Retiree finds new undertaking with Assistance League

Sue Boutin was ready to enter a more philanthropic phase of her life after her retirement three years ago. She wanted a role that would help serve the needs of others and give her a sense of purpose.

Boutin found Assistance League Chicagoland West, and this publication is proud to have assisted, albeit unwittingly.

"I started looking around and actually saw an article in The Hinsdalean on ALCW," remarked the 25-year Hinsdale resident. "I went, 'OK, that's local. I'll go to that.' "

The village-based nonprofit organization, which supports the under-resourced in DuPage and western Cook counties through coat drives, early reading programs and furnishing kitchen essentials among other outreach activities, invites others to find a purpose with them at an informational coffee at 10 a.m. Monday, March 28, at the ALCW office. (see Page 24 for details).

Boutin said she appreciated the spectrum of involvement levels ALCW affords.

"You can volunteer for the things that you like or you can take a leadership role and you can be on the board," she related.

Boutin opted for the latter, and currently serves as chair of the finance committee and assistant treasurer.

"I was willing to take a chance to learn new things," she said, adding that she also engages in the hands-on service opportunities that ALCW sends out at the start of each week.

"I still do all the other things too - I still pack kitchens and do as much as I can."

Working with numbers is an area of expertise for Boutin, who studied to be an actuarial for many years and was executive director of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District retirement fund.

She said her ALCW tasks keep her skills sharp and her social life active, though she admitted to missing the fitness routine that was part of her regular commute downtown.

"I would walk to the train at West Hinsdale, then walk to my office at Michigan & Erie and get all my exercise in one day," Boutin quipped.

She and husband Bob enjoy regular jaunts to their home in Michigan, where they are sometimes joined by their two children, their spouses and a total of seven grandchildren.

When their daughter Jennifer married a fellow Hinsdalean, Boutin was hopeful they would settle nearby. But her son-in-law's career with the U.S. Navy doesn't lend itself to putting down roots.

"Every two years, they pack up their house and go to a new place," she said, before noting the silver lining. "We got to travel the world seeing them."

Visits with son Craig and his family in Clarendon Hills require less mileage.

Boutin said ALCW could use more servant-hearted people, especially as the pandemic's impact becomes clearer.

"This year (ALCW is) really packing a lot of kitchens. I think a lot of people, with COVID, kind of waited but now are requesting these items.

"It is a good chance to give back to the community," she said of the organization. "And the time you put in is very flexible depending on what your personal family responsibilities are. They're great people to work with."

- story by Ken Knutson, photo by Jim Slonoff

Author Bio

Ken Knutson is associate editor of The Hinsdalean