By Joanne Kosey
Riverside resident and Riverside-Brookfield High School employee Brian Brennan received some special notice recently when Principal Kristen Smetana presented him with a Recognition Award plaque on behalf of the Illinois High School Association.
Brennan serves as a crucial contact person for the school's athletic department, assisting teams and officials when they are at RBHS.
Receiving the award from RB Principal Kristin Smetana who talked of the services Brennan provides and how he became a recipient. He was nominated for the IHSA award by officials who come to referee events at the school.
Brennan has been around sports for 50 years, attending Oak Park and River Forest High School where he participated in basketball and cross country. He began coaching students at St. Edmund School in Oak Park while a high school senior.
He says he has been the officials' point of contact at RBHS for almost 10 years, and he finds the job to his liking since it gives him a chance be to stay active in athletics. He also likes interacting with the teams, coaching staffs, officials and others attending events at the school.
He admits he was "blindsided" when told he would receive the award and expressed his thanks to his wife, Claudia, who was in on the secret, the administration and the athletic department, in particular Donna Sifferman, who arranged for a reception for Brennan, his family and friends.
This is not the first time Brennan has been recognized for his efforts above and beyond. In 2004, he was named Person of the Year by the Riverside Township Lions Club and the Riverside Township Chamber of Commerce.
He is active with the Riverside Chamber particularly in the organizing of Riverside's annual Holiday Stroll. He also is one of the chief planners of events on his block, Parkway Road.
Brian Brennan said he was humbled by the award, particularly how it came about and being nominated by people recognizing the job he does. If you see Brennan around town or at RBHS, tell him "thanks." It is a phrase that doesn't get said enough, particularly when it is well-deserved.
This bagel is for you, Brian. (A private joke, OK?)