Hoffman Estates couple gets sheriff's medal of honor

Published7/25/2008 12:11 AM

Tireless volunteers Ed and Mary Hennessy copped the top cop's top award at a ceremony highlighting those dedicated to public service.

The Hennessys recently joined nearly 1,500 other Chicago and suburban volunteers in the Grand Army of the Republic Hall in the Chicago Cultural Center to personally accept the "Sheriff's Senior Medal of Honor" from Cook County Sheriff Thomas Dart. The venue is the former Chicago Public Library.


Hoffman Estates Mayor Bill McLeod, who nominated the couple and accompanied his candidates, called the medal of honor a fitting tribute to them and said when the village hall renovation project is completed, one of three meeting rooms will be named the Ed and Mary Hennessy Room.

"Ed and Mary served the people of Hoffman Estates tirelessly for decades," the mayor said. "This is a way to recognize them for their extraordinary services and dedication to our community."

The couple has lived in the village for 51 years. They are the grandparents of four and parents of Mark, Michael, Kevin and Debra Patel.

Ed Hennessey, who retired 14 years ago as a mechanical engineer for Motorola, is an eight-year member of the Fire and Police Commission and formerly served on the plan commission. In earlier years he was a village trustee for a full term and completed the remaining year of another trustee. In the past he was the Schaumburg Township Highway Commissioner for 12 years and was a longtime precinct captain for Roost, the now defunct Republican Organization of Schaumburg Township.

Mary Hennessy received the medal of honor once before from the late Mayor Michael O'Malley.

Involved with senior citizens since before she herself joined them, Mary Hennessy follows in the footsteps of her mother the late Rose Sullivan who had a special devotion to the aged.

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"My love of seniors comes naturally because of my mother's example," Hennessey said. "My mother would fill my wagon with food for the less fortunate and I would deliver it to their homes. Once we found two poor women lying on a bed without sheets so my mom went through the linens and sent them sheets and blankets."

Mary Hennessy, a friendly person who always has a kind word to spare, once dispatched buses and scheduled rides for seniors when she worked for Schaumburg Township. She progressed to work nearly nine years in the senior center of the Schaumburg Park District as director of the S and H Golden Group. There she planned tours, trips and outings for the seniors, "before I was one."

She moved to the Hoffman Estates Park District as director of the senior center and retired in 1998. Now she devotes time on the Hoffman Estates Commission for Seniors and continues her involvement with the Young at Heart, a seniors' group at St. Hubert Catholic Church. She serves there as a minister of care taking the Eucharist to the homebound, especially those at Friendship Village.

Some past recipients of the medal of honor are Herb Kronberg, Sharon Kimble, Ed and Janice Cook, Jean-Marc and Thelma Bartsch and myself.

The mayor, who considers the ceremony "a joyful event" to attend, says he personally drives the recipients to the cultural center so as to spend time with them and share in their joy.

"These are the people who have made the village what it is today," McLeod said.

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