Eight Barrington-area residents' efforts to enhance the quality of life in their community have been recognized through their induction into the Barrington Area Council on Aging's Hall of Fame.
The inductees, honored during a recognition tea at Lake Barrington Woods, were nominated by local service organizations, churches, health care providers, nonprofits, the arts community and local governments. Nominating organizations are asked to consider the nominees' professional and personal achievements, as well as their impact on the organization, any special accomplishments after turning 60 and any other factors that would highlight their achievements as an older adult.
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This year's honorees are Claudine Athmann, Barrington FISH; Karen Hunter, Citizens for Conservation; Michael Konie, Barrington Township; Nancy Leonard, JourneyCare; Jack Mumaw, Cuba Township; Belle Rossman, Barrington Park District; Jack Schaefer, Village of Barrington; and David Sheppard, Barrington Area Council on Aging.
Claudine Athmann, a member of Barrington FISH since 1984, was described as "selfless" by FISH coordinator Susan Michelson. During her nearly 30 years with the group, Athmann has volunteered as a phone volunteer, as well as a telephone scheduler and a board member.
She also is an active member of the Community Church of Barrington, as a deacon, a book club member and an usher. She has volunteered for many years at Catchpenny in downtown Barrington.
Karen Hunter began volunteering for Citizens for Conservation more than 20 years ago, joining the development committee and working on weekly restoration workdays. She joined the board in 1996 and has served as chair of the Development Committee and as president for three years. In 1997, she established the group's Native Plant and Tree Sale, and has watched it grow to become one of CFC's most popular and successful community events. For more than 13 years, Hunter orchestrated all of the plant sale volunteers, established relationships with local nurseries and promoted the sale.
As chair of the development committee, she helped fund CFC's purchase of 65 open acres to expand Flint Creek Savanna in 2005. The group had never made a land purchase of this size before, and the project required a three-year fundraising campaign.
Michael Konie's special gift is making technology less daunting, whether he's teaching a senior to use a computer for the first time or explaining how a particular program can make work more efficient.
Twelve years ago, Konie started to teach computer classes for St. Anne's LaFarge Program -- an adult education program for people over 55. He estimates more than 300 seniors have sharpened their tech skills through LaFarge.
St. Anne also has benefitted from his construction talents. For 10 years, he managed set construction for the parish's summer youth theater, and today he helps St. Anne students with building projects that are part of their STEM curriculum.
Konie also collects and refurbishes computers for those who need them.
Nancy Leonard began volunteering for JourneyCare in November 2011, and in less than two years has created and co-facilitated a three-part series called "Life Transitions." The series was designed to provide education and support on grief and loss throughout life.
"Nancy is a leader," said Kathleen Recchia, director of Innovative Services at JourneyCare. "She supports her fellow volunteers through training and orientation, and her expertise in grief and counseling makes her a natural fit for this organization. Everyone who encounters Nancy benefits from the interaction and walks away feeling like they matter."
Jack Mumaw has been a Cuba Township trustee for three years. He's been very active as head of the Insurance/Finance Committee, as well as the Arbor Day Tree Sale Program. He also volunteers at the township food pantry.
But the 38-year Navy veteran's great strength is his work for members of the armed services. "Jack is a great speaker and is in demand as a representative for veterans throughout our country," Township Supervisor Dave Nelson said. "He is always giving back. Although he is a great husband, father and grandfather, he always finds time to speak throughout the country to our soldiers and veterans."
You'll generally find Belle Rossman calling the bingo game before lunch if you drop by the Barrington Park District for BACOA's Monday lunch program. Stick around after lunch, and she'll instruct you on the finer points of Quiddler, Scrabble or other games that lunch program attendees play twice a month. If you're new to the program and don't know anyone, Rossman can quickly remedy that.
Not only does she help run the game activities, but she also makes suggestions for trips and helps other attendees get involved.
"She has a great attitude," says one member of the park district staff. "She loves life, she's cheerful and grateful for every day."
Jack Schaefer, as a member of the Barrington Cultural Commission, was the brainchild behind bringing out the red carpet on Oscar day this year when area residents had a chance to see all of the nominated short films at the Catlow Theater. The event, which played to a sold-out house, is just the latest in a long line of accomplishments that Schaefer has undertaken for the Village of Barrington.
Schaefer served on the village's Zoning Board of Appeals from 1980-89 and as a village trustee from 2001-2005, when he chaired the Public Works Committee and focused on improving recycling and water issues.
He also served on the Barrington Area Council of Government's Water Resources Committee and is a longtime member of the Natural History Society and Citizens for Conservation. He's also the new president of the Barrington Area Development Council, which sponsors initiatives and organizations that benefit the area, and is an active member of the cultural commission. David Sheppard
Dave Sheppard has been actively involved with BACOA for nearly two decades. He served on the BACOA board of directors from 1995 to 2004 and has been on the advisory board ever since. He's brought BACOA his expertise from four decades as a wealth management adviser for Merrill Lynch and is a longtime member of the board's Finance Committee and the Endowment Advisory Committee, which was formed when BACOA launched its endowment in 2010.
In addition to his contributions to BACOA, Dave is council president for the Boy Scouts of America-Northwest Suburban Council, which serves 34 communities and is responsible for leading more than 11,000 Scouts and volunteers in the Chicago's Northwest suburbs. And for five consecutive years, he has been recognized by Barron's magazine as one of "America's Top 1,000 Advisors" list.
"Dave has helped us stabilize and grow our financial position," BACOA Executive Director Joyce Palmquist said. "He leveraged support from Merrill Lynch to sponsor fundraising events and helped us craft our strategy when we kicked off our 25th Anniversary Endowment Campaign. Since then, he has provided expert guidance regarding the management of the fund. He is a quiet, thoughtful leader."
Since its inception in 1996, the Hall of Fame has honored 240 individuals from 68 organizations.