in collaboration


Regional Rock Stars Continue to Inspire Hope with Acts of Kindness

As the worldwide pandemic continues and new rules and regulations are implemented in the State of Illinois, what remains hopeful is kindness and good people. Throughout west suburban communities, many individuals and organizations are finding ways to provide care and happiness to others. This week, our Regional Rock stars are a veteran helping seniors, a household name helping healthcare workers and municipalities, and a well-known real estate agent helping just about everyone!

Greg Harris, Always Best Care. Greg is a veteran and he marches into work with his N95 mask in homes, assisted living, and memory care facilities to provide one-on-one care for seniors that need extra help. His dedication to helping seniors is humbling. This man also has no fear, he is just appreciative for the work provided. He is a stellar example of a hero. Greg says, “It gives me great satisfaction to be able to provide care and companionship to our clients and I hope that in some small way it brings a little happiness to their lives. I really appreciate the recognition and will continue to do my very best!”

United Parcel Service, Chicago Area Consolidation Hub (CACH) – Hodgkins. With masks and sanitizer still in short supply, UPS workers at the Chicago Area Consolidation Hub (CACH) put together care packages for local fire and police departments. In addition, extra supplies of N95 masks were donated to AMITA Health Adventist Medical Center in LaGrange. Once it was determined CACH employees had all the supplies they needed, management decided to donate extras to other essential workers in the community. In total, CACH gave 2,000 N95 masks to the hospital. UPS also donated more than 20 cases of hand sanitizer and 6,000 surgical masks to the Villages of Hodgkins, Woodridge and Bedford Park police departments and Villa Park, Lemont, Pleasantview and Bedford Park fire departments. Human Resources Operations Manager Garsen Hansen, also a board member of the West Suburban Chamber of Commerce & Industry, believes supporting the local community is important. “Through these difficult times, we were able to gain access to valuable supplies that first responders need,” Garsen said. “We wanted to give supplies to those in the community in which UPS serves because we are all in this together.”

Joan Smothers, Smothers Group with Compass. For 26 years, Joan Smothers – founder of Smothers Realty Group, now Smothers Group with Compass – has been a staple of the La Grange-area landscape both professionally and philanthropically. During COVID-19, Joan reached out to a variety of businesses and organizations with funds, donations and volunteer support, including donating meals to first responders and healthcare workers at AMITA Health Adventist Medical Center in La Grange; providing funds to businesses suffering due to closure; maintaining her sponsorship donation commitment to The LeaderShop when their annual fundraiser was cancelled due to COVID-19 and, through social media, encouraging others to support them as well. She turned the library exchange box outside her office into a temporary food exchange box, putting food and supplies there and encouraging area residents to take what they needed, and give if they could. Joan says, “I was seeing how supportive the residents were with local restaurants that I wanted to help, but it occurred to me that if I gave the restaurants the money and then they took that money and fed the homeless and others, I was able to accomplish two things at once and use that money where it’s needed most. Seeing the food banks inspired me to turn the little library outside into one for food. My husband and I, my brokers, and now our collaboration with Compass has given us so much. It just feels good to help and meet new people and make a difference. I believe that our success demands accountability and participation in both good times and bad. I also believe strongly that, if you do good, it will take you through the challenging times.”

The Regional Rock Stars is a collaborative effort by AMITA Health, Community Memorial Foundation, Hinsdale Chamber of Commerce, West Central Municipal Conference and the West Suburban Chamber of Commerce & Industry. Individuals will be recognized at a community celebration at the end of the year.

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