For the 70th year running, the Riverside Township Lions Club will continue its tradition of naming a Person of the Year — originally it was the Man of the Year but with the naming of the late Kay Snyder to the list in 1990 that changed.

Initially a joint effort of the Chamber of Commerce and the Lions Club, it’s now a tradition carried on by the Lions Club alone. The Person of the Year is someone “who exemplifies volunteerism for the benefit of the community over a period of time.”  

Nominations are sent to the Lions Club and are reviewed by a committee from the club’s membership. Early recipients of the honor were typically business people. As time progressed, people were recognized more for their contributions to the village in other forms.

This year’s honoree, announced at the June 20 village board meeting, is Bill Sherman.

Bill learned volunteerism at an early age while working with the Riverside Recreation Department. In 1974, he was recruited to become a member of the Riverside Fire Department by Tony Bednarz. Since that time, Bill has worked his way up through the ranks of the fire department and is now its deputy chief. 

Over the years he has also become the departmental historian, gathering information on the people and things that have shaped the department and the community. He recently was recognized by the Riverside Historical Commission for his efforts.

Sherman’s family has a history in the village dating back to 1924 when his mother’s family moved to Riverside. Like his parents, Bill Sherman attended Riverside public school and Riverside-Brookfield High School. 

When told he was being named Person of the Year, Bill’s reaction was simple: “I’m speechless,” he said. 

A gracious honoree, Sherman will be in the July 4 parade riding in the department’s antique fire truck, an appropriate vehicle for him. He quipped he usually walks the parade passing out candy, but this year he gets to ride. Be assured he will have someone walking the route for him passing out candy.

A dinner will be held in his honor in the fall at the Riverside Golf Club. Information to follow in this column.

Congrats, Bill!