The measure of one’s success is not always determined by wealth or fame but can be measured by what they do in relationship to others. The alumni recipients of the Alumni Achievement Medals from Riverside-Brookfield High School are examples of how differently the word success can be defined.
At an awards dinner held on Oct. 20 at the high school, four alumni were recognized for the accomplishments made following high school. The four award recipients, Jack Hagan, Class of 1949; Barbara Slamp Reimann, Class of 1965, Joseph F. Tucek Jr., Class of 1948 and Michael W. Witwer M.D., Class of 1959 were selected by the Alumni Achievement Committee in recognition for their accomplishments in various fields.
The evening was hosted by Superintendent/Principal Jack Baldermann and began with a reception where guests where entertained by the RB String Quartet. Following dinner guests were honored with a musical salute sung by Michael Witwer, nephew of recipient Dr. Michael Witwer Jr. The tributes continued with Julia Smrt, Student Association president and the presentation of the Alumni Achievement Medals by Larry Herbst, president of the school district’s Board of Education.
Hagan was introduced by his friend and classmate, Dale Rider, who gave some insight into the man being honored for his work in the areas of business, community leadership and civic services volunteer. Hagan, now a resident of Western Springs, is still connected to his alma mater through his classmates and class reunions. He is also a member of RB’s Athletic Wall of Fame.
Reimann, introduced by Rick Sritak, is now the senior vice president of operations at Crate and Barrel. Reimann expressed said she was surprised to be chosen to receive the award. Her acceptance speech gave evidence of the impression RB had made upon her. She believes in the “TEAM” approach to work and stands with, not in front of, her team. She also is a humanitarian, along with her husband, Kell, in numerous charities.
Tucek was introduced by RB teacher Eileen Pusateri who spoke of the contributions Tucek made to his country while serving in the Army during the Korean War. The former Sgt. Tucek demonstrated his heroism for which he was awarded the Silver Star. Humble in his acceptance of the RB Award, Tucek proudly wore his Silver Star on his lapel.
Witwer was nominated and introduced by classmate Jim Sindelar, who noted when learning of the award felt Witwer was an excellent candidate. The focus of Witwer’s career has been in the field of infectious diseases, including treatment of AIDS and providing services for indigent HIV patients.
A Marine during the Vietnam conflict, he was recognized by the Army for his work. Sustaining a leg injury did not deter him from his work or passion for marathons?”he’s run over 100 of them.
A resident of California, Witwer was pleased by the turnout of classmates, assembled by his twin brother, Mike, who joined family members at the dinner including Witwer’s mother, Ethyl. In his acceptance, he singled out the RB Biology Department and the Bios Logos Club for sparking his interest in seeking out a career in medicine.
The honorees were able to spend some time at the high school visiting with students and remembering their days at RBHS and knowing that in some ways you can go home again.
Persons interested in nominating alumni of the school for future Hall of Fame recognition can contact the office of the superintendent at 442-7500.