The Evergreen Park Chamber of Commerce welcomed new leadership at its annual Holiday Luncheon on December 11 and announced its 2019 Citizen of the Year. The award went to Dennis Duffy, retired teacher and former director of the EP Recreation Department, for his many contributions in the areas of education, recreation, sports, family, and community programming.

Duffy led the Evergreen Park Recreation Department for 38 years and was credited for bringing many new ideas and events to the Village. He oversaw an expansion of the Recreation Department’s budget from $10,000 to $625,000 during his tenure.

“Dennis successfully blended the traditions and the activities of the past with new innovative and expanded programs of his own,” said EPCC Secretary Laura Shallow, in announcing the award.

His contributions to the Recreation Department include maintaining a successful preschool, day camp, and youth sports programs. He expanded the performing arts program and added several new sports offerings. Community events, including the 3rd of July Parade, also grew under Duffy’s leadership.

In addition, Duffy was a teacher for 35 years and chair of the History and Social Studies Department at Brother Rice High School, where he also served as a varsity football coach.

Duffy accepted the award with humility, thanking the local schools for their cooperation. He also singled out his two program directors at the Recreation Department, Karen Sexton and Jill Lynn.

“They make the recreation department go,” he said. “Every time I see M.A.S.H., I think, ‘I’m the colonel, and there’s Radar.’ They’re the best. I owe my success to them.”

During the luncheon, the Chamber also installed a new slate of officers and directors.

The 2020 Officers are:

President: Laura Freeman of Berkshire Hathaway Biros Realtors

First Vice President: Laura Shallow, World Data Systems and Saint Xavier University

Second Vice President: Michele Carmona, Evergreen Bank Group

Secretary: Maria Cantu-Dougala, First Midwest Bank

Treasurer: William Winters, Evergreen Park American Legion Post #854

Immediate Past President: Nicki Seidl, Evergreen Park Public Library


The 2020 Directors are:

Percy Allen, MEP Exterminating

John Anderson, Attorney at Law

Jeseña Hernandez, First National Bank of Evergreen Park

Sean Kelly, State Farm Insurance

Dr. Robert Machak, Evergreen Park Elementary School District 124

Ginger Morgan, Thompson & Kuenster Funeral Home

Thomas Ollenburger, H&R Johnson Bros., Inc.

Thomas O’Malley, Evergreen Park Community High School District 231

Bruce Smith, B Allan Graphics

Pam Waldrom, Academy of Self Defense

Chad Weiler, Little Company of Mary Hospital

Stephanie Welch, Humana


Dennis Duffy, center, poses with past Citizens of the Year.

Thomas O’Malley, Superintendent of Evergreen Park Community High School, introduces students on the 2019 Snow Court.

Officers and Directors of the Evergreen Park Chamber of Commerce

The Evergreen Park Community High School Madrigals Choir perform

Outgoing EPCC President Nicki Seidl receives a plaque and a gift thanking her for her tenure.

EPCC Treasurer Laura Shallow and outgoing President Nicki Seidl welcome guests.

Installation of Chamber directors.

EPCC’s new president, Laura Freeman, and Nicki Seidl

2020 EPCC Officers

For his commitment to economic development, business recruitment, and overall leadership, Evergreen Park Mayor James Sexton was named the town’s 2017 Citizen of the Year by the Evergreen Park Chamber of Commerce. He received the award at the Chamber’s holiday luncheon in December.

Mr. Sexton has served as the mayor of Evergreen Park since 2001. He was recognized for making numerous contributions to strengthen the business climate and enhance the quality of life in the village during his tenure.

“Jim has achieved great successes in developing a wonderful economic environment in which businesses can start, grow and thrive,” said Laura Shallow, secretary of the Chamber of Commerce, as she announced the award.

Those accomplishments include:

  • upgrading the streetscape along Evergreen Park’s main thoroughfare of 95th Street in 2002.
  • bringing in new development on Kedzie at 87th and 95th streets.
  • redeveloping Yukich Field into several sports fields, with a walking path and an ice skating rink.
  • transforming the Evergreen Country Club property into a community golf range, a farm with a variety of animals, a gazebo for concerts, and a dog park.
  • creating the Evergreen Park Senior Center at the site of a former church on 94th and Homan.
  • renovating Evergreen Plaza, bringing several new stores and restaurants to the site.

“All this great economic development reminds each of us, business people and residents alike, to shop local and ‘Keep the Green in Evergreen,’” Shallow said. The sales tax dollars Mayor Sexton has steered into the community helps to fund  important Village projects, she added.

The Citizen of the Year award, formerly called the Business Person of the Year, was changed in 2017 to be more inclusive of community members who help make Evergreen Park stronger. Past recipients include Laura Shallow of World Data Systems and Saint Xavier University; Sister Margaret Christina Hoban of Little Company of Mary Hospital; Nicki Seidl of the Evergreen Park Public Library; Linda Kosary of Kosary Funeral Home; Thomas Ollenburger of H. & R. Johnson Brothers; and Dennis Reilly of LCM Hospital. Last year’s recipient was Nick Barraco of Barraco’s Restaurant.