Karen Yarbrough

Bill Niesluchowski, who served as a Riverside police officer for 33 years before spending the past 16 as the department’s lone community service officer, was treated to a once-in-a-lifetime experience last month.

The longtime North Riverside resident joined more than 100 veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces aboard an Honor Flight to visit war memorials and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. on Sept. 18.

“It was the trip of a lifetime,” Niesluchowski said.

Niesluchowski grew up in Chicago and Broadview before being drafted into the U.S. Army in 1967. He became an MP, good training for what would become his civilian career, and served for 18 months in West Germany before being discharged in 1969.

He applied to be on an Honor Flight – which are provided at no cost to veterans as a thank you for their service to the nation – more than four years ago after being urged to do so by a friend.

“I did it as a lark,” Niesluchowski said. “Who knew if I was going to be picked?”

A few months ago, Niesluchowski received a call from the folks of Honor Flight Chicago letting him know he was on the list for an upcoming flight. On Sept. 18, he showed up at Midway Airport at 3 a.m. to make the trip to the nation’s capital. There he joined his fellow veterans in visiting Arlington National Cemetery, the Vietnam War memorial and the World War II memorial.

He carried with him the names of some men he served with, hoping their names were not on the wall of the Vietnam memorial.

“I didn’t find their names, which was good,” he said.

He called the memorial itself “unbelievable.”

The after leaving the service, Niesluchowski got married and also joined the Riverside Police Department. He and his wife celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary last week and he’ll celebrate his 50th year serving the Riverside Police Department in February.

Welcome aboard

Brookfield resident April Schweitzer was one of five people welcomed in August to the board of directors at Pillars Community Health, a nonprofit provider of medical, dental mental health and addiction, domestic and sexual violence and early childhood education services headquartered in LaGrange.

The organization, which traces its history back to 1921, has 10 locations in the west and southwest suburbs and the volunteer board is charged with providing oversight and direction, including making policies, safeguarding assets, evaluating the health of the organization and planning for the future.

Schweitzer is an associate attorney with Nixon Peabody, specializing in matters related to Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC). Prior to working as an attorney, she worked in public health, focusing on tobacco control.

I’d be honored

The Judy Baar Topinka Foundation earlier this month awarded its 2nd Annual Judy Award to Cook County Clerk Karen Yarbrough.

Cook County’s first African-American and female clerk, Yarbrough served as a state representative for the 7th District – district Topinka also served – for 12 years. She served as assistant majority leader in the Illinois House and was the chief House sponsor of a bill signed into law by Gov. Pat Quinn, outlawing the death penalty in Illinois.

From 2012-18, Yarbrough served as the Cook County Recorder of Deeds. She was presented with the award at an event on Sept. 5 in McCook.

On campus

More than 20 Brookfield residents were among the 450 Lyons Township High School students who have been named Advanced Placement Scholars for their exceptional achievement on the college-level Advanced Placement Program exams.

The College Board recognizes several levels of achievement (the exams are graded on a scale of 1 to 5) based on the number of year-long courses and exams taken by students: AP Scholar, by completing three or more exams with grades of 3 or higher; AP Scholar with Honor, total average grade of 3.25 with four exams at 3 or better; AP Scholar with Distinction, total average grade of 3.5 with five exams at 3 or better; AP National Scholar, total exam score average of 4 with eight or more at 4 or better; AP International Diploma, displaying exceptional achievement across a variety of disciplines.

The following Brookfield students were recognized:

AP Scholar: Alani Benitez, Christopher Cordero, Emma Dahl, Mark DeWeese, August Duwell, Alexandra Gatsos, Emma Korzyniewski, Lazar Marinkovich, Benjamin Mathis and Adam Strzelczyk.

AP Scholar with Honor: James Gatsos, Caroline Geisert, Sarah Schaber and Cameron Trimborn.

AP Scholar with Distinction: Tyler Bernklau, Madeleine Church, Bradley Estacio, Jordan Gatsos, Alana Mercado, Nicholas Ortiz, Thomas MacKenzie and Evelyn Villalobos Gurr.

AP National Scholar: Nicholas Ortiz.

Fenwick High School in Oak Park has announced that Riverside residents Joshua Richards and Grace Vomacka are among the 10 students from that institution named Nation Merit Commended Scholars, placing them among the top 34,000 high school seniors in the nation for their performance on the on the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.

Julia Keller, of Riverside, was one of 208 student-athletes at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana, named to the Tiger Pride Honor Roll for achieving at least a 3.40 grade point average for the 2019 spring semester.