Winners of the 20th Arlington Heights Hearts of Gold awards announced this week include longtime volunteers, veterans and fundraisers who have made significant contributions to the community, organizers said.

The village's special events commission gives out the awards annually to those who live and work in Arlington Heights. Individuals and groups begin making nominations in September, and the chosen winners are honored at a banquet, scheduled this year for Saturday, Feb. 17, at the Rolling Green Country Club.

Here's a brief look at this year's honorees:

• Mentor Heart of Gold -- Matthew Hahn, a deacon at St. James Parish and substitute teacher for Arlington Heights Elementary District 25.

• Best Neighbor Heart of Gold -- Chris Guth, Wheeling Township's assistant director of senior and disability services.

• Educator Heart of Gold -- John Novak, assistant principal for student activities at John Hersey High School.

• Young at Heart Heart of Gold -- Joan Drolet, a pianist who has given lessons to 550 students in her home since 1959, and assists families with planning and playing music for funerals.

• Heroic Heart of Gold -- Robert Extrom, a veteran who became one of "The Chosin Few" as part of the 1st Marine Division to fight at the Battle of Chosin Reservoir during the Korean War.

• Young Champion Heart of Gold -- Elizabeth Ferrazza, who helped raise more than $7,000 for a dozen no-kill animal shelters.

• Volunteer Heart of Gold -- Mary McArthur, a hospice caretaker who has helped those in Arlington Heights and their families navigate the end of life journey.

• Community Spirit Heart of Gold -- Billy Anderson, who for the last 20 years has been the "hardest working" volunteer member of the Rolling Meadows High School custodial team.

• Business Leadership Heart of Gold -- Napleton's Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram.

• Kenneth M. Bonder Beautification Heart of Gold -- Kathy Wolan, a member of the Arlington Heights Garden Club since 2002.

• Pam Stocking Heart of Gold -- Deb Whisler, the recently retired director of communications and marketing at the Arlington Heights Memorial Library.

For a more extensive description of each winner and their contributions to Arlington Heights, look for the Neighbor section of the Daily Herald on Thursday, Feb. 15. For more information on the upcoming awards dinner, including how to get tickets, visit