Basili's stylists give from the heart

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JOANNE KOSEY

The old saying "like father like son" took on another meaning when North Riverside resident Bill Paganis, owner of Basili's Salon in downtown Riverside, and his son, Riverside resident Frank Paganis and owner of Paganis salon in Oak Park, teamed up to help clients of the Neumann Association.

Based in Chicago, the Neumann Association is a community-based organization providing services to persons with developmental disabilities and/or mental illness. In addition to their main office the Neumann Association maintains 19 residential sites on the north and northwest sides of Chicago.

Bill Paganis had worked with the association a year ago, when they approached him to provide a day of glamour for some of their clients. Without hesitation, Paganis agreed to the suggestion, and he and his staff provided services to 30 people.

This year when asked to participate again, Paganis was eager to assist. Enter the younger Paganis, who was asked by his father if he would like to be a part of the day on Monday, Jan. 30. Frank Paganis was ready to help, bringing some of his staff from the Oak Park shop to assist.

On Monday, 28 clients from the Neumann Association arrived at Basili's in Riverside to get the royal treatment. They were met by 12 professional stylists who were ready to make the day for their guests with hair cuts and styling.

Frank Paganis along with his staff were doing something of this nature for the first time and said it was a "humbling experience." He said it allowed him to step back and take a look at life from a different perspective, and to see the trials some go through daily and what many take for granted is not so for others.

He also added, "It was a lot of fun!"

Chuckling, he told of the cute little lady who was so happy with her new hair style she wanted her stylist to be paid even though she was told there was no charge. Insistent as she was, Frank Paganis told her she could pay him by giving him a big smile, which she did. The smile was worth more than a huge tip. Continuing on, Frank said a man who had his hair cut last year by Frank's sister, Alisa, was more than willing to wait to have "his stylist" cut his hair again this year.

The day proved to be a family affair in another way, as Frank worked alongside his sisters Alisa and Carol, and all the kids worked side-by-side with their dad Bill to make the day better for 28 people.

The weather may have been slightly overcast when the group from the Neumann Association came to Riverside, but they left with smiles bright enough to light up any room.

The staff of Basili's and Paganis volunteered their time but received much more for giving of their talents.

Birthday greetings! A special happy birthday to Joe Petrzilka, who recently celebrated his 70th birthday. Now everybody will know his age, but that's OK. His family surprised him with a party, but I understand he had been celebrating for a week with friends, including his fellow classmates from Morton High School.

Would you believe he thought he was going to the gambling boat? Judging by the number of people on hand, it was evident he was a winner already.

Annivesary wishes: My favorite restaurant, Chew Chew Cafe in Riverside, is celebrating its 10 year anniversary! Congratulations! Here's hoping there are many more years of fine dining in Riverside. Scott Zimmer, you're as good as anything we see on the food channel. Yum-O!

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