JOLIET – An “extremely humbled” Will County Executive Larry Walsh received the Spirit of Community Caring Award from the Friends of Sunny Hill on Sunday, Oct. 28.
The presentation was made at the group’s brunch, Solid Gold & Glorious, at the Joliet Renaissance Center. The event was held to mark the 50th anniversary of the passing of the referendum that established the county-owned nursing home. It was only the third time the organization has presented the recognition since the Friends’ inception in 1989.
Emcee J.D. Ross, said in introducing Walsh that “the residents who call Sunny Hill their home have been lucky and honored to have many friends who through their work and dedication have made this facility one of the highest-rated facilities in the state of Illinois.
“Larry Walsh has been at the top of that list of champions for many years, not only as our Will County Executive, but as a state senator and before that, as a commissioner on the Will County Board. Larry’s voice and leadership were a huge part of the success of the recently completed 13-year $31 million renovation project.”
He said the Friends organization has “set a high bar for the recipients of the Spirit of Community Caring Award as evidenced by the high caliber of past recipients who supported the mission of Sunny Hill in extraordinary ways.”
Previous recipients were Richard “Mr. Sunny Hill” Tezak and KSKJ, the American Slovenian Catholic Union, Lodge No. 2, which founded Sunny Hill’s Music and Memories Program.
Walsh said he was “extremely humbled” to be given the Spirit of Community Caring Award, but said many people play a part in accomplishing projects at the nursing home.
“This is not a one-man job,” he said. He thanked the County Board for its commitment to Sunny Hill and the $31 million renovation. He also thanked the nursing home administration, staff and volunteers for all they do.
Most important are the residents. “The residents play a major role,” he said, noting they have a resident council which makes decisions about what they want for their lives. Among them, the residents wanted private rooms; now after gaining approval by the County Board, they have them.
“Working together, we can get things done.”
The Friends of Sunny Hill, Inc. is a non-profit organization dedicated to “friend-raising” and fundraising to benefit the residents of Sunny Hill Nursing Home of Will County, 421 Doris Ave. The group, currently led by President Claudia Green, provides items that there is no room for in the county budget.
For more information about the county-owned nursing home, go to www.willcountyillinois.com or the facility’s Facebook page.