Merci, mealo, eso, tack and gracias are small words to say thank you from around the world. But no matter how it is spoken, each little word expresses appreciation.
The Pillar Award also is a way to say thank you for an exemplary good deed.
On Monday, Dec. 3, at the Lisle Village Board meeting, five individuals and one business will have their names added to a list of 117 previous winners.
Here is a look at this year's honorees:
Sierra Birdsell and Ryan Wood
Lisle teens Sierra Birdsell, 16, and Ryan Wood, 16, are both Lisle High School juniors. Last Spring, while walking home from school along Route 53, the pair heard a thump on the road and saw an iPad bounce along the pavement.
When traffic cleared the pair safely secured the device. Unable to find its owner, the teens did find a photo of a basketball team on the iPad's cover screen. Online, the resourceful teens found information on the team and emailed its coach.
Birdsell found that the tablet belonged to the coach, who was grateful for its return.
"It think it must have been left on the top of his car and flew off when he was driving," Birdsell said.
For their good deed, Birdsell and Wood will receive the Pillar of Trustworthiness.
Emma and Grace Arndt
Another pair of Lisle students will receive the Pillar of Responsibility in the Youth category for their efforts to raise money to benefit the Children's Memorial Hospital in Fort Myers, Florida.
On vacation visiting their grandmother, Emma Arndt, 10, and her sister Grace Arndt, 9, decided to sell lemonade near a golf course that was holding a tournament. The girls wanted their efforts to help someone "like them get better."
At 25 cents a glass, the St. Joan of Arc fifth- and third-graders worked almost four hours. Using fresh-squeezed lemons and ice must have been a winning combination in the warm Florida sun because the girls raised $110.
Emma said she and her sister feel good having helped other children and hope to do it again.
Helping other children feel good is the same reason Calvin Moses, 10, gives for growing his hair long enough to donate 12-inches to Locks of Love.
The fifth-grader at Schiesher School wanted his blond hair with a natural wave to go to a child who lost their own hair through illness. He selected the nonprofit organization because it uses natural hair to make wigs for sick children and other family members have donated their hair to the same group.
It takes a number of years to grow hair to such great lengths, but Calvin knows the positive benefits of making a difference and is on his way to repeating his kind deed.
Calvin will receive the Pillar of Caring in the Youth category.
Chuck Goff, Blake Lamb Funeral Home
Blake Lamb Funeral Home director Chuck Goff is in the business of helping families. Last year, he was able to help the Carney family and caregiver Tina Klocko at a difficult time.
Because George Carney was critically ill when his wife, Anne, passed away, Goff put all things on hold until Carney was well enough to attend his beloved wife's wake and funeral. Even though the time lapse was two and a half months, the family was able to have their preference for an open-casket viewing.
"I felt so good that our staff was able to make this possible for the family," Goff said.
Goff was surprised and pleased to hear he and Blake Lamb Funeral Home were the recipient of the Pillar Award for both Respect and Caring.
Lisle Community Character Alliance
Honorees of Pillar Awards are nominated by any other individual. Pillar Awards are given to deserving Lisle residents, groups, businesses or people who may work or volunteer within Lisle. Details are available at the Lisle Convention and Visitors Bureau or by contacting Lisle Community Character Alliance President Autumn Geist at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you would like to be part of the Pillar Award selection committee next year, the alliance is looking to add new members. Residents, educators, business owners, civic officials, church members, parents, seniors and business associates are encouraged to contribute their insights as the nonprofit organization makes positive impacts on the community.
Six values form the framework for the national Character Counts program: Respect, Responsibility, Trustworthiness, Fairness, Caring and Citizenship. The local group meets at 10 a.m. the second Tuesday of the month in the Lisle Village Hall, 925 Burlington Ave. All are welcomed.
New is the alliance's Pillar Athlete Program under the direction of Lisle residents Nicole Webb, Lisle Athletic Booster president, and alliance member Stephanie Trussell.
"We combined efforts of LCCA with the Lisle Boosters to start this program because we found a need for students who are busy in sports, school, jobs and family obligations to still get involved in their community," Webb said. "The purpose of Pillar Athletes is to link junior high and high school student athletes to done-in-a-day service projects in our area."
The fledgling group invites all teens regardless of her or his athlete status to sign up.
"The volunteer only needs to sign up and show up to do their part," Webb said.
Contact Pillar Athletes through the alliance and become a positive part of making Lisle a community of good character.
• Joan Broz writes about Lisle. Her columns appear regularly in Neighbor.