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Pillars: Recognition Event celebrates people who are changing lives

{left to right} Pillars Boar Chair Margie Morris (Hinsdale), Former Executive Director of Pillars Florence Forshey (LaGrange), Helen Sauer Brown Leadership in Development Award Winner Louise Hillegass (Hinsdale)

{left to right} Pillars Boar Chair Margie Morris (Hinsdale), Former Executive Director of Pillars Florence Forshey (LaGrange), Helen Sauer Brown Leadership in Development Award Winner Louise Hillegass (Hinsdale)

LAGRANGE PARK, IL – Statistics show that the average person will stay in one job for four years. Pillars, one of the leading mental health and social service agencies in the western suburbs, is privileged to have many staff members who spend their entire career at Pillars providing life changing mental health and social services. Pillars honored their commitment to excellence and community service at their annual staff event on May 15th. Among the staff honored were Patricia Seghers (30 years), Kathy Dean (25 years) as well as Pillars’ new President and CEO Ann Schreiner. Schreiner spent 13 years with the agency in the 1980’s, left for another opportunity and last week was honored for the 20 years she has been with the agency since her return in 1992.

The event also featured a number of special awards for community members:

Betsy and Bill McManaman (LaGrange) and Pat and Louise Hillegass (Hinsdale) both received the Helen Sauer Brown Leadership in Development Award. This award was given in honor of Helen Sauer Brown and her extraordinary commitment to the advancement of mental health services and philanthropy in the community.

Florence Forshey, former Executive Director of Pillars, presented the award to Pat and Louise Hillegass. Louise is currently a Pillars Board Member and long time supporter of the agency, helping to create fundraisers and serving on the Resource Development Committee. In receiving the award, Louise said to the Pillars staff present that “You are the ones who deserve the awards.”

Jim Durkan, former President of Community Memorial Foundation and recipient of the 2011 Helen Sauer Brown Award, presented the honor to Betsy and Bill McManaman. Bill McManaman has been a long time board member at Pillars and his wife Betsy has been a long time supporter of Pillars serving on the Resource Development Committee and the Pillars Ball Committee. Accepting the award, Betsy said “We are so happy to help you and help the clients who benefit so much from the work you do.”

Joan Smothers (LaGrange) received The Speciale Award for outstanding volunteerism, reflecting the uniqueness of its namesake, Shirley Speciale, who died in 2003. Shirley’s volunteer activities were myriad, extending way beyond her agency board membership, women’s board presidency, and tag days and benefit activities each year, to the United Way and involvement in her church. Joan Smothers started the Pillars’ House Tour in 1998 and over 13 years the event raised more than $600,000 for the agency. She is currently the chair of the Party for Pillars committee.

Community Nurse Health Association (LaGrange) and Corn Products International received the Community Collaborator Award. The award was created to recognize organizations that place a high value on collaboration within the community – a value Pillars shares and works to embody. Community Nurse Health Association partnered with Pillars in an effort to provide both medical and behavioral health to those who cannot afford it. Corn Products has been a long time supporter of Pillars through sponsorship, volunteerism and even donating furniture to the agency.

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Pillars is a leading mental health and social service agency in the western suburbs. Serving over 36 communities and close to 10,000 people annually, Pillars works to build healthier communities by providing quality mental health services, social services and education to people of all ages. To find out more about our services, please visit the Pillars website at www.pillarscommunity.org

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