Valentine recipients embrace chance to give back

Love is in the air with the approach of Valentine’s Day. The occasion affords us the perfect opportunity for heartful recognition of those who selflessly serve Hinsdale’s nonprofits and faith communities. The organizations hope you feel their love!

Wellness House volunteer Gabrielle Sirchio has truly made a difference since joining the Unique Boutique Salon crew last summer, using her skills and passion as a stylist to help patients navigate hair changes during and after cancer treatment.

• Laura Wisniowski is appreciated by the Hinsdale Humane Society for her financial support — and bringing her mom in to adopt a cat!

• Joan Chiaviello and Mary Walsh, volunteer coordinators for HCS Family Services’ 2022 holiday program, brought passion and dedication to the task, working some 175 hours to bring smiles to 955 neighbors in need.

• Jim Honigschmidt came out of retirement when Union Church found itself in a period of transition awaiting the new hire of a building manager. Without skipping a beat, the longtime member eagerly agreed to spend his time keeping the building and school running smoothly and during the winter months. The church couldn’t have done it without him, and the entire church and teaching staff is grateful.

• Gayle Perzek, Elaine Adams and Darlene Piasecki have a combined 35 years of commitment as volunteer wig consultants for Wellness House’s Wig Boutique House. They show kindness and compassion as they help each individual look and feel like themselves by finding just the right wig to manage hair loss during cancer treatment.

• Mike Rimmele and Steve O’Donnell serve as parking pros at HCS Family Services’ Anne M. Jeans Elementary School food pantry every Wednesday. Whatever the weather conditions, they dutifully and expertly direct 140 cars off 91st Street into the school parking lot. Their experience directing traffic at concerts and sports venues is highly valued and their service greatly appreciated.

• David Hess, Union Church of Hinsdale’s outgoing moderator, has been serving as the moderator and vice-moderator over the last two years. During that time he’s helped guide the church through the pandemic, return to in-person worship, ordain a new minister, welcome new members and watch attendance return and surpass pre-pandemic numbers. His strength of character, steady pragmatic approach and genuine spirit of friendliness made this all possible, and staff will miss working with him and the way he gave himself to the role on a daily basis.

• MaryJo Wangelin, Jane Both, Maureen Hartweger and Kathy Shaughnessy are on the Wednesday afternoon volunteer crew at the Anne M. Jeans pantry. They discuss books, movies, recipes and more while sorting produce and bread items, making bread bags and setting up the shelf stable bags. Longtime volunteers, every week their first question is still, “How can we help today?”

• Barbara Early is one of the inside cart preparation volunteers at HCS Family Services Monday food pantry in Hinsdale and lights up the pantry with her smile as she energetically leads the crew each week quickly and efficiently.

• Lorraine Wolfe, who passed away last month, was one of the earliest supporters of Wellness House and instrumental to its success for the past 33 years as a grassroots organizer and a dedicated advocate for the organization. She will forever be in Wellness House’ heart.