When BAPA’s Beverly/Morgan Park/Mount Greenwood Memorial Day Parade steps off following the Ridge Run on May 28, everyone in the line of march and gathering along Longwood Drive to watch the parade should reflect on the true meaning of the day: Honoring the men and woman who have given their lives in active service with the U.S. Armed Forces.
With members of the American Gold Star Mothers leading the parade as Grand Marshals, the solemnity of the day will be particularly poignant. Gold Star Mothers have lost a son or daughter in military service. Neighborhood resident Modie Lavin, whose son Marine Cpl. Conner T. Lowry was killed in action in Afghanistan in 2012, will be among the Gold Star Mothers in the parade. Lavin is the Family Outreach Coordinator for the Road Home Program for veterans at Rush University Medical Center, presenting sponsor of the parade.
Area Gold Star Mothers are encouraged to join the group of parade Grand Marshals.
About Gold Star Mothers
The American Gold Star Mothers was officially organized on June 4, 1928 in Washington DC, but it was the death of a young man from Chicago during military service in World War I that inspired the creation of this national organization. The young man – Lieut. George Vaughn Seibold – volunteered to be an aviator in 1917. In Dec. 1918, after not hearing from him for many months, his family was notified that Lieut. Seibold had been killed in action in France.
During the period when George was serving in the Great War, his mother, Grace Darling Seibold, visited wounded troops in Washington DC, comforting many young men whose mothers could not be there themselves. Following news of her son’s death, Seibold realized that devoting time to other mothers who shared her pain of loss gave her a sense of peace and purpose.
At about the same time, Lillian A. White, whose son Frank A. White also died in WWI, was among the women organizing the Chicago Council of Gold Star Mothers. Similar groups had been organizing throughout the country, identifying as Gold Star Mothers because of the service flags displayed in the homes of families who had members serving in the war: Blue stars designated a son or daughter actively serving, and gold stars signified that a son or daughter had died in service. Wanting to be part of a larger initiative the groups affiliated into the national group which was chartered as a nondenominational, not-for-profit, nonpolitical organization.
Parade Party Raises Funds for Gold Star Mothers Memorial
Some time before they became a part of the national group, the Chicago Council of Gold Star Mothers erected a stone memorial in honor of the men and women who gave their lives in World War I at the then peaceful southeast corner of what is now the busy intersection of 87th and Western. Over the decades that monumentl was forgotten and fell into extreme disrepair. A few years ago, it was rediscovered by volunteers in the Dan Ryan Woods. A group of neighborhood residents organized by Tim Noonan is working to have the memorial restored. Last fall, the memorial was decommissioned in a formal ceremony and placed in storage while the group raises funds for the restoration and placement in a permanent and more visible location in the woods.
In honor of the American Gold Star Mothers, BAPA is hosting a Memorial Day Parade kick-off event Thurs., Apr. 19, 7 to 9 p.m. at Cork and Kerry, 10614 S. Western. Admission is $25 and proceeds will be donated to the restoration of the Gold Star Mothers Memorial. The event includes beverages and food, as well as music. The community is invited to attend. People unable to attend the event but who would like to support the endeavor to restore the memorial can contact Tim Noonan, firstname.lastname@example.org or 773-852-3080.
The continuing focus of the American Gold Star Mothers is to support one another and to assist U.S. Armed Forces veterans from all wars and conflicts in getting the help they need. Gold Star Mothers also participate in in patriotic work and foster a sense of individual obligation to the community, state and nation. Membership in the American Gold Star Mothers is open to any woman who is a U.S. citizen or legal resident who has lost a son or daughter in active military service.
Participate in the Parade
Area groups, families, organizations and businesses are invited to march behind the Gold Star Mothers in the Memorial Day Parade. The oldest community Memorial Day parade in Chicago features military vehicles, a color guard, scout troops, historical figures, floats, vehicles, flags, music and the Jesse White Tumblers.
For information about participating in the Memorial Day Parade or to purchase tickets to the fund raising event, visit www.bapa.org or call 773-233-3100. For information about the Chicago Council of Gold Star Mothers Memorial, visit www.ccgsm.org or call Tim Noonan.
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Today, I am filled with gratitude! Together we experienced another great set of events for our community!! Thank you to all those who participated and volunteered to make the Beverly Hills/Morgan Park Home Tour and the Ridge Run and Memorial Day Parade huge successes.
These events bring over 5,000 people together in our community and would not be possible without the 300 volunteers who step up each year to help. More than ever we count on volunteers to support the BAPA staff and make these events special. Every May I am humbled by the thousands of participants and volunteers who connect with our community through BAPA. It is truly inspiring! THANK YOU!
The Beverly Area Planning Association’s mission is “to sustain and enhance Beverly/Morgan Park as a safe, culturally diverse Village in the City with increasing home values, high quality schools, thriving commercial areas and a low crime rate.” But more than that, our mission is to highlight the neighborhood to potential investors, attract new neighbors and continue the tradition of excellence this neighborhood as long enjoyed. To me, year after year the events presented in May and throughout the summer complete this mission.
In addition to volunteers these events would not be possible without our generous sponsors who love this community as we do. Please take time to support those businesses that support our community and the Beverly Area Planning Association.
Looking forward to June and the summer is very exciting as well! As the weather warms we will see the parks and libraries fill up with kids for summer programs and, hopefully, take time to enjoy our community. Each Thursday in June beginning June 8, meet us at the 103rd Street Metra for free Family Fun Nights. There will be food, entertainment and lots of fun for the family! Also mark your calendars for Bikes and Brews, the 15th annual Beverly Hills Cycling Classic, Fri., July 14 at 107th and Longwood. Most of all have a safe and happy kick off to summer! I look forward to seeing everyone!
All the best,
Event includes Memorial Day Parade, Post-Race Festival, Kids Area and More
Dig out your tube socks, sweat bands and jogging shorts — Beverly Area Planning Association (BAPA) is reaching back to the seventies for the 40th Annual Ridge Run through the historic Beverly neighborhood on Memorial Day, Mon., May 29. Races start and finish at Ridge Park, 9625 S. Longwood Dr., Chicago.
In commemoration of the anniversary, registered runners who participate in the races will receive a finisher medal. The post-race festival includes food, beer and family activities in Ridge Park, and the event includes the Beverly Hills/Morgan Park/Mount Greenwood Memorial Day Parade.
One of Chicago’s favorite neighborhood races, the Ridge Run is well-known for the thousands of spectators that line the route, cheering on the runners, offering water and playing music. Neighbors are encouraged to be part of this amazing event, add your voices to the cheering, and make your way to Longwood Drive for one of Chicago’s oldest community Memorial Day parades.
Race options include 10K run, 5K run or untimed walk, Ridge Run Challenge 5K and 10K, and the untimed Youth Mile. Participants can register online at www.bapa.org through May 24, but you must be registered by May 4 to guarantee receiving a T-shirt. Race details and registration are available at www.bapa.org under events. This year’s race is a CARA certified Runners Choice race.
Little Company of Mary Hospital Returns as Presenting Sponsor
Little Company of Mary Hospital and Health Care Centers is presenting sponsor of the Ridge Run, and generously supplies the Ridge Run doctor and first aid tent as well as on-site free blood pressure checks and general health information. Children are invited to learn about good health and receive a free gift (while they last) from the Little Company of Mary volunteers.
Little Company of Mary Hospital has been tending to area patients since the 1930s. State-of-the-art medical technologies and services are offered at their Evergreen Park hospital as well as satellite centers. For information on the wide variety of medical services and health education opportunities or to find a physician, visit www.lcmh,org.
Road Home Program is Parade Presenting Sponsor
The Ridge Run event is a great morning for athletes and spectators alike. The Memorial Day Ceremony honoring the men and women in the US Armed Forces who have given their lives for our freedom will be held in the park at 9 a.m. The Beverly Hills/Morgan Park/Mount Greenwood Memorial Day Parade steps off from at 110th Place and Longwood Drive and follows the last of the Ridge Run 5K participants, and marches north to Ridge Park. U.S. Army veteran Rich Doyle is Grand Marshal of this year’s Memorial Day Parade. Doyle served in the Vietnam War and rose through the ranks, ultimately becoming a sergeant during this three years on active duty.
The Road Home Program: The Center for Veterans and Their Families at Rush University Medical Center is presenting sponsor of the Beverly Hills/Morgan Park/Mount Greenwood Memorial Day Parade. The Road Home Program provides individualized care to veterans and their families to help heal the “invisible wounds of war.” The program is committed to helping all veterans returning home to address service and combat-related health and mental health issues as well as family challenges. Services are provided regardless of ability to pay. Beverly/Morgan Park neighbor Modie Lavin is the Community Outreach Coordinator, and she can be reached at 312-942-8354.
Among the many groups participating in the Memorial Day Parade are the Morgan Park High School State Champ basketball team, Mount Greenwood Special Olympics gold medalist in the recent Austria games Tommy Shimoda, Jesse White Tumblers, Beverly Bombshells, area Cub Scout, Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops, Ridge Historical Society, military groups, schools and teams. Anyone interested in marching can by calling 773-233-3100 or at www.bapa.org on the Ridge Run registration page.
Stepping Up the Pace for Fun
The Ridge Run begins with the 10K at 8 a.m. followed by the youth mile at 8:10 and 5K at 9:30. Mike Haggerty Buick, GMC, Volkswagen is sponsor of the 10K and provides the Ridge Run pace car.
The Ridge Run finish line takes runners right into the post-race festival area in Ridge Park. Runners and spectators are invited to enjoy food and beer, the Tot Trot, face painting, a visit from Nature’s Creatures and other activities. Beverly Bank is sponsoring the children’s area.
Running Club Challenge
Running teams, families, school running clubs will be well represented in this year’s Ridge Run! More than a dozen local schools are participating in the youth 5K training program. Last year, Clissold Elementary School at 110th and Western had the biggest running club with 100+ members. This year, BAPA and Clissold School are challenging other school teams to be bigger and better. The team with the best turn out will win a plaque and have special Ridge Run team T-shirts for next year’s race.
The Youth Mile, sponsored by Southtown Health Foods, is open to children age 6 to 13. Members of the Chicago Special Olympics at Mount Greenwood Park will be leading the Youth Mile and also volunteering.
Train with an Elite Athlete
Kate DeProsperis of Clarendon Hills, an elite runner who chose the Ridge Run to help train for her second trip to the Olympic Marathon Trials later this year, will offer a free Ridge Run training session Wed., May 17, 4 p.m., Ridge Park, 9625 S. Longwood Dr. DeProsperis’ latest marathon time clocked in at a speedy 2:42:49, and she’s running the Ridge Run 10K with the goal of achieving a personal best. Local runner who join her for the training session will learn from one of the fastest marathoners in the Midwest. For info, contact Margot Holland at email@example.com.
Registration and Race Day
Online registration closes on May 24, but advance registration continues at Running Excels, 10328 S. Western, May 24 through 27, and at Ridge Park, Sun., May 28, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Race day registration opens at 6:30 a.m. at Ridge Park. Race start times are 10K run, 8 a.m., Youth Mile, 8:10 a.m., and 5K run and untimed walk, 9:30 a.m. Race details and the schedule for advance registration and packet pick-up is at www.bapa.org under Events.
Sponsors of the 40th Annual Ridge Run are Little Company of Mary Hospital and Health Care Centers (presenting sponsor), Mike Haggerty Buick, GMC, Volkswagen, Beverly Bank & Trust, Road Home Program (Memorial Day Parade sponsor), Beverly Hills Animal Hospital, Southtown Health Foods, Marquette Bank, 19th Ward Youth Foundation, County Fair, The Private Bank, Commissioner Bridget Gainer, Pendo Advisors LLC, AT&T, PLS, Running Excels, 670The SCORE, AthleteX, Sports & Ortho Physical Therapy, WSHE 100.3, Marathon Sportswear, TreadFit, The Beverly Review, AlphaGraphics, Calabria Imports, Trace Ambulance, Beverly Records, Original Rainbow Cone, Cork & Kerry, Dino Jump, Chicago Park District, Mariano’s, Health Advocates and Special Olympics/Mount Greenwood Park.
The Ridge Run raises funds for the Beverly Area Planning Association, a not-for-profit organization serving Chicago’s Beverly/Morgan Park neighborhood. Information: 773-233-3100 or https://bapa.org/events/ridge-run-parade/
By Willie Winters
“When a community comes together, good things happen.”
After reading former BAPA executive director Chuck Shanabruch’s article in the April issue of The Villager, I was reminded of how difficult the challenge of maintaining a strong, vibrant community can be. Chuck laid out the key programs and areas of work that BAPA has so steadfastly maintained over the years.
During my tenure as executive director, BAPA continued to push the organization’s original mission and, I believe, accomplished good outcomes in many areas including maintaining quality schools and improving retail corridors, community safety and housing. This was due to a talented BAPA staff which at the time included Adeline Ray, Marcia Walsh, Alice Collins, Pam Holt and Grace Kuikman all working together with a strong and committed board.
BAPA board members worked tirelessly to keep our community moving in the right direction. I was especially grateful for the insightful and professional direction we received from the board presidents. Tom Hogan, Rosa Hudson, Greg Richmond, Mike Stanton and Melody Camp were terrific leaders who made tough decisions, all in the interest of keeping BAPA strong and on task.
Mike Sise, who headed up the Beverly Morgan Park CDC, deserves special recognition for his development work in our community and for gifting BAPA’s current location to the organization in 2005.
Programs are the outward mechanisms of an organization that push forward the mission, but in order to keep programs solid you have to have resources. BAPA is self-funded, largely through the generous donations of community residents and businesses. Community events are also a significant source of income and support for BAPA’s programs.
During the eight years I was with BAPA our events underwent significant changes. Many folks in our community don’t necessarily like change, but it’s necessary to breathe new life into events with both subtle and sometimes dramatic changes. In 2001, we changed the route of the Ridge Run (which celebrates its 40th run this Memorial Day!). The route was extended south of 111th Street for the first time with the idea of including more parts of the community in the race while giving the runners a change of scenery. (The route has since moved back north of 111th Street due to higher costs of street closures etc.) We also added chip timing, enhanced runner refreshments, dri-tech shirts and the youth mile. The Memorial Day celebration included the traveling Viet Nam Wall one year.
We introduced a fall festival on the grounds of Morgan Park Academy that was mildly successful the first year and even visited by the young Obama family. The next year it was, literally, snowed out.
The Snowflake Ball was one of BAPA’s signature events and great fundraiser for many years but as The Plaza deteriorated and lost business, we saw a drop in attendance. We moved it to St. Xavier University for a few years, but it never gained back its old charm and we decided to cancel it.
Fortunately we were able to bring an exciting new event to the community in the summer of 2003, the Beverly Hills Cycling Classic. Thanks to assistance from David Kennedy, who was with the Mayor’s Office of Special events at that time, we were introduced to the operators of the oldest criterium series in the country and became the first Chicago location for the race. The BHCC still takes place every July, providing the excitement of bicycle racing along with the opportunity to spend time with friends and neighbors in a festival setting.
All of the BAPA events are designed to bring people to our community while bringing our community together. We want others to see the beauty of our neighborhood and perhaps come back to purchase a home and become part of our community.
Hundreds of residents were introduced to the Beverly/Morgan park community through BAPA events. Many people have remarked of how they were impressed by all of the volunteers who welcomed them to our community.
More importantly, events build community. The Beverly/Morgan Park area is divided into little communities by geography, parishes, churches, schools and civic associations. Community wide events bring everybody together to celebrate, participate and share our stories. Because at the heart of any good community is a story that must be told, improved on and shared. It’s what makes our community and any community special.
See you in the neighborhood.
By Grace Kuikman
For Beverly/Morgan Park resident Modie Lavin, working with the Road Home Program: The Center for Veterans and Their Families is a calling, not a career. The program, which opened in March 2014 at Rush University Medical Center, helps veterans recently deployed from active duty resume life with their families, friends and neighbors back home. That’s not always easy.
Whether or not the men and women in our armed services have been in combat, a tour of duty in the military is often filled with stress and difficulty. Because of what these veterans have experienced, they frequently come home changed — some of them profoundly – by what Lavin, who joined the Road Home Program as a Community Outreach Coordinator in March 2015, calls “the invisible wounds of war.”
For the veterans, those “invisible wounds” range from depression and anxiety to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury and other combat- or service-related issues for which the Road Home Program offers a variety of counseling, rehabilitation and outpatient services. The program also provides services for the families of veterans that help partners, spouses, parents and children better understand what the veterans are going through, provide support to the veteran, and cope with family challenges.
Lavin, whose son, Marie Cpl. Conner T. Lowry, died during combat operations in Afghanistan in March 2012, feels especially committed to reaching military families with the help they need and deserve.
“So often we forget about the family members,” Lavin said, recalling her own loss, grief and ongoing recovery, “Families are not only affected by a death, but by the enlistment and the changes that take place in the household. The family’s dynamics change, their worries change.”
When Lavin accepted her job with the Road Home Program, she viewed it as a way to fill a void in her life as well as a way to help others whose struggles she so deeply understands. “It was part of my journey and mission to overcome the tremendous loss of Cpl. Conner T. Lowry. I do this work in honor of him, and to help his brothers and sisters who are returning home from their service in the military.”
As a Community Outreach Coordinator, Lavin works with area families providing education and awareness about the “invisible wounds of war” and the services available at the Road Home Program. She meets with individuals, makes presentations at meetings and schools to help people better understand and identify the unique issues facing veterans, hosts events designed to enlighten and educate, and works hard to make sure that the many veterans in our community and beyond know that high quality help is available.
“For families that might need me, I’m here to help,” she said.
Lavin also puts a focus on local veterans through events. The Road Home is presenting sponsor of this year’s Beverly/Morgan Park/Mount Greenwood Memorial Day Parade on May 29. Lavin is also working with the Chicago Park District, Warrior Summit Coalition, City of Chicago Commission on Human Relations and Advisory Council on Veterans Affairs and 19th Ward Ald. Matt O’Shea to organize the Veterans Softball Tournament and Family Fest on Sat., July 15, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Beverly Park, 2460 W. 102nd St. Info is available at www.chicagoparkdistrict.com/progams/veterans.
Road Home Program services are confidential, accessible, and available regardless of the ability to pay, and supported by the high level of health care available at Rush. They also fill in the gaps that Veterans Administration services are unable to cover.
“The Road Home Program offers access to therapy, counseling, resources, and world renowned doctors,” Lavin said. “It’s an amazing place for veterans because it treats the ‘whole’ veteran, including the family.”
Most of the program’s services are open to the greater Chicago region. The Intensive Outpatient Program is a three-week, full spectrum treatment program open to veterans and families across the Midwest, providing comprehensive, individualized care for trauma-based disorders and injuries.
Life-long Beverly/Morgan Park resident, Lavin finds meaning and healing is her work with area veterans and their families. Her message: “I understand what you’re going through.” Her mission: “Call on me, I can help.”
Get in touch with Lavin at 773-590-8244 or Modwene_lavin@rush.edu.
Road Home Program Veterans Softball Tournament
The Road Home Program at Rush University Medical Center invites area Veterans and their families to the Veterans Softball Tournament and Family Fest, Sat., July 15, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Beverly Park, 2460 W. 102nd St.
Team registration continues until July 1. Standard ASA rules apply. Teams need a minimum of 8 and maximum of 10 players, men and women, and 70% of the team must be veterans, active duty military or direct family of either. Individuals without a team can register under “open team.” Registration information is available from Joel Gutierrez, 312-745-2170, firstname.lastname@example.org or www.chicagoparkdistrict.com/progams/veterans.
The tournament and fest features free food, games, bouncy house, face painter and DJ for families who come to the park to cheer on the teams. Hosting the event are the Chicago Park District, Warrior Summit Coalition, City of Chicago Commission on Human Relations and Advisory Council on Veterans Affairs and 19th Ward Ald. Matt O’Shea.
Become a Member
About half of BAPA’s budget comes from annual memberships from neighborhood residents and businesses.
Beverly Area Planning Association
1987 W. 111th Street
Chicago, IL 60643