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posted: 11/16/2012 3:39 PM

Heart of Buffalo Grove award winners announced

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  • Members of Cub Scout Pack No. 36 pose with Avi Samuels, middle. The Scouts and Avi were co-winners of the Youth Volunteer award.

      Members of Cub Scout Pack No. 36 pose with Avi Samuels, middle. The Scouts and Avi were co-winners of the Youth Volunteer award.
    Photo by Mike Molloy

  • Andy Stein, Pack 36 cub master

      Andy Stein, Pack 36 cub master
    Photo by Mike Molloy

  • Buffalo Grove Park District Senior Advisory Council Board

      Buffalo Grove Park District Senior Advisory Council Board
    Photo by Mike Molloy

  • Jerod Loeb, Above & Beyond award

      Jerod Loeb, Above & Beyond award
    Photo by Mike Molloy

  • Some of the members of the BG Singers, which won the Together We Can award, pose for a photo at the awards ceremony.

      Some of the members of the BG Singers, which won the Together We Can award, pose for a photo at the awards ceremony.
    Photo by Mike Molloy

  • Drew Olbur, Business Philanthropy award

      Drew Olbur, Business Philanthropy award
    Photo by Mike Molloy

  • Susan Snell, Teach & Inspire award

      Susan Snell, Teach & Inspire award
    Photo by Mike Molloy

  • Jan Obrand, Community Volunteer award

      Jan Obrand, Community Volunteer award
    Photo by Mike Molloy

Submitted by Buffalo Grove Area Chamber of Commerce

The 2012 Heart of Buffalo Grove Award recipients were announced at a banquet Nov. 1 at the Arboretum Club.

Awards were presented in seven categories by the Buffalo Grove Area Chamber of Commerce and co-sponsor Buffalo Grove Bank & Trust. More than 200 village officials, residents and chamber members attended. The Business Philanthropy and Youth Volunteer categories each had two winners.

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Here's a closer look at who won:

Youth Volunteer

Cub Scout Pack No. 36 and Avi Samuels: Cub Scout Pack No. 36 meets at Meridian Middle School and has 50 member scouts ranging in age from 6 to 11 years old. Over the past three years, they have participated in the Boy Scout Food Drive collecting over two tons of food that were donated to the Vernon Township Food Pantry. The pack was also instrumental in getting the Boy Scouts of America to change how distribution of food is handled so that all food now stays within the local community. The pack has assisted Dominick's in raising money for breast cancer and prostate cancer research by selling root beer floats. The Lake-Cook Dominick's was the top prostate cancer fundraising store this past year due to the pack's efforts. Other projects include selling soda at the Buffalo Grove Farmer's Market with proceeds benefiting the Vernon Area Food Pantry, beautification of Raupp Memorial Museum and Green Lake Park, making blankets for Project Linus, collecting toiletries for a local women's shelter, assisting with the Feed the Starving Children program, providing Thanksgiving baskets for six needy families and sending cards to our troops serving overseas. Buffalo Grove resident Andy Stein is the current cub master.

Avi Samuels is a regular visitor at The Claremont Rehab & Living Center through a project at his synagogue called Lifting the Human Spirit by Visiting the Sick (). He helps residents and patients understand what to expect going through certain procedures that he has already experienced. In 2008, Avi was the recipient of the Arrow of Light, the highest honor awarded to a Cub Scout. Avi is a student at Stevenson High School and resides in Buffalo Grove with his parents, Judy and Phillip Samuels.

Above & Beyond

Jerod Loeb: Jerod Loeb is a commissioner for the Fire & Police Commission. He has been a volunteer for the Buffalo Grove Fire Department since 1998, was a graduate of the Buffalo Grove Citizens Fire Academy (inaugural class), assisted with the MDA Boot Drive for the fire department and is a founding member of the Buffalo Grove CERT team. Jerod also volunteers with the Sea-Blue Prostate Cancer Foundation, the World Health Organization as a patient safety expert, the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer and several federal agencies as an expert on patient safety and health care quality.

Together We Can

BG Singers: The BG Singers is a program of the Buffalo Grove Park District. The 75-plus-member chorus celebrated its 20th anniversary and has been "The Choir that Cares" since its inception. Projects/donations have included -- The Barry Manilow Project which provides instruments to inner city kids (more than $2,000 and used instruments), Rotary Club Guatemala school project (donations and instruments), purchased an AED for a park, adopted a family at the holidays providing presents and necessities worth more than $2,000), cleaned Buffalo Grove Streets, plus made special donations to schools in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, American Cancer Society, Northwest Community Hospital Children's Floor, WINGS, college scholarships, and aid to needy families for park district programs. In 2011, Encore! the traveling chorus won the National Sing! Contest and $20,000 that was given to the Laurie S. Bauer Foundation for Sudden Loss which helps children cope with loss. Buffalo Grove resident Linda Rosen is the director.

Business Philanthropy

Peter Panayiotou, Continental Restaurant, and Drew Olbur, Wiener Take All: Drew Olbur and his restaurant have been a fixture in the Creekside Commons Shopping Center in Buffalo Grove for nearly 25 years. Drew has been a constant supporter of the community by donating foods to various local organizations, raising money for numerous charitable organizations, sponsoring area youth sports teams (14 to date) and providing lunch for children who were in need. He says "Community is everything!"

Peter Panayiotou supports a variety of charities and community and religious organizations by donating back 10 percent of food sales when a member eats there. He has hosted fundraisers for various causes, held an all-star Academy Awards dinner and prepares Rosh Hashana and Passover meals at the restaurant so that families can enjoy the holidays without needing to prepare the food at home.

Teach & Inspire

Susan Snell, Saint Mary School: Susan Snell currently teaches the pre-K 4-year-olds at Saint Mary School in Buffalo Grove where she had previously taught kindergarten. She inspires her students to grow, wonder, discover and succeed on a daily basis. Her students start the year as timid or shy and leave as confident learners, ready to face the challenges and opportunities of their world. Susan connects with the parents to encourage them to help their child make the most of each learning experience. She has been inspiring students and fellow educators at Saint Mary School for 23 years.

Community Volunteer

Jan Obrand: Jan Obrand exemplifies the spirit of volunteerism every day. Her company, In Working Order, assists seniors and their families. Jan is member of the Buffalo Grove Area Chamber of Commerce and serves as board secretary. She has served as an ambassador, speaker chair, developed a women's network, heads the Community Outreach Committee which is responsible for chamber philanthropic involvement, volunteers at many of the chamber events and coordinates the chamber's food drive. Outside the chamber, Jan has assisted the local food pantries including helping them secure grants and sits on several women's and health care industry boards. Two years ago, she started the Community Home Team, a network of home service professionals who do community service projects including work at Lambs Farm, Maryville Academy, the Wheeling Post Office and the Adopt-a-Highway Program.

Senior Volunteer

Buffalo Grove Park District Senior Advisory Council Board: The Senior Advisory Council Board is comprised of President Betty Schneider, Vice-President Harry Shaw, Secretary Syd Mitchel plus Toby Bresler, Fran Eagan, Rhonda Moore, Mary Ann Pisano, Carl Shulien and Rose Wilkosz. The Senior Advisory Council Board, along with the park district administration, assists in the planning and volunteering for many senior-related programs including -- the Senior Citizen Expo, the Veterans Day Celebration, parties, lectures, day trips, weekly programs, Bingo and other programs to enhance the lives of the seniors of Buffalo Grove.

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