Dekker: Tinley Park resident named to Jaycee Hall of Fame
By Julie Dekker Citizen Journalistfirstname.lastname@example.org April 25, 2013 12:00PM
Updated: May 29, 2013 6:08AM
There was a time when service organizations were thriving, when it was common for young men and women to join groups that were devoted to helping others and improving the quality of life in their communities.
The U.S. Junior Chamber of Commerce, commonly known as the Jaycees, was one of those organizations, and Tom Mahoney was one of those young men.
When Mahoney joined the Park Forest Jaycees in 1975, he never could have imagined the impact that the organization would have on his life or that he would make on the organization.
The Jaycees were formed in 1915 with the purpose of giving young people the opportunity to serve their communities while developing leadership skills. It was a perfect fit for Mahoney, who can’t seem to settle for just participating. Leadership is in his blood.
During his years with the Jaycees, Mahoney has held many offices within the organization at state and local levels, including president of the Illinois Jaycees. He has served as a Jaycee ambassador and senator.
Mahoney has received numerous awards of recognition, including Outstanding New Chapter President- Northeast Region, Outstanding District Director and Outstanding Local President-Illinois Chapter to name a few.
He has provided training to Jaycee district directors as well as local and state presidents in 11 states from Virginia to California as well as in two provinces for the Canadian Jaycees.
In light of his long and dedicated career, Mahoney is being honored with induction into the 2013 Illinois Jaycee Hall of Fame, a fitting award for his long list of accomplishments for the organization.
The fact that there is not an active Jaycee chapter in Tinley Park any more hasn’t slowed down Mahoney a bit. Currently, he’s president and founder of MSC Consulting, a firm that provides management solutions, continuity planning and communication strategies for banking clients.
He’s also a Tinley Park Park District commissioner and a member of the Tinley Park Planning Commission. As chairman of the Mayor’s Advisory Council on Wellness, Mahoney designed the first outdoor fitness park in the village.
Fitness and fighting childhood obesity are important to Mahoney. In a new venture called Doc Enterprises, he’s working with the Alliance For a Healthier Generation to get educational materials to all school districts in our community.
This summer, Mahoney will complete his certification as a personal trainer and his next step is a certificate in sports nutrition. He has competed in eight marathons and six half-marathons.
Mahoney said for any success he has realized in life, he could reflect back and find a Jaycee project, memory or training that he used intuitively. He believes that “once a Jaycee, always a Jaycee.”
The Jaycees first formed a chapter in Tinley Park in 1963, and by 1970 it had more than 100 members.
It was the Jaycees that created many of the events and projects that are still present in our town today.
They sponsored the village’s first haunted house and Easter egg hunt, put up the community Christmas tree and held the first fall festival. It was common for a Jaycee to hold a public leadership role in the community such as a village trustee, park board or school board members or mayor.
These are men and women who understood what civic involvement means. They know that sitting at home and complaining doesn’t accomplish anything.
Tinley Park may not have an active Jaycee chapter any more, but it does have many people and organizations that make the village the active and thriving community that it is.
There are countless people who volunteer their time in organizations such as Together We Cope, PAWS, the VFW and American Legion posts, church and school groups, food pantries and many more to serve the people of our community every day, never being paid a penny.
It’s not about money. It’s about a quality of life that can only be attained when we work hard and help one another. It’s why I live in Tinley Park.