christmas.

Yet it was these people who on realizing that An Angel's Touch needed extra help this year because of the economy, dug deep to help us. For that reason, I am calling Christmas, 2010, the Year of the City Worker. To all of you, thank you so much.

An Angel's Touch is an organization that was created by friends to help other friends who ran into emergencies that threatened to wipe them out financially. We've grown from there, doing our best to help anywhere we can with emergencies of every kind. Over the nearly twenty years of operation, we've helped several hundred families with food, Christmas gifts, clothing and other necessities. This year alone we helped 43 families. What we do though, doesn't come from just us. It is because people like the City workers of Blue Island, the churches who have partnered with us, the Library, the Park District, Calumet Township Senior Center and other organizations, through their donations, allow us to help others.

This year it seemed that we would have to turn away families for the first time in our history as we just didn't have enough food. I begged at churches. I begged at City Hall. I begged on Facebook. I spoke to anyone who took the time to listen to me. At the last possible minute, Bernie Perryman donated huge stack of canned goods. So did Betty Nagle, Nancy Shultz, Raymond Guray, Charlene Finn, and John and Marsha Rauch. After that it seemed that I had to pick up canned goods every couple of days from City Hall. The very same people I referred to above, helped us out in spite of their own needs. I also picked up donations from the library, Calumet Senior Center, Lincoln, Oak Ridge and Beverly Cemeteries, Memorial Park and from various churches. Rose Rita, who has been ill, collected cereal for us. Tony from the Doubleplay Lounge, the Calumet Park Troublemakers and the Blue Island Professional Firefighters each provided five Christmas dinners. The Rickerson family made a huge donation. Again, thank you.

As I said, this year was harder than usual because of the economy, and a lot of our calls came from people living in odd situations. One woman called from a hotel room. She had two little boys, and had lost her home and her car. Could we help her? We did our best. We also helped a gentleman and his lady who were living in their car. There were too many others in similar situations. We did the best we could and we turned no one away. Better yet, we were able to pass on food to St. Benedict's Parish St. Vincent de Paul Society pantry and to the Salvation Army. As I've always said, donations end at Christmas. Hunger doesn't. We were also able to pass along coats to Reverend Rod Reinhart for veterans in need.

Our only disappointment was that we weren't able to pass along a full 240 gloves or mittens and hats to the CEDA preschool. We bought enough gloves to go around, but not hats. The boss saw mittens on sale right after Christmas this year, and purchased 200 pairs. So when next year comes along, I will be begging for 240 hats. A very big thank you to Jim Reihel who made that purchase possible because of the can shake he sponsors each year on our behalf.

Thank to the following. If I forgot your name or spelled it wrong, please accept my apology now, and know that you are in our prayers. Mayor Donald E. Peloquin, his office; City Clerk Pam Frasor and her office; City Council, particularly Aldermen Rose Rita, Leticia Vieyra, Jan Ostling, Marcia Stone; the Police and Fire Departments, and Professional Firefighters Union; the Building, Public Works and Water Departments; The 911 Center; the Chamber of Commerce; Metro South Hospital; the Blue Island Park District; the Public Library; the Calumet Township Senior Center; St. Rita High School, DDE Key and Leo Clubs; Veteran's Memorial Middle School; Paul Revere Intermediate and Primary Schools; Reverend Judy Jones, and Christ Memorial United Church of Christ; First Evangelical Lutheran Church, Grace United Methodist Church; Lori Campione and St. Walter's School; Accurate Perforating; the Kiwanis; the Calumet Park Troublemakers; Tony and the Doubleplay Lounge; The FORUM, Bob Jones and Beverly Bank, the Simborg Family, Temulac Boat Club and Windjammers Marina of Chicago, Beverly, Lincoln and Oak Ridge Cemeteries, Korbakis Liquors, T&G's, Iversen's Bakery, Blue Island Video, Carr Gardens, Harry's Long Bar, Gene's Dry Cleaners, A&R Security, Jim and Carol Reihel, American Legion Post #50, Charlene Finn, Bernie Perryman, Ron and Tracy Rickerson, John and Marsha Rauch, Betty Nagle, Nancy Schultz and Raymond Guray. Thank you to my sort crew who not only show up for me, but bring new people each year. Katherine Matthis, Chris Rondinella, Gloria Zaper, Ed and Grace Diaz, Matt Hess, Amber Sullivan, Stephen Gerez, Lisa Woodrich, Bob O'Connor, Ed, Jon and Becki Coyle. A special thank you to Bob, Roseanne and Kevin Moran and friend, Nicole. Every donor and every gift is very much appreciated, not only by the members of An Angel's Touch, but by the recipients of your love as well.

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