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When I first heard Pat Zubak was retiring from her post as executive director of Downtown Oak Park, I had mixed emotions. I was happy for Pat's gain — more family time, more leisure time — but sad for the loss this represents for DTOP.
For the past eight years, going back to when Pat and I wore different hats — she as the head of Elmhurst's downtown organization and me as a newspaper reporter — I have always appreciated Pat's professionalism and personality. In recent years, after our roles changed, I have been honored by Pat's entrusting me to provide public relations and marketing support for Downtown Oak Park.
Without Pat, there is no Guinness World Record attempt for history's largest mass dog wedding and there is no Super Shopper Spotter campaign, to name only a few events in which she played an instrumental role. Can you imagine a world without "I Do, Doggone It!" or a masked, red-caped character cavorting around in red boots thrusting gift certificates in shoppers' hands?
Pat's creativity and imagination, along with her willingness to give others the space to exercise those same qualities, have conspired to lead Downtown Oak Park down a path of continually stretching to deliver fresh and fun events to the entire region. Even as she will be sorely missed, Pat's impact and influence are sure to reverberate for many years to come. As she moves onward, I wish her and her entire family nothing but the best.