Dr. Terry Light's work as chair of the Department of Orthopedic Surgery and Rehabilitation at Loyola University Medical Center is but one aspect of the distinguished Oak Parker's life that has earned him the honor of being one of 60 over 60.
Light, 66, is among 60 Oak Park, River Forest and Forest Park residents given accolades this month for Celebrating Seniors, an observance recognizing the contributions of outstanding seniors in the village. His image is also on the cover of this year's Celebrating Seniors resource guide.
He said in a recent interview that with age comes wisdom, which helps him in relating to patients as a hand surgeon.
"I think as I've gotten older I enjoy hearing the life stories of my patients, and I can, perhaps, relate to people who have had different life experiences, where at age 25 it is more of a stretch," he said.
Light, who grew up in Chicago but has lived in Oak Park for the last 34 years, volunteered as a docent to Frank Lloyd Wright's Home and Studio in the 1980s and 90s and served as chairman of the board of the home and studio.
During his tenure at the foundation he was involved in working with the village in the late 1980s to purchase the building next door – originally serving as a gardener's cottage – that became the offices of the foundation.
Prior to purchasing the building with the help of the village, Light said the offices were within the famous architect's home and studio.
"You could be on a tour and the executive director would be on the phone negotiating for a grant," Light said.
Light has also spent the last 24 years traveling to countries such as Lithuania, Vietnam and Cambodia to train hand surgeons and perform surgeries on poverty-stricken children. This summer he plans to travel to Bangladesh and India as a representative of the American Society of Hand Surgeons to hold lectures, clinics and demonstration surgeries.
Most of his work overseas is with children born with congenital malformations or deformities of the hand, he said.
Mary T. Small, an organizer with Celebrating Seniors, said she nominated Light for the honor because he has volunteered his time locally and internationally.
"I am very impressed with the humanity of Dr. Light," she said.