I always say Landmark readers are the best, and I mean it. An example of that is North Riverside resident Jim Zak. He not only is a loyal reader of the Landmark, his name is familiar through the letters to the editor that appear in print.
His letters are always positive, many times focusing on something or someone; I was fortunate to be mentioned in one of his letters. So if you are like me, you wanted to know more about Jim.
Jim and his wife, Myra, have lived in North Riverside for 16 years and are the parents of six children from ages 42 to 52 — those were a busy 10 years — and now proud grandparents of 15 grandchildren from 1 to 21 years of age.
Jim worked for the U.S. Treasury Department in the savings bond department, starting at the bottom and working his way up to head of a division. When the savings bond division was closed Jim was out of a job after 23 years until finding work with a printing company.
A hip problem put him on disability and brain surgery, the result of three concussions, became a major turn in Jim’s life. While in the hospital he had a roommate who was a veteran, and among other problems was suffering from depression.
Jim spent time talking with the vet, but realized how fortunate he was. He vowed would spend his time helping people, and after many months in rehab he has done just that.
Today Jim’s days are filled as a member of Mater Christi Church’s Holy Name Society. He can be seen on Sundays at the Masses, assisting people with the elevator.
He volunteers at Cantata Adult Life Services in Brookfield and is a driver for PeopleCare. He is always willing to drive those in need, including trips to Hines Hospital. He attends many meetings in the village to keep up on what is going on, and, of course, he writes letters.
Jim Zak recently was honored by the village of North Riverside when he was named “Angel of the Year” for 2016, a well-deserved honor. In our conversation, he kept saying he just wants to help people and that he will continue to do so.
Angels come in many ways, and some are among us, like Jim Zak, one of The Landmark’s favorite readers and letter writers. Now you know him, too.