Pillar Awards are given for random acts of good will that total up to some amazing accomplishments.
Since the first awards in 2004, the Lisle Community Character Alliance has bestowed 91 Pillars.
Alliance makes character count throughout LisleThe Lisle Community Character Alliance LCCA promotes positive character in Lisle businesses, organizations, schools and community, based on the national Character Counts! program.
Interested volunteers are needed to be part of the alliance. Local businesses and organizations are welcome to send a representative to meetings. Lisle residents are needed in the group.
Meetings are at 10 a.m. the second Tuesday of the month at Lisle village hall, 925 Burlington Ave. If you are looking for a way to become part of this wonderful organization, you are welcome at all monthly meetings. The Lisle Community Character Alliance is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization.
Members of the LCCA began the active and popular Lisle Teens With Character and the annual Scarecrow Scramble 5K walk and run.
The group awards its Pillar honors twice a year and accepts nominations all year. Twice a year the committee meets, following the Oct. 5 and April 5 deadlines, to select honorees.
Each Pillar highlights positive contributions that individuals, groups, businesses and organizations of good character make to the Lisle community. Honorees display one or more of the six Character Counts pillars: trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship.
Anyone may nominate. The only restriction is that the person nominated must live, work, volunteer or attend school in Lisle. The awards were designed to recognize that good character comes in a wide variety of forms and, at its best, enriches the community.
Check the village website, villageoflisle.org, for details when a link to the organization's new website is complete.
Past recipients have included two young Lisle residents who donated their long hair to Locks of Love; a Lisle store owner who turns over her workroom once a month to people sewing pillowcases for ConKerr Cancer; four Lisle teens who returned money they found to its rightful owner; Lisle residents who helped Gulf Coast survivors of Katrina; a Lisle village employee who returned a lost dog; a Lisle dentist who traveled to give free dental care to an impoverished people; a student who started "Pennies for Plumbing" to help a city school have drinking fountains; and a Lisle grandpa who helped organize the Lisle Community Character Alliance.
Tonight at the Lisle village board meeting, seven deserving individuals will step forward to receive their Pillar Award pin and certificate. Each story is a reason to celebrate good character.
Doug Cunningham and Robert McCune
For the countless hours of volunteer service to the Friends of the Lisle Library, Doug Cunningham and Robert McCune each will receive a Pillar Award in the adult category for Citizenship. Each is a consummate volunteer who works all year to organize the biannual Friends Used Book Sales. The sale proceeds sponsor twice-monthly lecture, music or travelogue programming at 2 p.m. on Sundays.
In addition, funds provide library patrons with services and items not in the library's own budget. For example, Friends purchased a piano and has sponsored literacy classes. There are more than 400 members in the group who benefit from first-day sales.
"The biggest benefit to belonging to the Lisle Friends is that you can do well for so many people," Cunningham said.
Cunningham joined the organization roughly 10 years ago and assumed its presidency in 2003. He also serves as the director of book sales and program director. He now is scheduling a tribute to blues legend Robert Johnson in May.
McCune became a Friend of the Library 20 years ago. He is the group's current treasurer.
Approximately 10,000 books are put out at each sale. Used books also have been donated to organizations such as Andrea's Angels, Goodwill, hospital oncology departments and veterans groups.
Sheryl Fasone and the Green Team
Sheryl Fasone and her Green Team at Tate Woods and Schiesher elementary schools will receive the Pillar for Citizenship in the service group category. The team of volunteers began the successful program last year to rethink, reduce, reuse and recycle on "no-waste Wednesdays." Students are encouraged to have a waste-free lunch.
Starting from scratch, Fasone educated herself and her team about recycling and found places to bring items not commonly recycled such as juice pouches, which are reused to make bags and pencil cases. For each of the 4,500 pouches the group collected last year, they earned 2-cents that went into the coffers of the school's Home and School Organization.
Using classroom Green captains, lots of communications, Earth Day activities, surprise weigh-ins and educating tools, the team has accomplished amazing results.
"In our school competition, we found that in just seven days we reduced waste by 135 pounds," Fasone said.
Lisle High School sophomore Adam Grego, 16, will receive the Pillar for Responsibility in the student category for his efforts to lead his football team to follow the National Football League's efforts to support National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Adam asked for and received permission from his coach to have his teammates wear pink socks to reflect the NFL efforts. Getting the permission was probably the easy part. Adam then had to sell his idea to 32 football players. With everyone on board, Adam dyed all the necessary socks pink with his mother's help. Thanks to Adam, the national platform to draw attention to Breast Cancer Month was brought home to Lisle in a distinctive way.
Lanie Hedrick, 9, is the youngest award recipient. The Schiesher Elementary School third-grader will receive the Pillar for Caring in the student category for her efforts to help butterflies grow from eggs to adult Monarchs.
In her research, Lanie found that it takes only three minutes to make a cocoon and three weeks for the butterfly to emerge.
"I found out that a Monarch has only a 1 percent chance of survival out in the wild," she said.
So Lanie set up a butterfly nursery in her home, and carefully nurtured 62 butterflies from egg to adult.
Lisle is a more beautiful place with butterflies because of the hard work of Lanie Hedrick.
It was a collective effort of good deeds that earned the Pillar for Caring in the adult category for Lisle mom Amy Narot.
Narot organized a purple ribbon campaign to support a fifth-grade student undergoing chemotherapy. Each ribbon had a message of hope and inspiration written by a classmate. She also arranged home-cooked meals for a Lisle mother with breast cancer. She coordinated volunteers to plan and plant this mother's summer flower garden.
Narot arranged for a memorial tree planted on school grounds when a local teacher suddenly lost her sister at an early age.
"The joy we receive from helping others inspires you to be involved," Narot said. "Lisle is a small yet great community."
Heather Nitzki, 13, started her good deed with a few postage-sized stamps.
"My mom had some Jewel-Osco Cookware stamps that she was not going to use, and I thought we should give them to someone who needs them more than us," Heather said.
Through her Girl Scout troop, the Lisle Junior High student knew low-income families receive help from the Sharing Connections, a nonprofit organization that began in Lisle. Heather created fliers to distribute to local schools requesting stamps to earn a complete set of pots and pans to give a family in need.
As of last week, Heather was prepared to turn in her first set of 710 stamps for a complete set of pots and pans. Since the program ends in January, Heather hopes to collect enough stamps to earn several sets of cookware. Readers may send stamps they will not use to 4409 Chelsea Ave., Lisle, 60532.
Heather will receive her Pillar Award in the student category for Citizenship.
• Joan Broz writes about Lisle. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.