My turn

Calumet City Lions, VFW honor local heroes

2014-05-01T00:00:00Z Calumet City Lions, VFW honor local heroesGeorge Grenchik Times Columnist
May 01, 2014 12:00 am  • 

Well, the Catholic Church has two new official heroes — the Church calls them saints.

Angelo Roncalli, Pope John XXIII, and Karol Wojtyla, Pope John Paul II, were canonized (officially recognized as saints) last Sunday in Rome. Roncalli turned the Church in a new direction and guided it into the modern age with the Vatican Councils and Wojtyla was a larger than life figure helping to end the communist dominion over much of Europe.

And in Calumet City, we had some heroes recently recognized, too.

Helen Rogalski was recognized by the Calumet City Lions Club as the second winner of the annual Sister Alban Award given for community service.

Helen has been a volunteer at Calumet City Resources for over 20 years. Helen hasn’t let her 90+ years or a recent fall stop her from working at the center, which supplies food, clothing, and other types of assistance for those in Cal City who need help. The center is in the very building on Wentworth Avenue which Helen and her late husband owned and ran for many years as a hardware store.

Congrats also to the teachers of our local schools recognized by the Lions for their dedication to this most noble (and difficult) profession. The honorees were Mae Brown form District 149, Grace Zehme for District 155, LaPheryll Barfield form District 156, Jacqueline Moore from District 157, and Therese McLaughlin from T.F. North.

I don’t know the other ladies, but I do know Therese McLaughlin. The former AD at North is a hardworking and dedicated professional. I believe this is Therese’s retirement year. Best of luck Therese and thanks for your service to the kids of our city.

The VFW Ehinger Bros. Post 8141 held its annual awards program this past Monday. As well as the various awards given to students for contests promoting patriotism there were awards for outstanding citizen, firefighter, and police officer. Officer James Burnett was recognized for ending the threat of a dangerous fleeing offender who made the fatal mistake of pointing a weapon at Officer Burnett.

Also recognized was Officer Asher Dimitroff (who was also cited by the Lions Club). He was recognized for the high number of confiscations of drugs and weapons he was responsible for.

As firefighter of the year, the VFW recognized the squad of Joseph Brazzale, Michael Peterlin, Tom Hansen, Tim McGannon, and Dave Siatta. Their quick actions and high level of medical expertise, saved the life, actually brought back the life of Jan Malone who was in the direst straits of cardiac emergency.

And Jan Malone, as the president of the VFW’s Ladies’ Auxiliary, was there to present the men with their awards and some homemade brownies. Quite a cool story.

Sean Fortson was recognized by the Lions Club for his work on the “adopt a fire hydrant” and “vial of life” programs.

And to make it a really good evening for the Malones, Jan’s daughter, attorney Sarah Buck, was awarded one of the Outstanding Citizen awards for her legal advice seminars and for various volunteer activities for her family’s church and school.

The other Outstanding Citizen of the Year is a Calumet City original (and a friend of mine), Denny Halloran. He was recognized for his longtime dedicated work with the Calumet City Lions, his volunteer service to the Calumet Memorial Park District, to St. Victor’s VictorFest celebration, and to Victor Care. And as many of you know, Denny is the toastmaster poet laureate of Calumet City.

Congrats to those honored and thanks to the Lions and the VFW for having the wisdom and making the effort to celebrate the heroes that are right in our midst.


The 10th annual Jim Preniciaro Golf Outing to raise money to fight the plague of cancer will be May 24, at the Lincoln Oaks Golf Course. Details at (708) 271-0812 or (708) 474-4468.

Trivia Nite Out at St. Victor is 7:30 p.m. May 10. Contact me for details.

Thanks for reading.

The opinions are solely those of the writer. George Grenchik is a longtime Calumet City resident and retired instructor at Bishop Noll Institute in Hammond. He can be reached at

Copyright 2014 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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