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Thursday, April 25, 2024

Friends help tell Councilman Hinterlong’s story as 14 years of public service end


Above / Surrounded by planners of the attractive Pollinator Station alongside City Hall, six years ago Councilman Paul Hinterlong joined Mayor Chirico and others to launch 2017 Earth Week at the site of the then-new garden. City Manager Doug Krieger as well as former council members Judy Brodhead and Rebecca Boyd-Obarski were present, too. During Councilman Hinterlong’s final City Council meeting on April 18, 2023, Earth Week in Naperville, April 16-23, also was recognized. (PN File Photo, 2017.)

Paul Hinterlong, a 6th generation Napervillian, always has exuded passion about his hometown—its past, present and future. The 1983 graduate of Naperville North High School who later attended College of DuPage is known to find ways to grow with the community as it’s developed from a small rural community into the fourth largest city in Illinois.

The Penick family has considered Hinterlong a personal friend for nearly 30 years. We first met when he was a young man of 27 years, actively serving the Naperville Area Homeowners Confederation for his subdivision known as WHOA (Westside Homeowners Association). 

Out of PN Files… Back in January 2002, Paul Hinterlong attended the Naperville Area Homeowners Confederation Trade Show where he met up with other residents Gerry Cassioppi, Pete Stefani and Lisa Tuttle. (PN Picture from the February 2002 Publication)

Over time, our experience with Hinterlong has been to observe he’s a good listener, lover of freedom and common sense, as well as an enthusiastic community volunteer who displays respect for men and women who honorably serve their country. 

Hinterlong also has a recognizable laugh and wonderful sense of humor as he aims to support what’s best for his hometown. Have a need for volunteers to serve beverages in a beer tent at a community event? Paul is quick to organize a team to help.

Have a need for another volunteer to help distribute poppies in time for Memorial Day?

Jim Hoch and Paul Hinterlong have been known to team up during VFW Buddy Poppy distribution in front of Casey’s Foods the week prior to Memorial Day. (PN File Photo, 2021)

Few volunteers have given more time to Poppy Day collections during the week up to Memorial Day than Paul Hinterlong. What’s more, Hinterlong has long been a frequenter of events at the VFW and always a supporter of Veterans’ causes.

Over time, in 2009, Hinterlong decided to run for the Naperville City Council, a position he won and was re-elected to serve over and over. Right now, the retiring councilman is preparing for the inauguration of the newly-elected Mayor and City Council, having ended 14 years of dedicated service as City Councilman because the City has term limits. 

City Council campaign kick-off events at Hugo’s Frog Pond attracted folks in support of Hinterlong who left with the familiar red “Elect Paul Hinterlong” yard signs.

When our daughter, Ashley, heard we were putting together a “thank you” story for Hinterlong, she quickly added, “You always know where Paul is coming from. And I’m grateful you always knew he’d do what he said he’d do to make things happen.”

Friends and pictures help tell Paul Hinterlong’s story

Naperville City Council – Naperville, Illinois – April 18, 2023 – Pictured are Council members Ian Holzhauer, Benny White, Jennifer Bruzan Taylor, Paul Leong, Mayor Steve Chirico (Did not seek third term), Paul Hinterlong (Termed out and retiring after 14 years), Nicki Anderson (Retiring after filling vacancy since Dec. 2022), Theresa Sullivan (Did not seek second term) and Patrick Kelly (Re-elected). The City Council with Mayor-Elect will be sworn in on April 30, 2023. (Photo by Jim Hoch)

Another friend, photographer Jim Hoch, had plenty to say about his friendship with the Naperville Councilman during the past 14 years. In fact, Hoch attended Councilman Hinterlong’s last official business meeting serving on the Naperville City Council to capture it in photos.

“I was over at Paul’s house one day and asked him what that big stack of papers was,” Hoch recalled. “He said, ‘Well, that’s the information for the next City Council meeting.’ My eyes got as huge as saucers…had to be well over 600 pages of information.

“So I asked Paul if he reads it all. He said ‘yes,’ and he also talks over anything he doesn’t understand with city staff and relevant citizens if something isn’t clear,” Hoch continued. “I asked if this were normal, and again Paul said, ‘Yes.’ …Every two weeks he has that much stuff to read and understand to truly be an informed councilman. I hope people understand and appreciate what a dedicated and valued servant he has been to the Naperville community over these 14 years.”

Hoch considers Hinterlong to be the “Mr. Naperville” of collections.

“At every event that has a program, he will take the program and have the speaker and other dignitaries sign it, for posterity’s sake,” Hoch continued. “He buys any and all Naperville memorabilia he can get his hands on, from old photos of downtown to postcards and artifacts. I’m sure he could give the Naper Settlement a run for their money when it comes to the history of Naperville! 

“I’ve also had the privilege and honor of being in on a couple of his privy digs. …Never knew there was that much history down at the bottom of an old outhouse. But there is, and Paul goes after it!” added Hoch.

Note that Hinterlong has been employed in the plumbing industry since 1987.

Judge Don Hennessy swears in City Councilman Paul Hinterlong for his final 4-year term on May 5, 2019. (PN File Photo)

“Greg and I actually have only grown to be friends with Paul since he’s been on the council,” said Deb Waite. “That was about that same time he purchased my parents’ house (not far from his current home) with a plan to update it and move in. Well, life got in the way and he’s still working on the house. When you’re all in for the community,  you don’t have a lot of time for DIY (Do It Yourself).”

Deb Waite added, “Maybe now Paul can carve time out to finish that project and get the dog he’s talked about getting post council days. Gonna mention that I just happen to know an exceptional rescue with some awesome pups (wink, wink).

City Council Meeting Public Comments, April 18, 2023

Then on April 18, when Councilman Hinterlong was about to begin serving his final City Council meeting after 14 years, longtime friend Anna Zimmerman stepped up to the podium during public comments.

Anna Zimmerman and Paul Hinterlong are longtime supporters of events that benefit Naperville Responds for Veterans.

“Today is Paul Hinterlong’s last meeting as city councilman,” Zimmerman began. “I want to take a few minutes to talk about Paul Hinterlong, a dedicated and passionate city councilman who has been serving your community for the last 14 years.

“For the past 30 years Paul has made Naperville his number one priority. His generous contributions volunteering time, talent, and resources are an extension of the strong examples of public service he witnessed from previous generations of Naperville leaders; men and women who built this town.

“Kindness, honesty, empathy, knowledge, and energy are some of the strengths Paul has shared with Naperville. His can-do spirit, discipline, humor and patience helped guide citizens to become the community that you enjoy today.

“One of the things I admire most about Paul is his volunteering prior to election to Naperville City Council in 2009,” Zimmerman said.

Back in the 1980s and 1990s, a long list of boards, commissions and committees welcomed Paul’s service, including Naperville Planning and Zoning Commissioner, Westside Homeowners Association President, Community First founding Board Member, Centennial Park Skate Park Citizen Committee member, Centennial Beach 75th and Naperville Park District 40th Anniversary Aquathon Committee and Naperville’s 175th birthday Planning Committee.

After Paul was elected in 2009, he continued to volunteer on at least a half dozen various boards and nonprofits such as Alive Center, Citizens Appreciate Public Safety Board and Crime Stoppers Board.

“Paul is a dedicated and passionate city councilman who has made a positive impact on your community, Zimmerman added as she continued to address the dais.

“Paul is committed to carrying on the traditions of old Naperville, like those who gave before us.

For more than a decade, the Annual Judd-A-Thon held in the parking area for the Riverwalk Grand Pavilion has attracted Paul Hinterlong and many friends every September for a very short run/walk to benefit the VFW National Home.

“When he was young, he remembers how the community came together to build the first section of the Riverwalk. Everyone chipped in and lent a hand. Even as a kid he recognized what community meant. He always dreamed of someday being like those before us. And he is!

“His work inspires not only the next generations, but new residents to your town. Whether serving on a board to help kids, the disabled, the community, or Veterans, Paul has continued to help wherever he feels needed,” she said.

Zimmerman wrapped up with a quote attributed to Naperville native Judge Win G. Knoch ((May 24, 1895 – May 23, 1983), former Commander of the American Legion Post 43 who had served in the Army. Judge Knoch also had been instrumental in helping establish Centennial Beach, Edward Hospital and much, much more.

She credited Hinterlong’s favorite quote as one by Judge Knoch: “Any town worth living in, is worth doing something for.”

Naperville City Council displays appreciation to Councilman Paul Hinterlong  – April 18, 2023 (Photo by Jim Hoch)

Supporter Appreciation Party is April 21, 2023

Earlier in the month, Hinterlong and his supporters invited family, friends and neighbors to a Supporter Appreciation Party from 5PM to 8PM Fri., April 21, at the Judd Kendall VFW, 908 W. Jackson Avenue.

“Stop by for some good conversation, stories, laughs and camaraderie,” said grateful Hinterlong. “It’s a party to thank all my supporters! Just stop by. Pizza and hors d’oeuvres will be served.”

For two decades, Paul Hinterlong and Nancy Quigley have been regular supporters of running events that benefited the Jeanine Narcarico Memorial Fund for Literacy. Kindly note that the fund will continue to support the community, but the annual Glow 5K fundraiser will have its last lap May 20, 2023, at Fifth Avenue Station. Hinterlong also has participated in many other local charity runs, including the the Healthy Driven Naperville Half Marathon and 5K. {PN File Photo, 2014)

From one run to the next, Councilman Hinterlong has served his community well. Thanks, Paul!

Update, 7:50 PM Fri., April 21, 2023 / The party’s almost over! Thanks to the Hinterlong family!

With family by his side, Paul Hinterlong received an abundance of good wishes from hundreds of supporters who stopped by the VFW to say thanks for his first 14 years of public service. What’s next?

Editor’s Note / (Wink Wink) by Deb Waite is a reference to her participation in New Start Dog Rescue, an all-volunteer foster rescue organization. Hinterlong has hinted to friends that a dog just might be in his future.


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An editor is someone who prepares content for publishing. It entered English, the American Language, via French. Its modern sense for newspapers has been around since about 1800.


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