Based on action taken at the Hickory Hills Council meeting last Thursday, the city could be described as the “city with a heart.”
Two residents came to the council seeking solutions to problems such as neglected properties blighting a neighborhood and an apartment filled with second-hand smoke, causing the tenant health problems. In both cases, after listening to lengthy descriptions of the problems, Mayor Michael Howley sympathized with their complaints, offered possible solutions and stated that he was sorry for what they were going through.
But it was a third request to help a little boy with special needs that truly touched the hearts of the mayor and the council.
Howley’s voice choked with emotion as he read an email received from Hickory Hills resident Kelly Sindowski, mother of Harrison, a 6-year old suffering from epilepsy and recently diagnosed with Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome (LGS), a condition leaving him unable to speak or walk.
In her letter, she explained that the Epilepsy Foundation was conducting a 5K run on Saturday in Chicago at Montrose Harbor and that one of the runners was a young man named Michael (we don’t know his last name, she said), who was running for her son, Harrison. She was asking the council if it would consider a sponsorship for the runner.
“We have never met Michael, but he reached out to us last year and informed us that he has been running for Harrison in events across the country in an organization called “Who I Run 4.” It is an organization of young volunteers who select names of people they will represent in the runs and it is done without any personal compensation,” Sindowski said. “More information on Michael, or the organization, is available at Irun4Michael and www.whoirun4.com.
“It is the first time he will be in Chicago and we are very anxious to meet him and introduce him to Harrison. We want to thank him for all he is doing,” Sindowski said.
An emotional Howley recalled meeting Harrison at a number of city events.
“The Sindowski family attends our community events and Harrison is the greatest little guy. I talked with him some time ago and he was so excited to be there,” said Howley, his voice breaking.
The council unanimously approved a donation of $200 for the Epilepsy Foundation 5K run.
In other action, a budget for the Fiscal Year 2016-17 was approved and will be submitted to the village attorney for preparation of an ordinance.
Also approved was a salary increase for non-union employees and a list of appointments to the city’s committees and commissions for 2016.
The council adjourned to executive session to discuss contract updates for Police and Public Works.
Ald. Tom McAvoy (3rd Ward) was absent due to illness.