Village Viewpoint 

By: Mary Jo Viero

BAPA Executive Director

Sometimes I feel like I won the Lotto! It’s true. I feel so blessed that I need to share it with you, especially because you are part of the reason. 

In the blink of an eye, BAPA’s first 2024 Porch Concert, Home Tour, and Ridge Run over! 

Each event was carefully planned and executed and could not have happened without my incredible staff, Sheri Jendra, Davia Douglas, Liz Woodward, Aaqila Harvey, Eileen Kenah, Scott Hermanson, Tim Moran and Laura Slonskis. 

In addition to our staff, we have the help of our BAPA Board of Directors and our event committees! Our Board of Directors, led by Board President, Whitney Castle supports us in many ways. Thank you to Whitney Castle, Rachel Hoge, Brian McKeown, Eve Raisleger, Lauren Ditka, Eddie Garza, Tim McSweeney, Collins Fitzpatrick, and Quinn Donnelly. 

The Home Tour Committee is the best! They spend months finding the homes, working with the homeowners, planning the experiences, coordinating over a hundred volunteers, and creating a wonderful tour. Thank you to Grace Kuikman, Katie Durkin, Kathy Sanders, Molly Sullivan, Robin Harmon, Kurt Graf, Jessica Payne, Michele Pettiford, Meaghan Klinger, Thomas Murphy, and Debbie Nemeth. Thank you to the homeowners for opening up their incredible homes and sharing their stories and details with us. 

Thank you to Smith Village and their wonderful and kind staff who hosted our first porch concert and the Home Tour! 

Liz Woodward joined BAPA this year as our Special Events Director and oversees the Ridge Run Committee. Little did I know what a huge impact she would make. From the permits to the website and registration, working with the teams, sponsors, and setup. The amount of work is daunting. She, along with our staff and the committee, Carol Macola, Eve Raisleger, Ashely DeCarli, Tom Webb, Mike Flemming, and Isabelle Gronski worked hard to deliver a wonderful event. Thank you to all of you who made the Ridge Run a success. 

That leads me to our other helpers who support us! 

The 22nd District Police, headed by Commander Kinnane, kept us safe the entire weekend. Thank you! 

Alderman Matt O’Shea and Tristan Angus assist BAPA during the months leading up, with permits, fixing the streets along the route, and anything that pops up. Lastly, the Ridge Run could not have happened without the support of our community (who cheer and enhance the race) and the runners, walkers, and teams who participated. 

Tom Cooney and his team at Lakeshore Athletics have helped us make the Ridge Run come to life. 

Thank you Tom and team for supporting BAPA and the Ridge Run for over 40 years! 

In addition to that, I also need to thank our volunteers!!! Hundreds of community members helped BAPA bring our events to life. We could not have hosted successful events showcasing our community without their hard work, time, and dedication. Thank you! 

Another piece of this amazing puzzle is the support of our sponsors. They are part of the community, and they give back to the community by supporting BAPA’s events. We couldn’t do it without you. 

Apart from BAPA’s events, there were plenty of other celebrations that provided more reasons to be grateful. 

On Friday, May 17, Dr. Angela Tucker was celebrated for her nomination for the Golden Apple Award. The tributes from her staff, and former and current students brought tears to the room who love and appreciate her. Thank you, Dr. Tucker, for being an inspiration and a true leader to the Esmond community. We are all grateful to you. 

The next day, County Fair celebrated 60 years in business with a huge party in the parking lot. It was so much fun! We are also lucky to have the Baffes family in our community. They have created a legacy that has made such a positive impact in our community and continue to give back. Congratulations and Thank you County Fair!! 

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