The Oak Park Post Office, in conjunction with Toys for Tots, collected over 200 toys and also raised over $250 from contributions by employees of the Oak Park Main, South Station and River Forest post offices. The toys and money went to Victory Life Christian Center in Gary, Ind. According to Oak Park Postmaster Benjamin Cozzone, they chose Victory Life after being told the local Toys for Tots was overburdened and might not be able to get all the toys distributed in time for Christmas. Letter carrier Rich Wojewnik, who is also a Marine, saw a Channel 7 feature on the need for toys at Victory Life, called the station, and contacted the church. The next day, Pastor Edward Sims Jr. and Co-pastor Yolanda Sims drove from Gary to accept the gifts.
Medal of the decade
Nathan Kelsey, son of Mark and Tari Kelsey of Oak Park, earned the Paderewski Medal from the American College of Musicians, Student Musician Division in May 2004. A senior honor student at Oak Park and River Forest High School who hopes to teach math some day, Nathan performed a 10-piece program each year for 10 years to earn his medal. His piano teacher is Oak Parker Beverly Anderson.
Maher heads the Red Cross
Oak Park resident Francesca Marciniak Maher has been appointed chief executive officer of The American Red Cross of Greater Chicago. An attorney and graduate of Loyola University of Chicago, Maher has served as senior vice president and general counsel of UAL Corporation, and as special counsel, director of the Illinois securities department and partner with the law firm of Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw in Chicago. She's currently vice chairman of the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago Board, co-chairman of the Lincoln Park Zoo Corporate Development Committee, and past president of the Illinois Humane Society. She's also co-founder and steering committee member for the Senior Businesswomen's Forum and was recognized by Crain's Chicago Business as one of its "40 under 40" leading business executives in 1997.
Triple threat volunteer
Oak Park and River Forest High School student Allison Vogel, class of 2006, received the Cook County Sheriff's Youth Service Medal of Honor. The medal, awarded to high school students who have completed 100 or more hours of volunteer community service and have been nominated by the human services organizations for which they volunteer, was presented to Allison by Cook County Sheriff Michael F. Sheehan in a Nov. 22 ceremony at the James R. Thompson Center in Chicago. Allison was nominated by Leyden Community Services, where she volunteered in the kindergarten classroom. She also volunteers as a basketball coach for the River Forest Park District and has volunteered at the Animal Care League of Oak Park.
Ryan speaks at commencement
Former Illinois Attorney General Jim Ryan will address graduates of Dominican University during commencement exercises at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 8 in the university's Lund Auditorium, 7900 W. Division St., River Forest.
Earning a letter at Earlham
Carl Moravec, a first-year student at Earlham College in Richmond, Ind., earned a varsity letter in football. The Quakers ended the year 4-6 overall, with a 3-4 mark in the North Coast Athletic Conference. Carl is the son of Juliann and Richard Moravec of Oak Park.