Citizens of the Year
and their contributions
Since 1986, Naperville American Legion Post 43 has annually
recognized a Naperville citizen for extraordinary service.
The program was expanded in 2014 to include multiple categories.
This year it is recognizing people in three service categories.
SERVICE TO COMMUNITY
“Simply the most selfless person I have ever met” is the way one person described Wayne. Another, whose family he stood by in a time of need, praises his compassion and service to others. His service in the community is characterized by low key actions that don’t grab the spotlight. He gives of that most precious commodity, his time. He coaches kid’s athletic teams, organizes a memorial golf outing, works as a Cubmaster, Scoutmaster, suggests Eagle Scout projects, consults on obtaining required city permits, teaches Junior Achievement, offers his construction company to build an outdoor classroom at a local elementary school, and uses his plane to fly medical missions. He is the kind of guy who, seeing the tree trunk in your back yard, not only offers the use of his log-splitter, but also spends a couple hours helping you to split the wood. He is devoted to his family. He reaches out to friends in need and is there to support them. Mr. Klein is also involved in more formal service positions. Starting on the facilities committee at All Saints Academy, he became president of the School Board and now serves on the Board of Trustees. He has served on multiple committees and projects at his church, St. Elizabeth Seton.
SERVICE TO VETERANS
Jim is the Chaplain of Naperville VFW Post 3873 and Commander of the joint American Legion - Veterans of Foreign Wars, Honor Guard (HG). He is a Viet Nam veteran who lost three high school friends in that war. In early 2015, after attending his father-in-law’s funeral and military honors, he wondered why Naperville didn’t provide something similar to recognize the service and sacrifices made by the veteran, and to instill in the family and friends of the veteran, the appreciation of service and comradery of fellow veterans saluting him or her. But he didn’t just think, he acted, soliciting volunteers from the two posts, starting the training, and then reaching out to the Army National Guard for assistance and expertise. The Naperville Honor Guard received Department of Defense Certification, a significant achievement, in October 2015. Since that time, they have performed two-hundred-thirty-five Military Funeral Services (MFS) and numerous community service events. While a MFS usually requires about three hours commitment for the members of the HG, much more is required of the Commander. Those tasks include coordination with the funeral home, notifying HG members and ensuring a sufficient number are available, coordinating with the military flag folding team (and to perform that task if a military unit is not available), arranging for a bugler if the internal HG bugler is not available, picking up, maintaining security and returning rifles to the armory, notifying the police department when and where the rifle fire will occur, so as not to alarm the community, commanding the ceremony and keeping the post commanders up-to-date on the units activities. Each event requires a significant investment of his time. Perhaps the most demanding aspect of the command is being always available and in the rare instance where he must be out of town, arranging for someone to stand in for him.
SERVICE TO YOUTH
Over seventeen years ago Ms. Weinstein started a program for District 203 and 204 parents called “Keeping Kids Safe”. It addressed bullying and other social situations. Over time it evolved to emphasize protecting children form online abuse such as cyber-bullying, sexting, sextortion and stalking. The program was presented by Naperville Police Department Internet Crimes Detective Rich Wistocki (now retired). The presentation was so popular that it was turned into a seminar so that parents who couldn’t attend, might access the information online. Detective Wistocki presented the seminar at the Exchange Club’s National Convention in 2017. The program was deemed so timely and urgent that the National Exchange Club posted the hour-long, professionally produced video on its website for its nationwide audience. To keep youth safe is the greatest service that can be performed, and Sherry has fulfilled that service to not only her own family’s children but also the children of parents everywhere. She is a true unsung hero for the prevention of child abuse.
Naperville American Legion Post 43 began naming a Citizen of the Year in 1986. Four years ago, the program was expanded to consider naming a Citizen of the Year to three categories: Service to the Community, Service to Youth, and Service to Veterans.
We ask for your assistance to identify deserving candidates in each category.
Nominees must be Naperville residents whose service must have been performed in a volunteer capacity, rather than as part of compensated employment.
Nominees must be Naperville residents. Their service must have been performed in a volunteer capacity, rather than a part of compensated employment.
Anyone may nominate a candidate by sending a letter or email that includes:
The category they are being nominated for (Service to the Community, Service to Youth, or Service to Veterans)
A comprehensive description of the services the nominee performed
The time frame and duration
The significance of the service to others
Name and contact information of the nominee
Name and contact information of the person offering the nomination.
Letters from other people endorsing the nominee are encouraged.
Naperville is blessed with many people who serve their fellow citizens. The judges have a very difficult task. Comprehensive information—attachments and endorsements are greatly helpful in selecting the winners. These may be mailed to:
American Legion Post 43
Citizen of the Year
Post Office Box 4
or emailed (preferably) to: email@example.com