It's not often that a community bestows a humanitarian award on someone well short of voting age, but that's just what the village of Hanover Park did this year at its annual Awards Night.
Mariah Reeves, 12, was recognized Jan. 27 for helping 3-year-old Nathan Saavedra, a Carpentersville boy who suffers from prune belly syndrome. His family of five lives on $600 a month, and he needs a second kidney transplant.
As part of a project for her upcoming bat mitzvah, Mariah donated a portion of the cash gifts to the Saavedras and publicized Nathan's kidney campaign. She started a Christmas gift card campaign and helped raise nearly $2,500 in gift cards and checks for the family.
Village President Rodney Craig, Clerk Eira Corral and Village Manager Ron Moser presented several other awards to volunteers and community members.
The first Michael H. Coleman Youth of the Year award, named after a young Hanover Park resident who died in December, judges youths on heroism, community service, service to school, personal achievement and family commitment.
Winner Bria Hailey received a $1,000 scholarship, while $500 scholarships went to runners-up Clara Kiesel, Bryana Lentino, Anja Vuckovic and Joseph Welcome.
Gary Ofisher, director of operations at Keeneyville School District 20, was presented with the Service to Youth Award.
Hanover Highlands School Principal David Negron was named Educator of the Year. The Mayor's Choice Business Award went to Walgreens, 7350 Barrington Road. Cindy Dittmer, founder of Back-Pack Buddies, was named Citizen of the Year. First Eagle Bank won the village's Environmental Excellence Award.