The Arlington Heights Special Events Commission will honor the winners of the 2013 Hearts of Gold awards with a community celebration at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 9 at European Crystal Banquet & Conference Center, 519 W. Algonquin Road, Arlington Heights.
This awards program recognizes individuals who work or live in our community and enrich the quality of life in Arlington Heights through their generous contributions and acts of kindness. One of the goals of this program is to acknowledge individuals who typically do not receive communitywide recognition for their outstanding efforts.
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Introducing the 2013 Hearts of Gold winners:
Mentor Award, The Rev. William Zavaski
As pastor of St. James, the Rev. Bill Zavaski has been guiding a diverse and large parish of 4,500 families. With his encouragement, the parish took on a $12 million addition to St. James School, and when requested by the cardinal to move to another parish, Father Bill asked to stay at St. James until the debt was paid.
During his 13-year tenure, he started and mentored 100 ministries; welcomed new faces and encouraged new ideas, and urged parishioners to reach out to others in the community and make a positive difference.
Through his dedicated work he has been an integral part of sharing the lives of thousands. His pay-it-forward mentoring has improved the quality of life in Arlington Heights.
Best Neighbor Award, Don Green
Don Green is a steadfast model of help and compassion to the Kaspar Avenue neighborhood. Whenever a need arises, his neighbors can count on him to help out.
He's the type of neighbor who will assist those who are unable to physically keep up with snow removal or mowing. He consistently helps one elderly neighbor by taking care of yard work, collecting mail, fixing appliances -- and this is the type of kindness he extends to everyone in his neighborhood.
He's fondly known as "Grampa Don" by the children in the area, and neighbors are welcome anytime to join him for good "hometown" conversation, drinks and snacks.
Don's acts of kindness are indicative of the kind of person he is and make him worthy of receiving a Heart of Gold award.
Educator Award, Lyn M. Scolaro
Linda (Lyn) Scolaro, the Prospect High School Italian teacher, was nominated by two students who expressed their admiration for this mentor whose passion for the Italian language and for the development of students transcends the norm.
In 1991, Lyn began teaching at Prospect, and also volunteered to help student organizations beyond the traditional school day. While at Prospect, she has been a member or chairwoman of 13 academic activities, 20 co-curricular and six district activities.
Lyn's commitment to the students of Prospect High School prompted her to create new challenges and recognitions for those who embrace the study of Italian. She quintupled the number of students taking Italian classes, established a local Chapter of the Italian National Honor Society, developed the first Italian AP course in the state of Illinois and created an annual dinner including South Middle School and St. James students to showcase their achievements.
Lyn has also hosted more than 20 student trips to Italy (on her own time) and established an exchange programs with students in Verona.
Young at Heart Award, Carl Laub
For more than 40 years Carl has been involved in Scouting -- Scoutmaster of Troop 32, Committee Member Troop 32, Northwood's Suburban Council Executive Committee Member, Merit Badge Counselor and OKPIK staff member (cold-weather camping courses).
He's over 80, but Carl's can-do spirit keeps him energized in his work with the Boy Scouts. He is always willing to help, to lead and to mentor the hundreds of children he has met through this program. He has been a great influence in shaping Scouts to be great leaders.
Carl always brings new ideas to the table. Several years ago, for the 100-year anniversary of Scouting, he organized "Scouting on Track" held at Arlington International Racecourse, which attracted 900 Scouts.
Under Carl's tutelage, young men of all ages have received valuable training and support to become future leaders. He is a tireless volunteer who has inspired many to do their best at whatever comes their way.
Heroic Award, Rick Abbott
Heroes are ordinary people who make themselves extraordinary -- not for glory but solely because one is compelled to aid another.
In a critical instant on an otherwise routine bike ride, Rick Abbott took emergency action to help save the life of a longtime friend.
Rick has spent the last 40 years serving the community. For 34 years, he was an art and photography teacher in District 214, helping students develop their appreciation for the arts and express their creativity.
After he retired in 2004, Rick began driving a bus for District 57 and it was here he received the CPR training that would eventually change a life.
While out on a bike ride, Rick's good friend began to feel uneasy and distressed. After his friend collapsed to the ground, Rick utilized his training and performed CPR to save his friend.
Although a positive outcome looked extremely bleak, Rick's efforts led to the survival of his friend.
Young Champion Award, Emma Hogaboom
Emma Hogaboom, a junior at St. Viator High School, has set an example that her generation can be most proud of. Born and raised in Arlington Heights, Emma was brought up to value the meaning of good will and charity.
With her family, Emma has helped prepare meals for the homeless every Thanksgiving since she was a young child. She also became active in the youth ministry at her church and participated in a mission to St. Malachy Church in Chicago. Emma also donates her time to pack bags of food for starving children, helping out at school dances for special needs students, or teaching kids how to overcome social injustices.
Emma has volunteered to lead four-day youth ministries in North Carolina (held last year) and in Michigan this upcoming summer. Her leadership on the youth ministry trips exemplifies her passion to help others less fortunate and showcases her kindheartedness.
Her compassionate work as a teen provides her a strong foundation as she begins her adult life and pursues her ambition to pursue a career in physical therapy.
Volunteer Award, Ron and Diane Crawford
After successful careers, Ron and Diane jumped full-bore into retirement volunteerism. Many organizations have benefited from the pair's efforts.
Ron has coached soccer, both house and travel teams, and served on the Arlington Heights Soccer Board.
Together they have volunteered at Thanksgiving pantries, provided Christmas presents to needy children, helped with the immunization clinic at village hall and taken trips to Guatemala, many at their own expense, to assist with providing academic opportunities to the Mayan children at the Ak'Tenamit school.
One of their favorite ways to give back is through volunteering in the Marriage Preparation Ministry at St. James. They have spent 10 years in the Pre-Cana classes and are still enthusiastic about the program. While they don't consider themselves counselors, they do provide advice and suggestions about how to deal with all aspects of married life: family living, communication, finances, etc.
Ron and Diane have contributed significantly, not only in Arlington Heights but throughout the region and the world. They do indeed represent the spirit of the Volunteer Heart of Gold award.
Community Spirit Award, Lauree Harp
After moving to Arlington Heights with her husband and two daughters, Lauree started to volunteer. Her husband, Jim, encouraged her to "get involved with the community" … and she did.
She started by joining the PTA at Olive School, then helping to organize The Hickory Nuts in her neighborhood, assisting with local political campaigns, volunteering at Frontier Days and becoming the co-chairwoman in 1986. She also served on the Special Events Commission and once served as chairman, assisting in the creation of Autumn Harvest.
Even after returning to work full time once her children were grown, she served on the original Metropolis Board, continues to serve on the Community Advisory Council for Village Bank and Trust and has just completed 2½ years as the chair of the Arlington Heights Quasquicentennial Committee (125th Anniversary).
Lauree's energetic spirit and love of community are the backbone of the successful activities she is involved with in our village.
Business Leader Award, Elite Athletic Development/CrossFit
In 2006, Elite Athletic Development/CrossFit Arlington Heights opened its doors.
Owner Jim Inman, who lives in Arlington Heights, always envisioned having a business with a strong connection to the community.
EAD/CFAH has created a supportive environment for individuals of all ages and skills. Together with his staff, Jim maintains a safe community where clients develop personal goals to reach fitness levels that improved their quality of life. Today's clientele includes teens to grandmothers, average fitness adults and elite athletes.
An active volunteer, Jim served as co-founder and race director for the Arlington Classic Criterion, an event that drew professional bicyclists to town. He was race director for the Northwest Community Health Foundation's half marathon and offered guidance to Salute Inc.'s 5K/10K Tactical Challenge. Significant funds were raised.
That's not all. He and his committed staff participate in reading programs at District 25 and started a running club at Greenbrier School. Their Fun Run concept ultimately moved to other schools. Career events in districts 25 and 214 also allowed Jim to share his experiences as a small-business owner.
Jim and staff would like to see Arlington Heights, the "City of Good Neighbors" also become the "City of Fit Neighbors."
Pam Stocking Award, Helen Jensen
As a nurse with the village of Arlington Heights for 24 years, Helen Jensen organized flu and immunization clinics, health screenings for blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes, vision and hearing screenings at schools and when necessary she provided nursing services for residents in their homes.
Many of the programs she started are still under way today. Helen's work put a spotlight on the importance of health awareness. She was instrumental in educating residents about the tremendous value in early detection of hypertension, diabetes and cholesterol.
What resonates the most with those who know Helen is her compassion for residents requiring home health services because they are too frail to leave their homes or are recuperating from a major illness. The skilled support she provided, as well as her wonderful sense of humor, helped many people cope.
In the early 1980s, Helen's care for residents brought her to the home of a local family grieving the death of loved ones. Her insights and astute awareness were instrumental in helping authorities investigate the tampering of Tylenol pill bottles.
Even after retirement, Helen went on to serve the public as a village trustee for 10 years until resigning in 2009. Her role as an elected official is another example of her desire to help all who come under her care.