Seven Riverside Township community leaders were honored last night at the 2004 Distinguished Service Awards. The awards are given each year by the Jaycees and the Riverside Masonic Lodge to recognize outstanding citizens for their distinguished service to the Riverside Township community.

Award winners included:Kevin Mulligan, Riverside’s assistant fire chief was named Outstanding Firefighter of the Year.Joel Benton, principal of Hauser junior High School in Riverside was recognized as Educator of the Year.Thomas Weitzel, Riverside’s assistant police chief was presented with the Law Enforcement Officer of the Year award.

The Rev. Ridell A. Kelsey Jr. was given the Community Builder Award, which is presented to the individual who demonstrates community support through commitment to others.Stephen and Ann Kubiczky were named Outstanding Volunteers for their time and support to causes and organizations for the betterment of the community.Mario Lavorato, former District 208 board member, was named the Jaycees’ Young Leader, which recognizes community leaders between the ages of 21-40 who reflect the Jaycees focus on creating young civic leaders.

In addition to recognizing community leaders, the Jaycees also announced the recipients of their first annual scholarship. The organization awarded $1,000 to Cristina Tallarico of Riverside and $750 to Kristin Jastrzebski of North Riverside.

Tallarico plans on studying education to become a teacher or social worker. Jastrzebski plans to major in English at DePaul University.

Scholarship winners were chosen based upon examples of active community involvement, extracurricular activities, leadership roles, honors and awards among other things.