January 22, 2024
On January 18, Carlisle Banquets in Lombard witnessed a joyous gathering of individuals celebrating achievements, fostering community spirit, and recognizing outstanding contributions at SEASPAR’s annual Believe & Achieve Recognition Banquet. The venue was filled with happiness, as attendees came together to support each other and applaud the community’s remarkable accomplishments in providing recreational services to individuals with disabilities.
The event kicked off with a warm welcome, accompanied by background music to set the festive atmosphere. Attendees checked in, the doors opened, and everyone was greeted with enthusiasm.
At 6:00 p.m., the Master of Ceremonies, SEASPAR Executive Director Matt Corso, beckoned for attendees to be seated, signaling the start of the official program. The background music paused, and the event formally began.
The program began with a touching tribute to SEASPAR community members who are gone but not forgotten, including staff member Chris Lima and participant Randy Naberhaus. The program also featured a captivating video presentation, highlighting key moments of the year.
The evening continued with a delightful dinner served by the Carlisle Banquets team, accompanied by background music. As the dishes were cleared, the anticipation for the awards and recognitions grew.
A series of awards recognizing different individuals and groups unfolded throughout the evening, showcasing the diverse talents and contributions of the community.
The first awards were presented to SEASPAR’s Donors of the Year. The award for a service club donor was presented to Knights of Columbus St. Joan of Arc Council #15168 of Lisle, which has made financial contributions to SEASPAR from its fundraising efforts for many years. The donor award for a business was presented to Trader Joe’s of Downers Grove, which has donated staff time and products for many of SEASPAR’s programs.
Participants in SEASPAR’s programming were recognized with a series of awards, including the Aktion Club Award for Bryal Peterson of Clarendon Hills, Cultural Artist of the Year for Sarah Mikelenas of Bolingbrook, Rising Star Award for Boelyn Fields of Downers Grove, Shining Star Award for Reynaldo Neris of Brookfield, Achievement Award for Mia Jessica Santos of Lemont, and Athlete of the Year Award for Aidan Metzl of Woodridge.
SEASPAR volunteers and staff were also recognized during the event. The Naberhaus Volunteer of the Year Award was presented to Eric Alwin, who volunteers with the Aktion Club. The Leading Light Award for staff was presented to Lorrie Smietanski of Lemont. The Super Star Award for staff was presented to Meghan Lieb of Woodridge.
The grand finale of the event was a dance party, where all in attendance were invited to celebrate together on the dance floor.
As the clock approached 9:00 p.m., the event concluded with a heartfelt thank you to everyone who makes SEASPAR’s mission of enriching lives through recreation possible. The DJ announced the last song, and attendees left with fond memories, eagerly awaiting next year’s Believe & Achieve Recognition Banquet.
The event proved to be a testament to community spirit, celebrating achievements, and fostering a sense of belonging. SEASPAR looks forward to continuing this tradition and creating more memorable moments in the years to come.
SEASPAR would like to thank event sponsors Republic Bank, Girgis Orthodontics, Blue Light Rain HVAC, Team Healy Baird & Warner, Krage’s Mobil, CustomPromos.com, Suburban Door Check & Lock Service, Lemont Park District, and Local Printing + Design.
For more information about SEASPAR and its recreational programming for individuals with disabilities, please visit SEASPAR.org.
The South East Association for Special Parks And Recreation (SEASPAR) enriches the lives of individuals with disabilities through recreation. SEASPAR serves the communities of Brookfield, Clarendon Hills, Darien, Downers Grove, Indian Head Park, La Grange, La Grange Park, Lemont, Lisle, Western Springs, Westmont, and Woodridge.
Learn More: https://www.seaspar.org/