Arlington Heights 2012 Hearts of Gold Awards and Honorees


The Special Events Commission is proud to announce the winners of the 2012 Hearts of Gold awards, who will be honored in a community celebration at the Hearts of Gold Awards Dinner at 5:30 p.m., Saturday, February 11, 2012 at European Crystal Banquet & Conference Center, 519 W. Algonquin Road, Arlington Heights. This year’s program will also include a special recognition of 125th anniversary of the Village’s incorporation.

This awards program recognizes individuals who work or live in our community and enrich the quality of life in Arlington Heights through their generous contributions and acts of kindness. One of the goals of this program is to acknowledge individuals who typically do not receive community-wide recognition for their outstanding efforts.

The Village of Arlington Heights welcomes everyone to attend this community celebration which recognizes the extraordinary efforts of ordinary people. The cost of reservations is $50. Anyone interested in attending, is urged to email [email protected] or call 847-368-5104. See the original notice on Village of Arlington Heights official website.

The 2012 Hearts of Gold winners include:

Mentor – Linda McDonald
Best Neighbor – Raymond and Dolores Shields
Educator – Kate Costello, Mary Woods, and Tony Calzaretta
Young at Heart – Ed Hardy
Heroic – Mary Reddin
Young Champion – Kevin Schreiber
Volunteer – Craig Carlson Family
Community Spirit – Greg Padovani
Business Leadership – Drost, Kivlahan, McMahon and O’Connor
Kenneth M. Bonder Beautification – Jack Musich
Pam Stocking Heart of Gold – Russ Talbot

Mentor Heart of Gold – Linda McDonald
Linda McDonald is the owner and operator of the McDonald Dance Academy in Arlington Heights. Linda’s love of dance started at the age of 3. She continued dancing through her school years culminating in a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Texas Christian University. After performing in Texas for several years, Linda moved back to the Chicago area where she started the dance Academy in 1994.

The Academy offers dance classes in all the disciplines – jazz, tap, modern, ballet, hip hop and musical theater. She has about 500 students ranging in age from three through high school. About 80% of the students that start in her programs continue all the way through high school. However, Linda doesn’t just instruct the students in dance. She also uses the dance programs to teach life lessons. As one student put it, “she took me under her wing and nurtured my mind and being through her philosophies of art, which directly parallel philosophies of life”. Additionally, Linda will take time out of her busy schedule to prepare students for auditions, counsel them on which dance groups might best fit their interests and then also accompany them to the audition to provide support.

Linda was nominated for this award by students that have been directly impacted by Linda’s mentoring. Linda’s commitment to her students is truly inspiring and she is well deserving of this year’s Mentor Heart of Gold.

Best Neighbor Heart of Gold –Dolores and Raymond Shields
Ray and Dodie Shields have lived in Arlington Heights since 1961 and have raised five children. They have spent the last 5 decades supporting their Village and their neighborhood. Dodie is a retired maternity nurse who worked at Northwest Community Hospital and Ray retired from GTE Directory as a printer. Their life is filled by spending time with their family, working in the community, and doing kind acts around their neighborhood. Although they are too humble to mention it, others do not hesitate to recognize their “numerous thoughtful acts of helpfulness and charity.”

Ray and Dodie help out their neighbors by supporting local fund-raisers, repairing broken equipment, driving those in need to medical appointments, or even taking care of a local skunk problem! Ray and Dodie even take turns behind the snow blower clearing off neighbor’s sidewalks and driveways up and down the street. Their acts of kindness help build a strong sense of community within their neighborhood.

Their kind deeds towards others also include helping take care of a neighbor suffering from breast cancer, taking friends for medial appointments or out to eat, rescuing a neighbor who had fallen with a broken hip, and taking care of plants and property for neighbors suffering from debilitating aliments. Helping out their neighbors comes easily for Ray and Dodie, who believe offering help is the right thing to do and the right way to give back.

Ray and Dodie continue to volunteer for the Nurses Club Lending Closet, PADS, and at Our Lady of the Wayside Church. They believe that if you do good things, then good things will follow. Without a doubt, Ray and Dodie have fulfilled this message and are most deserving of this recognition!

Educator Heart of Gold – Tony Calzaretta, Mary Woods and Kate Costello
Saint Viator High School’s theater department has a rich tradition of producing a variety of high quality and challenging shows. Kate Costello, Tony Calzaretta and Mary Woods are at the center of these productions and view the fall play and
musical as an extension of the lessons students learn during the school day. Public speaking, knowledge of theater, film and stagecraft are the technical courses students may take, but Kate, Tony and Mary also require the students to show respect and mutual support for others while striving for excellence.

As the Producer/Director, Kate reminds students that the goal of each performance is to have fun, provide a high quality show and to make money so this self-funded program can continue. Broad-based involvement is so important to Kate that she double casts each show. This doubles the work, but also provides twice as many students the opportunity to participate.

Tony Calzaretta is a volunteer and while his title is Assistant Director, in reality he does much more! He puts in many hours helping with sets, practicing lines with the students, coaching and encourages students to do well with his big-hearted, grandfatherly-type personality.

Mary Woods has made costumes for every Saint Viator performance for the past eleven years and views this volunteer work as part of who she is. She has designed, sewn and mended hundreds of costumes through the year and her work is so appreciated, the school named the costume room after her!

The nominations by dozens of current and ex-students show that the efforts of Kate, Tony and Mary have made a permanent impact on these students’ lives. One student said “They have been an inspiration, a role model and a difference maker in my life. I have learned more from them about learning to enjoy musical, drama and life in general than I have form any collective group of people.” There may be no better definition of “educator “.

Young at Heart – Ed Hardy
When we think of someone as being “young at heart” the first thing that comes to mind is that special individual who is youthful no matter what age they may be. Ed Hardy, the recipient of the “Young at Heart” Heart of Gold award, exemplifies that definition in more ways than one. Born in Evanston, Ed grew up moving around the country with his family before eventually ending up back at his birthplace, having been accepted to Northwestern University after graduating from Libertyville High School.

There, while touring the campus before enrollment, he came upon a Navy ROTC recruiter and signed-up on the spot, thus beginning 34 years of service to our country. Having met his required three years of active-duty service while being stationed on the west coast Ed returned to his roots once again and began a career in management with Illinois Bell, eventually retiring in 1992 before embarking on the next chapter in his life. It was at this time that Ed truly earned his stripes.

Having been an avid runner his entire life, not to mention a regular Senior Olympics competitor, Ed took a position as a fitness instructor at the Arlington Heights Senior Center a year after retiring, mainly because it was close enough to home to allow him to run or bike to work. He continued to teach his “Fun n’ Fitness” class five days a week, stating that the class was appropriately named because “it was fun for me while seniors got fit”.

Always striving to better not only himself but also those he taught he dispensed health and nutritional advice based on current research and continuing education, in the process becoming an indispensable guru of health to the patrons at the Senior Center. Now officially retired for good, Ed enjoys his leisure time to no surprise working out regularly, vacationing with his wife of 53 years, Dottie, and spending time with their three children and five grandchildren.

Heroic – Mary Reddin
In 2002 an organization named Lydia Home started a program called Safe Families for Children (SFFC) to offer sanctuary to children suffering from neglect and abuse and giving those parents the help they need to create a thriving family unit. In order to accomplish that, they needed families to provide these children with a stable environment. That is where Mary and her family decided to take a role. She and her husband, Chris, along with their 7 year old daughter have taken in 5 children in the last 2 years. They prefer to care for infants.

The whole idea behind the program is that the child does get reunited with their biological parents as soon as possible. The typical stay for a child in a Safe Home is 6 weeks to two months. Mary has had her current child, Deja, for almost 18 months now which is very unusual. She has really become a part of the family. Mary has regular contact with the birth mother and they can share stories of Deja development together.

Once the organization, along with an evaluation from DCFS, determines that the biological family is stable enough, the child is returned to their parents. Mary and her family are truly providing a wonderful environment for these children that they would not normally have. Providing this loving atmosphere clearly demonstrates a heroic spirit and has earned Mary the Heroic Heart of Gold.

Young Champion – Kevin Schreiber
Thanks to Kevin Schreiber’s interest and dedication, Saint Viator High School became one of the first high schools in the Northwest suburbs to offer electrocardiogram (EKG) testing to students at the school through the Lake County-based Max Schewitz Foundation’s “Screen for Teens” program.

Kevin, a junior at Saint Viator, was moved by articles he had read of young athletes who died of sudden cardiac death. After reading a story of a Michigan High School basketball player who collapsed and died after making the winning basket for his team, Kevin was inspired to look further into this health matter concerning young people.

His ambitious drive in bringing this testing to Saint Viator included creating a detailed plan of action that was submitted to school administrators which explained why the testing was so important. He also worked closely with the Screen for Teens program and secured funding from the school’s Athletic Booster Club to help underwrite the cost of the optional testing program.

Earlier this school year, 600 students were tested with only one needing follow-up medical care. The result of his outstanding interest in this potentially lifesaving program has resulted in Kevin Schreiber being named recipient of the Young Champion Heart of Gold.

Volunteer – The Craig Carlson Family
If you have ever enjoyed the popular “Stampede” race that is a staple of the Frontier Days Festival every 4th of July weekend, your fun experience was directly attributable to the hard work of Craig Carlson and his family. This Arlington Heights family has worked tirelessly to offer our community a fun-filled event. Craig is the Race Director of the Stampede and his entire family helps with the workload in making this race a premier event.

Craig and his family are described as “hands-on” volunteers who selflessly dedicate many hours to ensure that over 1,000 participants in this annual event have the best possible experience. Each year the number of participants seems to increase, which speaks volumes of the efforts of the Carlson Family.

The Stampede is not only the highlight of the annual Frontier Days, but is also considered one of the premiere running events in Chicagoland. Thanks to the hard work of Craig, the Race Director, and his family, the race has seen expanded sponsorship, an improved course, electronic chip timing, premier running shirts, a great post-race atmosphere for runners and spectators and most importantly a highly organized and extremely enjoyable run for the entire community.

Thanks to the Carlson family’s sacrifice of their summer holiday weekend and hundreds of hours of demanding work, the highly successful Stampede is a stand-out event we can all enjoy.

Community Spirit – Greg Padovani
Few people have demonstrated the passion and spirit that Greg Padovani has in elevating the recognition of Veterans and of the men and women currently serving in the military. Through his leadership and vision, Arlington Heights now has a revitalized Memorial Park; a place where citizens can reflect upon and learn of the incredible efforts and sacrifices that have been made in keeping our country’s freedom.

Greg was the champion of the “Drive to Revive Memorial Park.” He served as chair of the Drive to Revive Committee and worked closely with the Arlington Heights Park District Foundation to raise awareness of the revitalization needs of the oldest park in Arlington Heights. He also spearheaded several campaigns to raise funds to replace old monuments, add other physical attributes to the park and, as a final phase, commissioned local artist Fran Volz to create a symbolic, “Eternal Flame” sculpture in the center of the park to stand as a community tribute to our Veterans and military service men and women.

Thanks to Greg’s efforts and innovative leadership, Memorial Park is now home to a series of beautiful memorials for Veterans, which creates an exceptional setting that embodies the true meaning of “Memorial Park.”

Beyond his devotion related to Memorial Park, he has also researched and built a database with information for every service member from Arlington Heights who lost their life in battle, reaching back to the Civil War. Because of his commitment, future generations will always know of the ultimate sacrifices made by their neighbors who fought to protect our freedom.

Business Leadership – Drost, Kivlahan, McMahon & O’Connor (DKMO)
Through their spirit of volunteerism, their sponsorships and leadership with many community programs and activities, Drost, Kivlahan, McMahon & O’Connor have contributed significantly in building a sense of community in Arlington Heights.

The members of the firm have been very involved in the community, serving on the Board of Dollars for Scholars, the Metropolis Performing Arts Center, Arlington Heights Plan Commission, Arlington Heights Special Events Commission, Village Bank, Rotary Club of Arlington Heights, Arlington Heights Chamber of Commerce, Journeys from PADS to Hope, Boy Scouts troops, Northwest Community Healthcare – Planned Gifts Committee, and much more.

Their energetic leadership, countless hours of volunteerism and generous donations have positively affected our community. Arlington Heights is better because of their gift of volunteerism, innovativeness and generosity, which makes Drost, Kivlahan, McMahon & O’Connor worthy of this Business Leadership honor.

Kenneth M. Bonder Beautification – Jack Musich
Jack Musich first began to draw the world around him at the age of six. He was influenced by his first grade teacher that supplied him with his first box of paints that brought color to his creations for the first time. Through this initial experience, he was hooked for life. Jack has created a variety of artwork for decades, expressing himself in various styles and media. His work has also captured the history of the village he has lived in since 1958.

Jack and his wife moved to Arlington Heights over 50 years ago from Chicago. Although he enjoyed the city, he wanted to move where there was a better sense of community. He has been a resident ever since and has contributed his skills and spirit to the Village in a variety of ways. After officially retiring from work in the commercial art studio, Jack has focused on subjects that are intriguing to him. He has created over 30 different paintings capturing the history of Arlington Heights and the spirit of the developing downtown. His work can be seen throughout the Village in restaurants, galleries, businesses, and the library.

His work in featuring Arlington Heights started as a present he created for his wife. The piece was well-received and provided additional motivation to continue exploring the history of the Village. He utilizes many Village resources including the Arlington Heights Historical Museum and the Arlington Height Memorial Library to research the stories and pictures of the past. He also read The Chronicle of a Prairie Town by the Souters for additional perspective. His voracious reading and attention to detail are represented in the works that catalog our community. His painting work is temporarily on hold but Jack continues to meet with groups in schools and the library to discuss the history of the Village through his work.

Arlington Heights is fortunate to have such a talented individual who has committed his time and talents to preserving Arlington Height’s story.

Pam Stocking – Russ Talbot
Russell Talbot, an Arlington Heights resident and formal naval officer, is receiving the Pam Stocking Heart of Gold because of his unwavering commitment, enthusiasm and leadership as a founding board member of SALUTE, Inc., which helps military service members, veterans and their families, and for his many local contributions and leadership to the Northwest Suburban Council Boy Scout movement.

Since its beginning nine years ago, Russ has been a part of managing the logistics and other facets of the popular SALUTE Run/Walk held annually during Memorial Day weekend. His background as a Commander in the Navy, having served over 20 years of combined active duty and reserve time, provided a wealth of insight to the formation of the SALUTE organization.

His peers on the SALUTE Board credit him with having a significant impact on making the Foundation strong and vibrant. Through the work he does, Russ always strives to ensure that all people he serves get what they need. He consistently delivers above and beyond everyone’s expectations.

Russ’s influence and dedication continues beyond his role with SALUTE. As an Eagle Scout, Russ shares his enthusiasm for Scout programs by taking on a leadership role in the local Boy Scout program including serving as past Cub Master of St. James Pack 266, current Scoutmaster of St. James Troop 166, a current Committee Member of Troop 32 with First Presbyterian Church as well as numerous contributions in other Scouting positions within the North Woods District and Northwest Suburban Council.

One of Russ’s greatest leadership qualities is his enthusiasm about the scouting program. He shares that enthusiasm by motivating and encouraging Scouts to achieve goals that will build a strong foundation for their adult lives. The selfless gift of his volunteerism has left an indelible mark upon the lives of hundreds of Scouts. Under Russ’s tutelage, Scouts have learned the value of leadership, responsibility, team work, sportsmanship, survival as well as environmental skills. A good Troop Leader leads by example and given the countless hours Russ has given to Scouting, it’s easy to see that Russ Talbot is exemplary in his role.

To be such a positive influence on a group of individuals, whether it’s through SALUTE or a Scouting program, is the true intention of the Pam Stocking award. The award is named after the Village’s first Disability Services Coordinator who went above and beyond in helping citizens with disabilities.

Russ and his wife Theresa live in Arlington Heights with their two sons Christian and Martin. is an Amazon Associate website, which means that a small percentage of your purchases gets paid to at no extra cost to you. When you use the search boxes above, any Amazon banner ad, or any product associated with an Amazon banner on this website, you help pay expenses related to maintaining and creating new services and ideas for a resourceful website. See more info at