Petzel: Penny Parade raises money for activity center
By Cheryl Petzel Citizen Journalistfirstname.lastname@example.org November 21, 2012 1:28PM
St. Gerald School students line up recently for the Penny Parade. | Supplied Photo
Updated: December 26, 2012 6:11AM
Congratulations to St. Gerald Parish on breaking ground on its long-awaited activity center and gymnasium. The groundbreaking ceremony took place immediately following the noon Mass on Oct. 21.
The LCPL Jonathan Collins Activity Center is named in honor of the grandson of longstanding parishioners John and Alice Collins.
Jonathan, a Marine, was just 19 years old when he was killed in the line of duty on Aug. 8, 2004. His parents are Jack and Angel Collins, of Crystal Lake.
Money to fund the activity center came from generous donations, fundraising events and collections. After collecting pennies for two years, St. Gerald elementary students were ready to turn in their pennies. On Oct. 18, the students participated in a Penny Parade and took their pennies to the First Merit Bank on 95th Street.
Debbie Janicke, development director at St. Gerald, said the students collected nine five-gallon jugs and “at least” 20 one-gallon jugs. She credits the Rev. Lawrence Malcolm for coming up with the idea.
The parade started at 1 p.m. at the school, 9320 S. 55th Court, Oak Lawn.
“Forty students with parents and even grandparents participated on bikes and scooters, and some had wagons,” Janicke said. “Father Malcolm gave the students a blessing before the parade started.”
The students collected $3,500 in pennies for the activity center.
“The students are very excited about the activity center, and the sports teams are grateful to have a home base,” Janicke said.
Alice Collins said the parish has been raising money for the activity center since 2005, when the Rev. Rich LoBianco, St. Gerald’s former pastor, approached her and her husband to start a drive to fund the activity center.
“Father Rich was so compassionate and loving to us when Jon was killed,” Alice said.
When she called him to tell him about the groundbreaking, she said, “he was very pleased.”
Alice recalled the 45-minute groundbreaking ceremony.
“The day was glorious and warm, and there were hundreds of people in attendance,” she said.
Alice said her grandson loved children, so it seems only fitting that one of Jon’s many legacies will be an activity center where children can play and have fun.
Happy fifth birthday to Sofia McQuaid, from her parents, Lynette and Todd, Sydney, Jimmy and grandparents, Joan and Mike Fahey. Happy birthday to Ryan Charles Soch, who’s turning 6, from his parents, Ralph and Michelle, Morgan, and grandparents, Mary and Rog Sutton and Maryann and Richard Soch.
Happy 10th birthday to Kelley Lakawitch, from her parents and Kevin. Happy 12th birthday wishes go out to Caitlin Gallagher, from her parents, Mary and Dan, and Kevin. Carol and Lou Opitz send birthday wishes to their grandson, Bryan Metelski, who’s turning 12.
Happy 13th birthday to Giana Thorell, from her parents and Nina and Bob. Happy 15th birthday to Blake Zwartz, from his parents, Dylan, Brooke and Shelfee. Glen and Alicia Rylko wish their son, Patrick, a happy 22nd birthday.
Happy 22nd birthday to Jacob Andruk-Dantone, from his parents, and Zachary and Nathaniel. Porter Weston’s family wishes him a happy birthday. Happy
26th birthday to Brian Brejcha, from his parents, Cindy and Bill, and Kevin. Brian’s father, Bill Brejcha, is also celebrating his birthday.
Ryan Gornik’s parents, family and Solo wish him a happy birthday. Theresa and Wally Antonowicz wish their daughter, Lisa Keysboe, a happy birthday. Dorothy Mungia’s husband, Sal, and their children wish her a happy birthday.
Special birthday wishes go out to Denise McKay, from Tom, Shannon, Cody, Esther and family. Happy birthday to Lisa Lopez, from Jose, Jennifer and Monica, and family. Eleanore Erickson’s husband, Carl, and family wish her a happy birthday.
Happy 65th birthday to Tom Salsala from his wife, Chris, and their children, John and Michelle. Happy 69th birthday to William Petzel (yes, we’re related), from Margaret, Wyo, Patrick and family.
Wedding anniversary wishes go out to Sal and Dorothy Mungia on their 40th anniversary; and my parents, John and Rose Marie Leon, who are celebrating their 44th anniversary.
Keep your fellow Oak Lawnians informed about birthdays, events or special “stuff” going on with your family or within the community. Call me at (708) 899-9544.