The Regional Rock Stars are those people in the west suburban region, community members, neighbors and friends who are creatively making change happen. Through small (sometimes large) acts of kindness and a little bit of thought and selflessness, these individuals ignite hope and are helping to spread gratitude during the COVID-19 pandemic. Each week, we will share these stories online and to the general public.
“As our communities continue to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been extraordinary examples of kindness, courage and service all across our region,” said Mike Murrill, FACHE, President and CEO of AMITA Health Hinsdale and La Grange. “Working together with our partners, AMITA Health is so proud of all the amazing stories being shared, and thrilled to recognize those that remind us – We are in this TOGETHER! Congratulations to the Regional Rock Stars!”
Bradley Hides, Bradley Hides Music. Brad is a musician who normally plays weekly gigs at local bars and breweries. Since Covid-19 closures, he live-streams his gigs on Facebook and collects tips. He then selects a bar/restaurant or brewery that he donates 100% of the tips to their GoFundMe page. “I’m just trying to do whatever I can to help out people that are struggling and out of work right now,” Brad says. “I usually perform at local bars and breweries every weekend but that all stopped mid-March. I’m lucky enough to still be working my day job full-time, and I’ve done eight live stream performances since the stay-at-home orders have been in place. There is a lot of uncertainty and negativity in the news and in the world right now and it has made me feel better to try and help out other people in my own small way.”
Maureen Bresnahan, La Grange resident. Maureen lives in the Country Club Section of La Grange and has created weekly games for the kids in the neighborhood to play safely. The first game was a secret phrase – the kids had to walk /ride bikes past a different house every day of the week to find a letter, and then do a word scramble. The secret phrase was “You are awesome.” Right now she is doing Bingo. Each day, you can see families walking around the neighborhood looking for the letters or bingo numbers in windows, giving them something to do with exercise while building community. “I work in a school, so creating activities for kids is something that I enjoy,” explains Maureen. “I started to hear about different neighborhoods doing creative things and I immediately knew I wanted to contribute to that effort. With family walks and bike rides becoming the new normal, a word scramble (with a positive message for the kids — YOU ARE AWESOME!) seemed the way to go.” Then came Block-To-Block Bingo, now in its seventh week. “Another family donated 10 Tate’s coveted coins for winners. “I live in La Grange and feel blessed to be part of a neighborhood where kindness and supporting one another is the natural way of living,” she continues. “My hope is that the quarantine games gave everyone a light-hearted COVID-19 memory, and most importantly, kept the kids smiling — because that’s what it’s all about!
Steve Palmer, Palmer Place. Steve has advocated for BEDS Plus with his patrons at Palmer Place, who have donated over $2,000 to support meals for clients who are sheltering in place. In fact, he delivered food to some of the motel clients personally! Likewise, he has advocated for emergency support from the Lyons Township Mental Health Board and was a champion for the agency’s permanent supportive housing building on Ogden Avenue. Through his personal and professional roles, Steve provides critical support during this challenging time. “A customer reached out to me and said he wanted to buy meals for homeless or veterans and gave me $500. I told him I would match his donation,” Steve comments. “I reached out to BEDS Plus and they asked me to deliver meals to the emergency shelter in a local motel. After a post on Facebook, checks starting pouring in from local business owners and customers. Today we have received around $5,000 in unsolicited donations. People’s generosity during this time has been incredible, unbelievable, amazing. I thought I was being kind by making the food and delivering the meals to the emergency shelter; then the door opens and there’s a family of four with little kids playing on the motel room floor. When I got back in my car, I wiped away the tears and prayed. We are truly blessed and lucky for what we have and we are truly blessed and lucky for the great work of BEDS Plus.”
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.