While Riverside continues to get ready for their annual July 4 celebration to commemorate our nation’s birthday, there is another local birthday of note.

Riverside resident Bob Gwinn will be celebrating his 102nd birthday this June 30, and while his celebration will be much smaller it will be noted by his close friends, family, his assistant Carol Dvorak and a visit from his godchild, Anne Osberg and her husband, “Moose” Moravec, who will be in from California.

Gwinn began his life on the family farm in Andersen, Ind., arriving in Riverside in 1951 with his wife, Nancy, and their two sons, Dick and Jack. His business career flourished, as he became president of Sunbeam Corporation, eventually being promoted to chairman of the board.

His business expertise led him to being seated on a number of boards and he began an association with Encyclopedia Britannica, becoming its board chairman in 1973. The list of Gwinn’s business successes would take much more space than this column has to offer, but note must be made of his philanthropic efforts in the Chicago area and locally, including being a Friend of the Fourth this year.

The Riverside-Brookfield High School Educational Foundation established a scholarship in his name in recognition of his many his years of support to that foundation. The scholarship is given yearly to a graduating senior who will be continuing his or her education if the field of business/finance. This year’s recipient is Will Lusthoff, who will be attending the University of Illinois.

So to a very special person – happy birthday, Bob Gwinn!

It takes more than rain …

When the torrents hit our village on Friday night, it was the hale, hearty and hungry who survived the Chamber of Commerce’s annual steak fry! As the winds and rains began their surge and the tent began to shake, it was the “heroism” (a little too dramatic maybe) of many who grabbed on and held the tent poles, thus avoiding a cave in.

After the rains and wind subsided, it was interesting to see how many people remained because they hadn’t finished eating, were having a good time and wanted better odds to win raffle prizes.

Yours truly took refuge in Calvetti’s, while Husband Joe got drenched. Chamber President Dave Moravecek kept the evening going and made the big announcement of the 2009 Person of the Year, Candi Grace. Congratulations and enjoy your year!