May oozing with community spirit and good deeds

2014-06-01T00:00:00Z May oozing with community spirit and good deedsCarrie Steinweg Times Columnist nwitimes.com
June 01, 2014 12:00 am  • 

Last month was full of great examples of the impact people can make in small gestures and how community pride and involvement can make much such a difference.

The month kicked off with the Good Neighbor Day parade, which is a longtime annual event that brings out so many people to either participate or watch. In 23 years in Lansing, I have never missed a parade. I love seeing so many people enjoying the day and talking to one another and how the event highlights so many businesses and active organizations in and around Lansing.

The following weekend was Lansing’s annual Community Cleanup Day. It’s wonderful to see so many residents, young, old and in between, who spend time working to beautify our surroundings.

Also that morning was the Mustang 5K held at Memorial Junior High School to raise funds for the Lansing Food Pantry. This was the second year for the event and the weather was perfect and there was a great turnout. Many of the participants were MJHS students and staff along with a variety of other runners and walkers of various ages.

The following weekend I found myself in Highland for a St. Baldrick’s Foundation fundraiser where a good number of the attendees and some of the event organizers were from Lansing. Christie and Dave Zumm, of Highland, along with Aaron and Nicole Jadernak, from Lansing, organized this second annual event that raised over $17,000 for childhood cancer research. Money was raised by volunteers who shaved their heads for donations. I’m proud to say that my two youngest boys, Brandon and Ian, were among the shavees.

As we commemorated Memorial Day, the Lansing Veterans Memorial Ceremonial Honor Guard once again hosted a service the day prior for the community in remembrance of those who served and paid the ultimate sacrifice, giving their life in service of our country. I’ve known several members of this group for many years and they do a wonderful job all year long of honoring those who serve.

On Memorial Day, the Civil Air Patrol Thunder Composite Squadron laid a wreath at the Community Veterans Memorial in Munster. The group is a cadet program of the U. S. Air Force open to young men age 12 and older which meets at Heritage Middle School. My middle son recently joined the group and this was his first event with them. I’ve been very impressed so far with what he is learning. If interested in more information, call (630) 779-9313 or e-mail rzalus@sd171.org.

This past week I coordinated a blood drive in honor of a friend’s young daughter who has battled cancer. The mobile unit was parked at the library and nearly two dozen individuals came out to donate. This is a time of year when donations are critical as supplies dip in the summer months. Kudos to those who donated and thanks for my friends, Lori Cutler and Judy Kuzemka, who helped at the registration table and to the Lansing Library for their cooperation.

The month ended with the Cop on a Rooftop fundraiser where members of the Lansing Police Department took donations at Dunkin’ Donuts to benefit  Special Olympics Illinois. Many thanks to those officers who protect us and for their efforts in raising funds for a great cause.

I look forward to seeing all these good things continue this summer and hope residents will lend a hand when given an opportunity and help to keep more projects and events going like all those that took place in May.

This Saturday a fundraiser will take place at the St. Ann School Hall, 3014 Ridge Road, called Jars for Joanie. The event is to benefit Joanie Wotaszak, a native of Dublin, Ireland, who was diagnosed with cancer last November. Wotaszak came to the states 30 years ago. She is a widow raising four kids ranging in age from 13 to 23. The youngest just graduated from St. Ann School and until her diagnosis Wotaszak worked at St. Ann School.

“We know she’ll be out of work for a long time and we needed to do something for her and this seemed like a good idea,” said Kate Gill, one of the event coordinators.

The event will begin at 5 p.m.. Tickets are $30 in advance and $35 at the door. Tickets include a dinner buffet and a drink. There will also be several raffles and an auction. Tickets to win a 50-inch TV are $10. For tickets, call (708) 516-0879.

The opinions are solely those of the writer. She can be reached at csteinw@yahoo.com.

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