Well, it was a fine evening in spite of the rain.

The Calumet City Lions Club had its annual night of recognition Tuesday, at which they honor sundry public servants.

There are awards for police and fire personnel, educators and a public service award named after Sr. Alban Hermes — longtime director of Calumet City Resources. CCR distributes food, clothing and small household goods to those in need.

Chris Siatta of the CCPD (and a former student of mine), was recognized for reviving and expanding the police department’s cadet program, a goal of which is to improve relationships between the police and the community, especially our youth.

Firefighter Timothy Piepenbrink was recognized for helping deliver an early arriving infant who was endangered by an umbilical cord wrapped around its neck. Piepenbrink humbly stated that all he did was untie a knot.

Educators from local school districts were recognized — Gary Dotson from Schrum School, Mokita Housing-Ware from Lincoln School, and ShaunwellPosley from TF North. Others were nominated, but could not attend.

The awardees in attendance spoke. I was impressed. They spoke of their work as their avocation. They touched a chord in me and made me fondly remember the deepest reasons that education was such a marvelous way to spend so much of my adult life time.

In so many ways, teaching is much harder now than it was for much of my career. I don’t know if I’d last if I started today instead of almost 50 years ago.

But it was heartwarming to hear from these current educators of their dedication to and understanding of the truest meaning of education — from the Latin “e ducare”; literally “to draw out.”

There’s hope for the future.

The final award, which I was honored to help present, was the fifth Sr. Alban Community Service award. It goes to someone who, simply put, embodies the descriptor of the award…community service.

Tom and Marlene Hill were the appropriate recipients this year. Tom, a retired lawyer, and Marlene, a retired TF North counselor, have run the aforementioned CCR for the past five years. They have quietly, efficiently and successfully run the center which has upwards of 800 in its client base.

Congrats to all those recognized.

And congrats and thanks to the Lions Club of Calumet City who for over 75 years has recognized as well as performed great public service in our city.

Thanks for reading.

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