CSA Fraternal Life has recognized North Riverside resident Mary Lee as Fraternalist of the Year for 2009.

Lee has been a member of CSA for over 50 years and is a member of Lodge R.T. Crane Jr. #7 of North Riverside. She is also a North Riverside Public Library trustee.

She has been been instrumental in leading several projects for the lodge in the past year, especially in terms of fundraising and in community volunteer service for several good causes.

This year, Lee coordinated with the North Riverside Library to find a major volunteer project for the lodge’s support of the library in the CSA National Project. For three months, the members, under Lee’s leadership, put in 300 volunteer hours to reorganize the library’s CD and DVD collection with a new tracking system.

Every disc was re-coded in the computer, transferred into new boxes, with application of security tags, labels and cover sheets.

She also volunteers for the Misericordia Home in Chicago, participated on the Lodge’s team in the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life of Brookfield in 2008 and helps with the lodge’s corn on the cob booth at the Czechoslovak American Congress picnic.

Lee is an active member of Mater Christi Church in North riverside, cooking and selling food at their annual picnic and helping with other events in the village to raise money for the parish.

For the past six years she has also regularly cooked and served the homeless at St. John Lutheran Church in Forest Park and last year at St. Eulalia Church in Maywood.

CSA has been awarding a Fraternalist of the Year since 1986 and this year, Mary was chosen from among 14 fraternalists. All nominees are passed along to the National Fraternal Society of America (NFCA) for consideration as weekly Fraternal MVP candidates, and Lee’s name will be placed into nomination for the NFCA’s Fraternalist of the Year, to be announced in October.

CSA Fraternal Life, based in Oakbrook, is America’s oldest fraternal benefit society, established in 1854 to provide financial protection and social activities to Czech and Slovak immigrants.

Great days on the Great Lakes

Riverside-Brookfield High School student Maggie Heraty was among a group of Chicago-area high schoolers who spent an entire week riding the waves of Lake Michigan, participating in the Shedd Aquarium’s High School Lake Ecology Program.

Students lived and worked aboard the Dennis Sullivan, a 137-foot schooner, exploring aquatic science and the Great Lakes ecosystem.

Before their week long voyage, students prepared for the trip alongside Shedd experts by participating in experiments, activities and classroom discussions to better understand the fundamentals of studying aquatic science and working on the boat.

Taking the knowledge they gained on land, students conducted research and closely examined Lake Michigan and the rest of the Great Lakes.

Keeping the streets safe

Riverside police officers Leo Kotor, Jeff Miller and Jim Lazansky were recognized by the Riverside village board on Aug. 17 for being honored by the Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists (AAIM) for their outstanding DUI enforcement.

According to Police Chief Thomas Weitzel, the three officers were accountable for a majority of the 132 DUI arrests made in Riverside in 2008, and that the department’s conviction rate in such cases was over 90 percent.

Helping hand

Sts. Peter and Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church recently donated $575 and a supply of food to the Riverside Township Food Pantry. The proceeds were from the church’s Fourth of July potato pancake sale, and food donations were from church members. Presenting the check to Riverside Township Supervisor Richard Tuscher (far right) in July were Walter Kessler, Ramona Suffern and Sue Martinek.

Riverside resident Bessert, Ishmael wed

On Aug. 22, Riverside residents Cassie Marie Bessert and Craig Robert Ishmael were married in a ceremony at the Wayside Chapel in Palos Park.

The bride is a graduate of Loyola University of Chicago and is employed by Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood as a nurse. The groom attended the Illinois Institute of Technology and is self employed and owns an automotive shop in Stone Park.

The couple’s parents are Bruce and Mary Bessert of Braceville, Ill., and Robert and Luann Ishmael of Coal City, Ill.

Jaycees take home national awards

The Brookfield Jaycees recently received national awards honoring their achievements in 2008.

The chapter received a second-place Clarence H. Howard award for chapters between 30 and 50 members. The award recognizes the most well-rounded chapters in the nation. They also received the coveted Blue Chip award which recognizes well-rounded, healthy chapters.

The Blue Chip requirements are designed to ensure chapters offer well-balanced programming for local members. The chapter ranked fourth out of over 3,000 chapters throughout the country in the National Parade of Chapters.

Brookfield’s chapter received third place overall in both the Public Relations and Youth Activities categories for their Distinguished Service Awards/Citizen of the Year and Pitch, Hit, Run projects respectively.

They were also placed second for their International Area programming and placed first nationally for their Individual Area programming, which covers training and activities designed to develop members personally and professionally.

In addition, Brookfield Jaycees President Yvonne Agnello-Adams was one of 17 Charles Kulp Jr. Memorial Award recipients. The Kulp Award is presented annually to outstanding local presidents in the nation, recognizing their service and commitment throughout the year.

Agnello-Adams also won first place in the Master’s Speak Up competition which recognizes outstanding speakers among state officers and local chapter presidents.