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Senior Snow Shoveling Program Needs Volunteer 'Snow Angels'

Village of Oak Lawn is pairing volunteers with seniors to help shovel walks and driveways for winter snow shoveling program.

For the past several years the village has offered a volunteer snow shoveling program for seniors and disabled persons with little or no family in the area to help with snow removal from walks and driveways.

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Trustee Alex Olejniczak (Dist. 2) started the program when he saw seniors in his district who needed help shoveling their walks and driveways. The program has since expanded village-wide. The program kicks off Dec. 1.

"The program relies 100-percent on volunteers," Olejniczak said at Tuesday's village board meeting. "We will have volunteers matched up with residents in need wihin 24 hours of a snow incident."

Seventy seniors have requested help with snow removal and are waiting to be paired with a volunteer "snow angel" during the winter. For some seniors who need to be able to get out of the house to reach doctor appointments or have health conditions that make shoveling snow dangerous, the volunteer program may mean the difference between life and death.

Students looking to fulfill community service hours for school, scouts or confirmation, are especially encouraged to apply. Adults or families who wish to adopt a senior this winter can also adopt a senior this winter.

"While the program is student based, volunteers don't have to be students," Olejniczak said. "Anybody can volunteer.

At the end of the snow season, Palermo's on 95th Street will host a pizza party for student volunteers, including some pretty nifty prizes, such as iPads, iPods and gift cards to local businesses and restaurants.

"It's a great way to get kids involved with the community," Olejniczak said, who along with sons has been known to knock off ten or more driveways in a couple of hours. 

The Oak Lawn Police Department's own Sgt. Jim Pacetti is coordinating volunteers. The village still needs 70 volunteers.

Students looking to fulfill community service hours for school, scout troops, church groups or anyone who wants to help out a very grateful senior should contact Sgt. Jim Pacetti by email at jpacetti@oaklawn-il.gov or call him at 708-499-7880.

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Ron December 03, 2012 at 10:55 PM
The village is wasting the time of a police sgt on this? I'm 63 years old and I do my own drive. I also do my neighbors to the south and north. Come on
Kelly December 06, 2012 at 02:12 AM
Ron, you are a great neighbor! People should look out for each other on the block, but unfortunately that is not always the case. This is the first time I have heard of the Snow Angel program, and I will be volunteering with my children. I'm concerned with getting them involved with their community and teaching them to give back to others, much less concerned with who founded the program and who takes credit for running it. If Officer Pacetti (or his wife or daughters) spend time putting a spreadsheet together to match up seniors in need with volunteers, I say more power to them.
swimmer January 24, 2013 at 12:43 PM
Ron, some people have back and other physical problems that make it difficult to shovel,snow. Consider yourself lucky.
Eileen Rubino Whelan March 04, 2013 at 09:31 PM
Ron. Get off your high horse and welcome a program like this. Great idea Oak Lawn and very good idea for posting this now and planning ahead of time.

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