Five Lake County courts employees were honored during the 19th Judicial Circuit's annual awards ceremony hosted by Chief Judge John Phillips and Circuit Judge Margaret Mullen.
The 19th Judicial Circuit holds its employee awards ceremony to recognize staff members who are nominated and selected by their peers. The event was held Feb. 6 in a jury assembly room in the main courthouse in Waukegan and via video simulcast at the Hulse Detention Center near Vernon Hills.
The honorees were:
• Environmental Sustainability Award: Tracy Sompolski, principal probation officer at adult probation. The award is presented to an employee or organization for their dedication to green practices in the workplace and in the community that promotes recycling, waste reduction and energy conservation. Tracy and others have nurtured the fruit and vegetable garden and incorporated the produce into meals at the Hulse Detention Center for many years.
• The Kay S. Finn and Sarah G. Anderson Exceptional Employee Award: Gina Zastany, administrative assistant to the director of juvenile probation. The award is given to a non-sworn administrative employee who demonstrates noteworthy support of the circuit's mission.
• Lawrence Bonds Officer of the Year Award: Jeffrey R. Martin, principal probation officer in the intensive probation services (IPS) unit at adult probation. This award is given to a sworn officer who supports and promotes the values and goals of the organization in terms of dedication, ethics, and delivery of service.
• Leadership and Excellence Award: Susan G. Korpai of juvenile probation. The award is presented to a judicial staff employee who excels in the areas of commitment to the organization's values and ethics as well as leadership and innovation.
• Employee of the Year: Deborah Cohen-Rojas, official court reporter. The successful contender is selected from the 12 employees who were recognized as an employee of the month.
"She is being honored for the tremendous amount of work she did on the Veterans History Project, which involves the recording of oral histories of men and women who served in the Armed Forces," Phillips said in presenting the award.
"The prepared transcripts of the interviews are then sent to the Library of Congress for preservation so others have access to personal accounts of American war veterans. Deborah volunteered to coordinate the recruitment and training of the several court reporters from around the state who were needed to assist with the taking of these histories on Veterans Day, November 11, 2014.
"This took considerable time and effort over and above Deborah's daily duties in serving as an Official Court Reporter for the Court. Deborah is also known for her commitment, dedication and excellent service to the organization."