TINLEY PARK, Ill. (September 2011) – “It’s challenging to commemorate a tragedy on the scale of what happened on 9/11,” says Richard Schutt, CEO of Providence Life Services. “But we didn’t want to let the tenth anniversary of September 11 pass without acknowledging it and thanking those who serve and protect us. Our local fire and police departments serve us so faithfully throughout the year. This week, our facilities all wanted to do something special to say, ‘Thank you for serving us,’ and ‘Thank you for serving America.'”
Providence Life Services manages senior living and skilled nursing communities throughout the Chicago suburbs and western Michigan. Most of these communities had already decided to commemorate 9/11 in some way, but when they heard each other’s ideas, the plans gained synergy. Rick Molenhouse, Community Manager at Victorian Village (Homer Glen, Illinois), personally delivered “a note of thanks and a bunch of nice, quality steaks” to Northwest Homer Fire and Ambulance Protection District Station #2 in Homer Glen. Mary Soule, Community Relations Director for Royal Park Place and Royal Atrium Inn (Zeeland, Michigan), is planning to gather some residents and have them deliver dinner or hot snacks, along with their personal thanks to Fire Chief Bill Gruppen of the Zeeland Fire Department. Kathy Higgens, Community Manager at Emerald Meadows (Grand Rapids, Michigan) will accompany a resident veteran and deliver lunch to the Cascade, Ada, and Lowell Fire Department and Sheriff Department.
On Friday, September 9, a small group representing Holland Home visited the South Holland Police and Fire Departments to express thanks for their service and special acknowledgement of the 10-year anniversary of September 11. 2001.
In Downers Grove, Illinois, Tammy Virgili of Saratoga Grove originally wanted to partner with another local business and deliver “fully loaded” pizzas to the Downers Grove Police and Fire Departments. Upon learning that gifts can no longer be accepted by these civil servants, she began thinking of other ways to express their gratitude. “We would love to be able to give them something,” she says, “because we recognize how much they give to our community. At the same time, we recognize that they don’t do it for the gifts, so we want to respect that too.” Saratoga Grove staff purchased giant thank-you cards, and every Saratoga Grove resident and staff member signed them. “We will personally deliver them to the stations to show our appreciation for the selfless sacrifices they make to keep us safe every day.”
Chef Kevin Risner, from Village Woods (Crete, Illinois), is planning to deliver an “extra special” lunch to the Crete Fire Department on Friday, September 9. Chef Kevin has been expressing appreciation through baked goods for four years, often as part of National Firefighters Appreciation Day in October. “He puts his heart into everything he does,” says Community Manager Lee Campbell, “and it shows. If Kevin is going to do something ‘extra special’ for our firemen this year, it’s because he is feeling something deeply that he wants to express.”
At Holland Home, the Providence Life Services community in South Holland, Illinois, staff members will deliver pizzas and cookies to the Fire Department and Police Department at 11:30am. Residents will commemorate the day with a special 9/11 service led by Chaplain Hank Elgersma. On Sunday, the actual anniversary day, residents will receive a 9/11 remembrance poem and a flag pin. “We have a number of veterans who live here,” says Community Manager Deana Wilson, “and we recognize that an anniversary like this holds special significance for people who have served their country through other difficult times.”
“I pray that this year, we all reflect on the brave men and women who serve us in our local fire and police departments,” says Richard Schutt. “At each Providence location the local staff wanted to express their thanks to those who protect our clients. The entire Providence family is grateful for their dedication.”