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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 22, 2002

Governor Ryan Proclaims Volunteer Week in Illinois
Announces Recipients of Illinois Points Of Light Awards

SPRINGFIELD -- Governor George H. Ryan today proclaimed April 22 – 28, 2002 as Volunteer Week in Illinois and announced the Illinois Points of Light Award, the state’s award for volunteerism and community service.

“For millions of Americans, volunteering is an essential part of a well-rounded and meaningful lifestyle,” said Governor Ryan. “Volunteering renews our sense of civic responsibility and reaffirms our connection to communities.”

Governor Ryan encouraged Illinois residents to become more involved in volunteer activities and to nominate a volunteer they believe should be recognized for a Points of Light Award. The Illinois Points of Light Award program is an adaptation of the national Daily Points of Light Award created by former President George Bush. These state and national programs are designed to honor those who have made a commitment to volunteer service and to encourage individuals to spend time helping one another. The Points of Light Award program is administered by the Illinois Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service, a part of the Illinois Department of Human Services.

Leona Mroz of Arlington Heights, Beverly Potts of Deer Creek, and Charmaine Blessman of Western Springs are being honored by the Illinois Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service for their exemplary service to others and countless hours of volunteering.

Leona Mroz volunteers at the Harold Washington Library in Chicago. She provides library patrons with information on resources and services and takes her job a step further by distributing information on shows and programs. Mroz has served as a volunteer for the Red Cross for 20 years and has volunteered at the St. Roberts Bellamine Church for the past 10 years. Additionally, she is also a member of a sewing team that devotes time to infants with drug addictions.

Beverly Potts volunteers time toward the leadership of the Deer Creek Library. She played an instrumental role in relocating the library and securing additional resources for its operation. Potts has dedicated her spare time to moving furniture, staining and varnishing shelves, and making certain that projects are completed on time at the library. The new library building will have room for collection expansion, which in turn will provide more resources for everyone in the community.

Charmaine Blessman chairs the annual Neighborhood Environmental Appreciation Team (NEAT) event in Western Springs. NEAT volunteers clean streets and collect winter debris throughout the village. Blessman has organized the NEAT event for the past 10 years. In 2001, NEAT organized 542 youth and 254 adult volunteers and collected 7.19 tons of lawn waste, litter, and trash in the public areas of Western Springs. In addition, Blessman has co-chaired several groups at her church and served as a Girl Scout leader.

“Everyday, countless volunteers across the state give time and energy toward the needs of those who are less fortunate, the education of our children, the protection of our environment, and countless other acts of kindness – nothing more clearly exemplifies the American spirit,” Governor Ryan said.

To receive information or a nomination form, contact the Illinois Commission of Volunteerism and Community Service at 217-558-2663 or write to the Commission at 618 E. Washington, 1st Floor, Springfield, IL 62701. Additional information about the Points of Light Award program and other state and national service programs can be found on the Illinois Volunteerism and Community Service website.



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