A pair of veteran Brookfield firefighters moved up the ranks last month when they were promoted to command staff positions and sworn in during a ceremony at the Aug. 23 meeting of the Brookfield Village Board.

Matthew Dubik, who has been a firefighter for more than 15 years, was promoted to the rank of captain while Michael Teska, who’s been on the force for 19 years, was promoted to the rank of lieutenant.

Both men have been recognized for excellence and bravery in the line of duty through the years. In 2008, the Illinois State Fire Marshal awarded both Dubik and Teska a Medal of Valor for action taken while fighting a house fire in November 2007.

Dubik was recognized three times by the Brookfield-LaGrange Park Lions Club as their Firefighter of the Year, in 2007, 2008 and 2012, while Teska earned that recognition twice, in 2009 and 2015.

Both are certified in many aspects of firefighting and have taken on a number of responsibilities within the Brookfield Fire Department. 

Dubik, who in 2013 earned a bachelor’s degree in fire service management and was named a lieutenant in 2017, is a shift commander and serves as the department’s training officer. 

Teska maintains the department’s hose and nozzle inventory and is in charge of buildings and grounds. 

National Merit semifinalists named

Three students from Riverside-Brookfield High School – Ethan Dimaano, Grantham Gallier and Caroline Marrero — have been named semifinalists in the 2022 National Merit Scholarship Program. 

About 1.5 million juniors in more than 21,000 high schools entered the 2022 competition by taking the 2020 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, with approximately 16,000 named semifinalists.

These high school seniors have an opportunity to continue in competition for approximately 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth nearly $30 million that will be offered next spring. To be considered for a Merit Scholarship award, semifinalists must fulfill several requirements to advance to the finalist level. About half of the finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship.

Welcome aboard

Cecilia Vargas

Riverside Arts Center in August announced the appointment of Cecilia L. Vargas as its new gallery director. 

In this capacity, Vargas will direct activities for RAC’s galleries and the Town Hall. She comes to RAC with a range of experience and expertise and a commitment to contemporary art and to artists. 

Vargas is a Chicago-based curator and art consultant who offers curatorial and project management services to artists, collectors and organizations. Her passion for making contemporary art accessible drives the work she does. 

Alexandra Normington

She earned a dual M.A. in art history, theory and criticism, as well as in arts administration and policy from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a B.F.A. in painting and printmaking from Virginia Commonwealth University.

Pillars Community Health, a nonprofit provider of health and social services serving many west and southwest suburbs, has named a three new board members, including one who is a local resident.

April Schweitzer

Among those named to the board in August was Alexandra Normington, of Riverside, who serves as the associate chief communications and marketing officer for Cook County Health. 

Pillars also named new board officers in August. Chosen as board chair-elect was current board member April E. Schweitzer, of Brookfield, who is an attorney with the firm Nixon Peabody in Chicago.

Changing of the guard

Debra Verschelde

Aging Care Connections, a LaGrange-based nonprofit serving 38 communities by providing older adults and their families with guidance and support, is saying goodbye to its longtime leader, Executive Director Debra Verschelde, and hello to a new top executive.

Verschelde will retire at the end of September after 44 years at Aging Care Connections, where she’s been executive director since 1999. During her time as executive director, Verschelde expanded the organization’s range of services and influence in the community, repositioning Aging Care Connections from a multipurpose senior center to a provider of individual and group services that focused on addressing the complex needs associated with aging. 

Desiree Scully

Named as the nonprofit’s new executive director is Desiree Scully, Aging Care Connections’ current director of social services, who will take the reins as executive director on Oct. 1. 

Scully brings over 30 years of experience in the field of aging to this position, including holding the senior services director at Oak Park Township Senior Services for 16 years.

On campus

Brookfield resident Chutimun Glanboot was one of more than 580 students receiving degrees from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb in August. Glanboot earned a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering.

Richard Hertogs, of Brookfield, was among those earning degrees from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, at the end of the 2021 spring semester. Hertogs earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting.  

Victor Janusz, of Brookfield, was named to the Southern New Hampshire University summer 2021 president’s list for attaining a grade-point average of at least 3.7 on a 4-point scale for the term.