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Naperville
Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Chronicling community spirit

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Twenty-two years ago, Positively Naperville began chronicling ways Naperville is a special place to live. This newspaper has reached back in time and told about the great community spirit that has helped build our city.

Historically, we can think back to when our town was small and people banded together to build Centennial Beach. Then we can appreciate all that the local heritage Naper Settlement has to offer. Where would we be if the 13 acres that were part of the George Martin Estate had not been donated to the City? Then a few people banded together in 1969 to form the Heritage Society so our history would be preserved in a way that all citizens could fully appreciate this gift to the City.

So many stories showcase how a few good people started something small that grew into a large philanthropic organization. For instance, many years ago, a small group of men started the Jaycees which has led to the annual Last Fling celebration. Then there’s the Junior Woman’s Club and Safety Town and thousands of dollars donated to philanthropic purposes.

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In 1965, a few women started teaching special needs children in their homes. That effort grew into Little Friends. In 1984, some members of St. Raphael Parish began a food pantry and served eight families that year. Their efforts gave birth to Loaves and Fishes.

Community spirit was also evident in 2009 when a small group formed Naperville Responds for Veterans (NRFV). Their goal is to ensure safe living conditions for local Veterans and their families in time of need. They uncovered the special needs of older veterans living on fixed incomes. Some projects have been small, like installing ramps so veterans using walkers do not have to climb steps to get into their homes. Or maybe NRFV volunteers install a chair lift so a Veteran can get upstairs to a bedroom in a house that he has called home for decades. They have helped make bathrooms handicapped accessible. They have provided new furnaces for veterans who could not afford to replace old units.

Any Veteran from Naperville or surrounding suburbs can go to the NFRV website (www.napervilleresponds.org) to request help to maintain a safe living environment.

In order to fund their charitable works, NFRV holds a cocktail party they call “Cheers!” in November. This year the Cheers for Veterans will be held from 7PM to 10PM on Thurs., Nov. 16, at Elements in downtown Naperville.

If you’d like to support their efforts while having a great time, find out how to get tickets at www.napervilleresponds.org. If you can’t be part of the fun at the party, consider participating in the raffle in conjunction with the party. That information is also on their website.

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Sue Jelinek
Sue Jelinek
Sue Jelinek welcomes story ideas from ship to shore. Contact her at jelinst@sbcglobal.net.

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