Launched earlier last month, the Regional Rock Stars is an initiative that tells the stories of neighbors, colleagues, co-workers and friends who are making a difference with acts of kindness, hope and gratitude during the COVID-19 pandemic. With the extension of the stay-at-home rule in Illinois, these stories are more important than even just two weeks ago. We’re proud and humbled to announce the first three Regional Rock Stars today and will share stories as we receive them.
“During this unprecedented time, we have experienced extraordinary acts of kindness, courage and service in our region,” said Greg DiDomenico, President & CEO of Community Memorial Foundation (CMF). “Together with our partners, CMF is thrilled to recognize the neighbors and leaders who inspire us to be our best selves – congratulations to the Regional Rock Stars!”
Julianne Rizzo, RN, with Oasis Senior Advisors, is a rock star on many levels. She volunteers to be a bedside nurse, provides lunches to front line healthcare workers, organized “Cards for Seniors” then delivered 1,400 cards to older adults unable to see family and also grocery shops and drives older adults as needed. Julianne responded to the Rock Star recognition by saying, “I was feeling helpless and I just want to be part of the solution! I took an oath 30 years ago, ‘May my life be devoted to service and to the high ideals of the nursing profession.’ These words are my mantra. This pandemic does not discriminate and all walks of life are at risk. It is all of our responsibility to help others, care for those less fortunate and really be neighbors.”
The Hinsdale Junior Woman’s Club (HJWC) donated a grant of $19,100 to purchase three handled echo-cardiology machines and one portable patient monitor to Hinsdale Hospital. The HJWS comprises hundreds of generous, dedicated, diligent area women who are always asking, “How can we help?” Over the last five years, HJWC has raised over one million dollars for deserving organizations in addition to thousands of hours Club members have volunteered for area organizations in need. When Hinsdale Hospital reached out for HJWC’s help in relation to COVID-19 needs, they shared a wish list of various medical items that were desperately needed. And HJWC responded in order to support local medical professionals and patients who are fighting COVID-19 around the clock day in and day out.
Hillary Renderman and Ben Welch launched and continue to manage the Facebook group aptly called “La Grange Area Restaurant Take-Out & Delivery” which now has almost 4,400 members. Renderman says, “As soon as I saw we were going to need to stay inside, I immediately thought of all the small businesses that I love in La Grange that would be at risk. I started posting on my personal page, then Ben ran with the idea of having people order by last name on specific nights to spread the demand. This is advertising for free and they can focus on what they do best.” Welch echoes that, “We live here because we love our local community and the people we know who work so hard to keep the businesses going. We just felt we had to do something more than be cheerleaders of friends; the site was a way to bring people together and let local businesses know we support them. Our message is we will not only get through this, but we can come out even stronger if we do it together.”
The Regional Rock Stars is a collaborative effort by AMITA Health, Community Memorial Foundation, the Hinsdale Chamber of Commerce, West Central Municipal Conference and the West Suburban Chamber of Commerce & Industry. We invite you to share more stories of the individuals who are making a difference in our community so that we can recognize them and be inspired by the ways they are bringing the entire region together. Use this simple form to let us know who you know and who deserves to be recognized.
Individuals will be recognized at a community celebration at the end of the year.
AMITA Health (www.AMITAhealth.org) is a joint operating company formed by AdventHealth in Altamonte Springs, Fla., and St. Louis-based Ascension. AMITA Health is the largest health system in Illinois, comprising 19 hospitals and more than 230 sites of care. The health system has 900 providers in its medical groups, more than 26,000 associates and 7,000 physician partners and serves over 6.6 million residents in the greater Chicagoland area.
Community Memorial Foundation (CMF) is a private health conversion foundation established in 1995. The Foundation’s grantmaking and community work are guided by its mission – to measurably improve the health of those who live and work in the western suburbs of Chicago. Throughout 25 years of regional investment, CMF has awarded more than $77 million dollars to nonprofit organizations in the western suburbs of Cook County and southeastern portion of DuPage County. cmfdn.org
Hinsdale Chamber of Commerce has been in operation for more than 90 years by representing the voice of businesses in Hinsdale and beyond and has created a legacy in serving the entire community by Connecting Business through Community-Leadership-Opportunity-Involvement.
The West Central Municipal Conference serves as the Council of Government representing 52 local governments in west suburban Cook and eastern DuPage Counties. Within our mission statement, we seek to serve our members by fostering municipal cooperation and communication; developing solutions on matters of mutual concern; advocating common interests at the county, state, and federal levels of government; and offering training, technical assistance and resource information that contribute to the efficient management of local government. westcook.org
The West Suburban Chamber of Commerce & Industry is the collective voice of the region’s business community, advocating pro-business initiatives and public policy on a state and local level. Economic prosperity is driven by promoting the thriving business climate, geographical preference and demographic diversity of the region. We leverage the strength of our membership by encouraging innovation and the exchange of ideas, information and opportunity for the benefit of the entire community. Wscci.org