Ballerine, Kosey, Ketchmark recognized by state humanities group
Three local residents have received the 2009 Studs Terkel Humanities Service Award from the Illinois Humanities Council in recognition of their efforts to preserve local history and traditions.
On Monday night, a representative from the Illinois Humanities Council was on hand at the Riverside village board meeting to present a medal to JoAnne Kosey and Joseph Ballerine, for their efforts in saving the village’s Fourth of July parade.
Village President Michael Gorman read a proclamation commending the duo’s “tireless efforts and single-minded pursuit of community spirit” in establishing the Friends of the Fourth committee, which raised over $20,000 to fund the parade and July 3 celebration.
The village’s Fourth of July activities were cut from the 2009 budget by the village board, which slashed expenses related to the village Department of Parks and Recreation. Friends of the Fourth have already begun gearing up to raise money for the 2010 celebration, according to Kosey, who is a longtime village volunteer.
She has served on the Riverside-Brookfield High School board of education, the Riverside Economic Development Commission and the Riverside Historical Commission. Kosey is also a weekly columnist for the Landmark.
Ballerine has been a longtime member and former president of the Riverside Recreation Commission and Riverside Little League.
Gorman nominated the two in September and received word of their recognition in October.
“I didn’t expect anything for doing this,” Kosey said. “The thanks was in seeing that [the parade] happened.
“And it wasn’t just us,” said Kosey, who named Rey Navarro, Andy Daun, Dan Jisa, Trustee Ben Sells and Recreation Department staff as instrumental in the committee’s success. “We’re accepting this on all their behalf and all the people in Riverside. This was their parade.”
Ketchmark honored in Brookfield
Meanwhile, on Dec. 14 the former Brookfield village trustee and longtime Brookfield Historical Society director Kit Ketchmark will receive the same award from the Illinois Humanities Council.
Ketchmark was nominated by Village President Michael Garvey “specifically for the varied work he performs as the volunteer director of the Brookfield Historical Society, including fundraising, speaker, event and tour planning, maintenance to the building grounds and the creation of information displays at community events.”
Ketchmark took over the reins of the historical society in 1995 shortly after leading the charge to restore the Korean War memorial in Jaycee/Ehlert Park. The old F86L Sabre jet in the park had fallen into disrepair and was considered for removal from the park by the village.
Through Ketchmark’s efforts the jet was restored and rededicated on Veterans Day 1994.
“I did it simply because we shouldn’t be getting rid of memorials,” Ketchmark said. “I didn’t realize the legs it’d get in terms of military appreciation.”
Ketchmark keeps the historical museum, housed in the historic Grossdale Station, running through an annual mail-a-thon fundraiser and a handful of events. While membership in the society is stable, just a few volunteers do most of the work to keep the station open.
“It’s just a handful of us who have run everything over the years,” Ketchmark said. “It’s tough to keep it going.”
Ketchmark is the second Brookfield resident in recent years to be honored by the Illinois Humanities Council. Local historian and frequent Landmark contributor Chris Stach received the award in 2006 for his voluminous writings on various aspects of village history.
Ballerine and Kosey are the first Riverside residents to receive the honor since 2000 when former Riverside Historical Commission member Sue Faul won the award.
The award is named for the late Studs Terkel, famed radio host, author, actor and activist. Terkel is best known for his series of books based on oral histories he compiled of ordinary people talking about their lives. Among those books were “Hard Times,” an oral history of the Depression era, and “Working,” an homage to working people.