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Frank M. Zuccarelli wins the village of South Holland Community Humanitarian award

3/24/2017, 9:59 a.m. | Updated on 3/24/2017, 10 a.m.
Thornton Township Supervisor Frank M. Zuccarelli said everyday he wakes up and tries to think of a way to make ...
Thornton Township Supervisor Frank M. Zuccarelli speaking to a crowd during the ceremony

Frank M. Zuccarelli wins the village of South Holland Community Humanitarian award

Thornton Township Supervisor Frank M. Zuccarelli said everyday he wakes up and tries to think of a way to make a difference in the lives of the community. Others have seen that dedication and recently gave him a prestigious honor.

For his more than three decades of public service to the community, Zuccarelli was awarded the Community Humanitarian Award by the Village of South Holland. The award acknowledges his tireless work in creating a better life for youth, adults and seniors within Thornton Township.

“I want to thank you for this honor because it means a great deal to me,” said Zuccarelli, of South Holland. “I really think public service is what I was made to do. Can you imagine having a job where every hour of the day you feel so good and fulfilled because you are helping others. It is a wonderful feeling.”

The 2017 Volunteer Appreciation Dinner and Mayor’s Leadership Awards Presentation, which was held at the South Holland Community Center, occurs every two years and honors people who have best exemplified citizenship, faith, family, future and humanitarian actions. More than 160 people attended. For the past 23 years, Zuccarelli has served as Thornton Township Supervisor, the largest township in Illinois. A three-time Township Supervisor of the Year award winner, he created the Faith, Dignity and Respect Initiative bringing together elected officials, law enforcement and community leaders to develop proactive ways to stem the shocking amount of gun violence and community unrest that swept the nation in places like Ferguson, Baltimore, New York and Chicago.

After hearing about a gunman murdering nine innocent people during a Bible study at the Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina in 2015, Zuccarelli was affected not just by the tragedy but seeing how the community showed its Christian values and pleaded for a peaceful resolution even forgiving the confessed murdering. He brought a delegation to the state to learn how Thornton Township could foster an environment of peace and unity and find out how the South Carolina community could come together in the aftermath of such senseless violence.

“The award acknowledges your outstanding leadership, bringing together elected officials, law enforcement personnel, and community leaders to develop proactive approaches to fostering an environment of peace and unity,” said South Holland Mayor Don A. De Graff. “By offering vital youth and senior services, by proactively engaging in job creation for constituents of Thornton Township, by reaching out to those who have special needs, and by creating and executing the Faith, Dignity and Respect Initiative, your lifelong work and commitment provide a higher quality of life for those you serve. “

The township hosted a conference geared towards adult residents that focused on Community Policing, Mental Health, and Social Justice Issues that was attended by about 300 community leaders and residents. Wanting a comprehensive approach, Thornton Township worked with the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement to organized a Youth Conference last year attended by more than 1,200 Thornton Township juniors and seniors from six different high schools. It provided specific training on topics such as the law and their rights, and the importance of appropriate reaction in case of a traffic stop to best avoid unnecessary confrontation that could lead to excessive use of force.