Sue Wolf, of Frankfort, was the 2013 recipient of the Frankfort Chamber of Commerce Volunteer of the Year Award. Wolf has a long history of volunteer work in the Lincoln-Way area. | Ginger Brashinger~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: March 16, 2014 3:54PM
Frankfort resident Sue Wolf said she always has wanted to “make a difference.”
The retired Lincoln-Way Community High School District 210 teacher chose her career in special education with that purpose in mind.
“The feeling that you get by watching another person smile, by helping another person, knowing that you make a difference ,,, That was the whole idea of being in special ed,” Wolf said.
To that end, Wolf, 66, also was a faculty sponsor of District 210’s service-oriented key club for about 10 years, leading her students by example and honing her volunteer skills.
“Wherever the kids could help somewhere, I was always there with them,” Wolf said.
Her service spirit spilled over into her everyday life, making Wolf’s face a familiar one in the Lincoln-Way area.
The 33-year Frankfort resident began working as a Frankfort Fall Fest volunteer in 1980 when she moved into her home.
“I’ve always been part of the Frankfort Fall Fest, as long as I can remember,” Wolf said.
When Wolf joined the Frankfort Chamber of Commerce in 1996 as a Mary Kay Cosmetics home-based business owner, she continued to volunteer for the entire four-day Labor Day weekend.
Her efforts have not gone unnoticed.
Wolf was the recent recipient of the 2013 Frankfort Chamber of Commerce 2013 Volunteer of the Year award.
She counts the Frankfort Area Women’s Network, Golf Outing, the annual Business Showcase and the Frankfort Fall Fest committees among those in which she is most involved.
“If there’s a committee, I’m on it,” Wolf said.
Since her retirement in 2005, Wolf has stepped up her game, adding the “night shift” to her Fall Fest duties. Wolf and a group of volunteers patrol the crafters’ area from dusk to dawn after the Friday evening set-up to keep it safe. Then Wolf helps with the Saturday morning set-up and so on throughout the weekend.
“I don’t require a lot of sleep,” Wolf said. “I usually wait until Saturday night to take a nap.”
Wolf caught the attention of another Frankfort organization while at a Chamber event in 2008. She was invited to join the Frankfort Lions Club and has been active in the organization ever since as a board member and active in the Sight & Sound and Candy Day fundraisers.
Joining the Lions Club meant adding another day to Wolf’s Labor Day weekend volunteer activities, as the Frankfort Lions Club holds its annual Thursday night fundraiser before the opening of the fest. Wolf usually can be found filling beer orders or collecting raffle ticket money in the big white tent on Kansas Street.
Although her favorite Lions Club activity is delivering holiday food baskets to those in need, Wolf said “just being there and helping to raise money for different things that would go toward people in the area” is enough to keep her committed to the organization.
Wolf also is the past president and current membership chairwoman of the Lincoln-Way Area Business Women’s Organization. A member since the 1970s, she has assisted with the organization’s only fundraiser, the Christmas Auction, which benefits young Lincoln-Way-area women through college and continuing education scholarships.
The New Life Church in New Lenox has been a home away from home for Wolf for the last 15 years. Her varied volunteer activities include baby-sitting 2-year-olds for the Mothers of Preschoolers program, assisting monthly with the New Life Food Pantry and spreading “the word of God” to others. Her involvement with the church’s activities bringing fellowship to developmentally delayed adults brought Wolf’s volunteer work full circle.
“I’ve just always felt good about helping people,” Wolf said.