They are ordinary people doing extraordinary things around Chicago. This year, NBC 5 is proud to honor the following five Jefferson Award finalists for their volunteer and community service efforts.
Frank Flamini is carrying out the American Dream for wounded heroes returning from the battlefields disabled and broken. He is leading an effort to pool businesses and community resources and collectively build dream homes, outfitted for these soldiers’ handicaps, at sharply discounted prices. A city Council member in Zion, Frank Flamini spearheaded efforts to bring together a deal for six homes to be built in partnership with Wounded Heroes foundation and Deep Point Homes, developer of the Shepherd’s Crossing subdivision in Zion, for many soldiers. Flamini’s passion about the issue has brought resources to the table that would never have been linked. He continues fund-raising efforts to help the cause. He and his co-volunteers at Wounded Heroes Foundation have worked to raise over $300,000 and have kept five heroes’ homes from going into foreclosure. Flamini has also secured down payments for Wounded Heroes Homes, kept five Wounded Heroes homes from foreclosure and purchased plane tickets and paid for hotel rooms for Wounded Heroes Families.
In 2001, Charlene McMann helped start the Lymphoma Research Foundation’s first local chapter outside New York. The Chicago office has since raised $2 million and served as a blueprint for others across the United States. The Cardinal event to catch on elsewhere has been the Lymphomathon, a 5K walk-run Charlene spearheaded in 2003. What began as 400 people at Montrose Harbor has turned into an annual event in 16 cities. Chicago’s Lymphomathon alone brought in $415,000 this year, bumping its five-year total to 1.6 million. As president of the Chicago Chapter, Charlene promotes public awareness and education as much as fund raising. She encourages letter writing and contacting elected officials at their local offices about spending more money on cancer research. Charlene is devoted to helping patients and families with health problems. For the past several years, Charlene has focused on helping patients and families with health problems. Her activities and efforts in organizing charitable organizations, educational events, and fundraisers have had a tremendous impact of the lives of countless patients and families living with Cancer in the Chicagoland area and on a national basis. Charlene is now establishing the Chicagoland Army of the Lance Armstrong Foundation as one two-army leaders.
Coming from Poland with only $250 in her pocket in the early 80’s, Margaret has built a volunteer organization in the Polish community where these efforts did not exist. She is a two- time cancer survivor, and has built a support group for Polish women that began with servicing breast cancer patients, and has expanded to encompass all cancers and encourages a healthy lifestyle. For several years Margaret has been going to Stroger hospital on a daily basis to help Polish speakers navigate treatment, and get the service they need. This past year she was recognized by the Polish National Alliance for her work with volunteers and by the Polish President when he was here in the late summer. She has held two Polish Health Festivals on the west side that has attracted more than 1,000 Polish participants in the past two years.
Addie is the co-founder and executive director of a voluntary organization titled “Reclaim A Youth.” Addie does not receive a salary or a stipend. Since 1991 she has worked tirelessly in providing community services to at risk youth, and conducting grief and loss group counseling. Through her commitment to save a child from violence, teenage pregnancy and poor school performance particularly in the village of Glenwood and the Glenwood School District, she has partnered with Glenwood School #167 to provide and early youth intervention program that meets regularly at the school district that emphasizes conflict management, mentoring, and leadership training at no cost to the district. Her love for children can be easily seen through her tenacity to bring caring professionals together to collaborate and lead efforts such as Ray’s James Mix & Sean Carter Memorial Scholarship Fund which has raise over $150,000.00 for young scholars.
For his efforts in working with the children of Maryville Academy and promoting the game of golf to the disadvantaged youth, Espejo was awarded the 1998 IPGA Junior Golf Leader award at the IPGA Fall Meeting in October. Teaching the game of golf is just one of Espejo’s responsibilities. Under his direct supervision, Maryville runs a successful Caddie Program. In the Caddie Program, the children are not only learning about the key elements of the game, but they are again taught important skills that they will use outside of the world of golf. The caddie is taught the importance of being on time, wearing proper clothes, proper sleeping habits and nutrition, and most importantly keeping a positive attitude.