One doesn't usually associate the word "festive" with governmental decor.
But that is the word people use to describe the circuit court clerk's office at the courthouse in Rolling Meadows, which for the last month or so, has resembled Santa's workshop thanks to the efforts of staffer Bob Schultz, who each year brings a bit of cheer to a place where cheer is typically in short supply.
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A clerk's office employee for more than 14 years, Schultz transferred to Rolling Meadows from the Maywood courthouse six years ago. He inadvertently introduced its annual holiday transformation several years ago when he hung up around the office red stockings with the names of some co-workers.
Over time, he added more, along with some small Christmas trees and other decorations from his personal collection.
Some colleagues donated lights, wreaths and wrapping paper, enabling Schultz to decorate the office from floor to ceiling. Literally.
Brightly colored wrapping paper covers support and several outer walls. A Christmas tree with a fiber optic star atop it stands in the middle of the room, and near each employee's desk hangs a Christmas stocking. Tiny lights and giant snowflakes add a touch of whimsy.
"Most of the customers enjoy it. That's why I did it," Schultz said.
The man who decorates every room in his house and once left his Christmas tree up until Feb. 24, says more than his favorite holiday inspires him.
This year marks the first year the Rolling Meadows resident introduced patriotic decorations including several American flags and a sign that reads: "Support Our Troops." He did so in honor of a friend whose son is stationed in Afghanistan and several co-workers who have family members serving in the military.
That prompted co-workers to include Operation Gratitude, an organization that sends care packages to military personnel, among the charities to which they donate annually. The other is the Women in Need Growing Stronger (WINGS), an organization that assists domestic violence victims.
Planning for the transformation began after Halloween. Installation began after Thanksgiving. Schultz's mandate: Have everything done by the office holiday party
"He wanted to do something nice for office morale," said Hetal Patel, chief deputy clerk, who says most employees like the display.
Schultz admits having the decorations up around the office make him feel good as well. But what really motivates him is the enjoyment his handiwork brings.
"Bob does everything out of the goodness of his heart," said Patel. "He just wants to spread the joy."