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Chicago Heights businessmen organize effort to give tornado victims ‘something special’

Michael Ferry (foreground) president Complete ConstructiResources his father-in-law Ray Rhode collect items Friday Chicago Heights for victims recent storms thhit

Michael Ferry (foreground), president of Complete Construction Resources, and his father-in-law, Ray Rhode, collect items Friday in Chicago Heights for victims of the recent storms that hit Coal City and Diamond. | Mike Nolan~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: December 25, 2013 6:29AM



Dawn Satkowski lovingly described the warm fleece blanket a good friend had made her, noting that it includes her two favorite colors, blue and green.

On Friday, however, the Chicago Heights woman was freely donating it to help victims of last Sunday’s tornado in Coal City and Diamond in Grundy County.

“I don’t have the world myself, but if I can help somebody else who has nothing, I will,” she said.

While the blanket means a lot to her, Satkowski hoped it might comfort someone during a traumatic time.

“I wanted to give them something special that will make them feel special,” she said.

Two Chicago Heights businessmen who organized the relief collection had both, individually, wanted to do something to help the people displaced from their homes by the Nov. 17 storms.

Michael Ferry, president of Complete Construction Resources, and Jared Pryszcz, owner of J&J Painting and Restoration, connected through social media, merged their individual efforts and were able to fill two large trailers. Clothing, food, toiletries, bottled water and blankets were some of the items dropped off in the parking lot of Olympia Plaza as well as donations of cash and gift cards.

Home improvement chain Menards, where Ferry buys supplies, gave bottled water and heavy-duty trash bags, he said. Two of his firm’s clients — TD Ameritrade and the Big Ten Network — were sending contributions, and police officers and firefighters in Chicago Heights as well as police in Homewood made donations.

Samantha Revels and her mother, Jackie Maciareillo, had dropped off donations at another collection point before making their delivery to Ferry and Pryszcz’s drive. Revels’ van was filled with bags and boxes containing items such as clothing and pet food.

“It broke my heart to see all the devastation,” Maciareillo, of Chicago Heights, said. “They (storm victims) need a lot of help.”

Revels, also of Chicago Heights, said she and her mom talked about gathering donations after seeing images of the destruction.

“It was a family effort,” she said.

Mary Jarecki, of Frankfort, heard about the collection effort while attending a lunch Thursday in Chicago Heights, bringing three large bags containing items such as coats and sweaters.

“I wanted to be sure it (donation) would get into the hands of the people who needed it,” she said.

Donations were being delivered Saturday to United Methodist Church in Coal City, which is providing shelter and meals to many families who were displaced, Pryszcz said. Ferry said that, depending on what’s needed in the coming weeks, they might organize another collection effort.

Pryszcz said a friend of his who has family in Coal City asked him if he might be able to help with a donation. Pryszcz said he knew he could do only so much on his own, and that he and Ferry wanted to be able to assist as many people as possible.

“We would like their help if we were in their position,” Pryszcz said.

Separately, the Orland Park Lions Club will collect donations Sunday for relief efforts in downstate Washington. The club will have a trailer at the northwest corner of 143rd Street and LaGrange Road from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Items including new school supplies, plastic food storage containers, non-electric can openers and baby formula are being sought, and cash donations will also be accepted.



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