Hickory Hills Police Chief Charles Hobart pumps gas for a senior citizen. (Photos by Steve Metsch)

Hickory Hills Police Chief Charles Hobart pumps gas for a senior citizen. (Photos by Steve Metsch)

400 motorists get free gas at Hickory Hill station as police chief pitches in

Spread the love

By Steve Metsch

Shirley Jenkins wasn’t about to miss her chance to get $50 worth of gasoline for free, even it meant getting in line around 6 a.m.

The Justice woman, 63, waited three hours to pump free gas into her SUV Thursday morning at Falcon Fuel in Hickory Hills.

“I need the gas,” Jenkins said. “Three hours. I was all the way around there on 91st Street.”

Asked if the wait was worth it, Jenkins said, “Well, I’m getting the gas.”

She wasn’t alone.

reporter HH gas giveaway2 shirley

Shirley Jenkins of Justice was all smiles despite waiting three hours for $50 worth of free gas.

Four hundred motorists each got $50 of free gas in a giveaway sponsored by businessman Willie Wilson, who paid for $1 million worth of gasoline at 50 stations in Chicago and the suburbs on Thursday.

Hickory Hills police said cars began lining up around 4:45 a.m. for the giveaway that started at 7 a.m.

Demand was so high at Falcon Fuel, 87th Street and Roberts Road, the line stretched 1.5 miles at 6:15 a.m., Police Chief Charles Hobart said.

Vehicles were on 87th Street west one mile to 88th Avenue and then another half-mile south to 91st Street.

“We like to help people,” cashier Peter Lobo said. “All the pumps are pre-paid. They don’t have to come in.”

Station owner Bill Stefan thought Wilson had a great idea.

“There are no strings attached,” Stefan said. “It’s a good deal for everybody.”

Stefan did not see many people coming inside for other purchases like lottery tickets, snacks or coffee.

reporter HH gas giveaway4 deputy chief

Hickory Hills Deputy Police Chief Mark Benaitis was busy directing traffic.

“It’s mostly gas,” Stefan said. “We want to keep people moving through.”

Hickory Hills Deputy Police Chief Mark Benaitis was in charge of that.

Benaitis waved vehicles to pumps when they became available.

“We had some line jumpers, but our auxiliary officers and our officers handled them great,” Benaitis said. “There haven’t been any major problems.”

He thanked the public works department that was out early strategically placing barricades and cones to ensure the line stayed on 87th Street.

“The chief did a great job with planning,” Benaitis said.

reporter HH gas giveaway5 cars in line

The line of vehicles stretched far down 87th Street. (Supplied photo)

Hobart – who pumped gas for some senior citizens – said the giveaway was “going wonderfully.”

“We are prepared. The gas station has been cooperative. And the people have been smiling all morning getting the free gas. It’s a wonderful event so far,” Hobart said around 9 a.m.

“As soon as we heard about the event last weekend, we sat down and started working on a game plan,” Hobart said.

Line jumpers “kindly left the line when asked to,” Hobart said, adding he did not fill his own tank. “That would be inappropriate.”

But Hobart was happy for those who did.

“I have no idea what Dr. Wilson’s intentions are,” Hobart said. “I think it’s wonderful for anybody to give $1 million of their own money to help people. Absolutely.”

Benny Arce, 42, of Oak Lawn, and Carrie Thompson, 48, of Palos Hills, did not mind their wait of two hours and 20 minutes.

“Gas prices are expensive and I don’t live far away” Arce said.

Thompson agreed: “Times are hard. We’re really appreciative to Willie for doing this.”

One young woman said “no” when asked if her two-hour wait was worth it. But she was the exception. There were many happy motorists like Jenkins.

After Jenkins got her free gas, she was asked the big question after her three-hour wait: “How’s your bladder?”

“I’ve gotta go,” Jenkins said with a laugh as she drove away.

reporter HH gas giveaway3 carrie

Carrie Thompson, of Palos Hills, arrived at 6:40 a.m. and waited two hours and 20 minutes.

Local News

All through the pandemic, CTU rank and file members have often been adamant about what they say is the need for remote learning; and absent that, rigorous safety measures in schools that include masks. --Supplied photo

Tug of war over masks

Spread the love

Spread the loveCTU fights in court to stay covered  By Tim Hadac Masks became optional last week at public schools across the city, but the Chicago Teachers Union still vowed a fight to keep everyone covered. In the wake of a decision against their position by a labor board, the CTU issued this statement: “By…

Top-level gymnast Aleah Radovich (center) smiles with her mother, Danielle, and father, Dan, moments after she signed her letter of intent to continue her academic and athletic career at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, where she will wear the black and gold and compete for the Titans. --Supplied photo

Aleah Radojevich headed north on a gymnastics scholarship

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Joan Hadac Your correspondent in Clearing and Garfield Ridge (708) 496-0265 • joan.hadac@gmail.com Hi everyone. I’d like to share a lovely email with you I received from Garfield Ridge resident Danielle Radojevich, a 23-year employee of the Chicago Park District, sharing the accomplishments of her daughter, Aleah. Danielle told me that Aleah, whose…

Peggy Zabicki

No waffling about her favorite holiday

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Peggy Zabicki Your correspondent in West Lawn 3633 W. 60th Place •  (773) 504-9327 Today, March 25, is one of my favorite holidays. As you probably know, it is International Waffle Day. This holiday was first celebrated in Sweden after the invention of the waffle iron. Norway and Denmark soon followed. Now, Waffle Day is celebrated all…

Kathy Headley

Smooth streets, but not for long

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Kathy Headley Your correspondent in Chicago Lawn and Marquette Manor 6610 S. Francisco • (773) 776-7778 Over here on Francisco and surrounding streets, we currently have nice smooth roads–no potholes or cracks. All in all, it’s a pleasant ride, whether in a car or on a bike. As the nice weather invites…

Mary Stanek

Florida was just too far

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Mary Stanek Your correspondent in Archer Heights and West Elsdon 3808 W. 57th Place •  (773) 284-7394 “Sing Robin from your woodland tree. I love your little melody”. And the sounds of robins mean spring is here! Sorry I missed you last week. My family had intended to drive to Ocala, Fla.,…

Hickory Hills Police Chief Charles Hobart pumps gas for a senior citizen. (Photos by Steve Metsch)

400 motorists get free gas at Hickory Hill station as police chief pitches in

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Steve Metsch Shirley Jenkins wasn’t about to miss her chance to get $50 worth of gasoline for free, even it meant getting in line around 6 a.m. The Justice woman, 63, waited three hours to pump free gas into her SUV Thursday morning at Falcon Fuel in Hickory Hills. “I need the…

Bags and other adult entertainment will be the highlight of the new Fall on the Green this year. (File photo)

‘Squatters’ are removed from Oak Lawn neighborhood

Spread the love

Spread the loveAdult music fest to replace Fall on the Green By Joe Boyle While the effects of the pandemic are in decline, reports of “squatters” taking up residence in foreclosed homes in Oak Lawn has become an issue. However, the village has begun to fight back and are eliminating the presence of individuals residing…

The Rev. Benedykt Pazdan, pastor of St. Bernadette Parish, thanks everyone for their support for Ukrainian refugees at the Evergreen Park Village Board meeting on Monday night. (File photo)

St. Bernadette pastor thanks Evergreen Park for Ukrainian support

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Joe Boyle The pastor of St. Bernadette Parish in Evergreen Park is thankful for the support the community provided to give aid to the suffering refugees of Ukraine. Evergreen Park Mayor Kelly Burke said during the village board meeting Monday night that collections for the refugees who have fled or are still…

Members of various clergies say prayers during the vigil service held Saturday at Sts. Peter and Paul Orthodox Church in Palos Park. Pastor Vasyl Sendeha (second from left) also spoke about the need for prayers after the Russian invasion of Ukraine that began last month. (Photos by Joe Boyle)

Standing with Ukraine

Spread the love

Spread the loveAsk for prayers, donations at local church service By Joe Boyle Many parishioners at Sts. Peter and Paul Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Palos Park are dealing with the shock of seeing their native homeland attacked by Russia. But what they were asking for during a Saturday afternoon service at the church, 8410 W. 131st St.,…

Chicago Ridge Mayor Chuck Tokar

Parking concerns silence proposed music venue for Chicago Ridge

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Dermot Connolly Insufficient parking has led the Chicago Ridge Village Board to put a damper a prospective business owner’s proposal for a live music venue in the 10700 block of South Ridgeland Avenue. Damon Payton, a cousin of Walter Payton, came to the March 15 Village Board meeting seeking a business license…

Neighbors

Vintage cars will again be rolling in the La Grange Pet Parade. The 78th edition of the parade starts at 9:30 a.m. June 1. (Photo by Steve Metsch)

Folks urged to enter costume contest for La Grange Pet Parade

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Steve Metsch About 40,000 people are expected along the streets of downtown La Grange on Saturday morning June 1, with some of them dressing in costumes for the 78th annual La Grange Pet Parade. A costume contest has long been part of the parade, Molly Price, the parade’s executive director, said on…

Deputy Supt. of Public Works Ken Tucker (from left), Trustee Tim Kovel, Building Commissioner Matt Struve, Mayor Ernest Millsap, Public Works Superintendent Jody Kovel, Trustee Jorea Touranjeau, Trustee Dominic Misasi, and Trustee Lida Mills at the site of the new public works office building. (Photo by Carol McGowan)

Hodgkins breaks ground on new public works building

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Carol McGowan The Village of Hodgkins is getting ready to welcome a new public works office building at its facility off of 67th Street, east of East Avenue. Village officials and public works employees gathered last month for a groundbreaking. Hodgkins Mayor Ernest Millsap explained the history behind the Paul G. Struve Public Works Building.…

Sandburg pitcher Ethan Highfill gets Marist's Aiden Cech to swing and miss on a pitch during a 7-3 Eagles' victory on May 23. Photo by Xavier Sanchez

Baseball | Sandburg tops Marist to open playoffs, but falls to LW West in regional final

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Xavier Sanchez Correspondent For the second consecutive year, Sandburg’s season came to an end at the hands of Lincoln-Way West. The Eagles (21-12) fell to the Warriors, 6-1, in the Class 4A Sandburg Regional championship game on May 25. They had advanced to a second playoff game with a 7-3 comeback victory…

The Chicago Red Stars' Penelope Hocking had her streak of three games with a goal stopped in a 1-0 loss to Louisville on May 25 in Bridgeview. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Emma Sears scores match’s lone goal as Louisville blanks Red Stars

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Correspondent The Chicago Red Stars are miles ahead of where they were last year. The team secured its 16th point on May 12. In 2023, it had to wait until July 7 to hit its 16th point during a season in which it finished in last place in the NWSL.…

all sports 2

Sports Bits | St. Michael seventh-grader sets Illinois state record in 110-meter hurdles

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Correspondent • St. Michael School seventh-grader Tommy Walter set a grade-school state record en route to winning the Illinois Elementary School Association Class 2A 110-meter hurdles at the grade-school state meet held May 10-11 in East Peoria. Tommy set the Class 2A record in the event with a time of…

Water Polo Stock

Water Polo | Lions, Eagles, Macs, Crusaders and Mustangs earn All-State honors

Spread the love

Spread the loveAll-State water polo Lyons girls water polo standout Maya Mladjan was named to the Illinois Water Polo organization’s All-State first team. The Lions’ Delaney Judkins and Isabella Recker, and Mother McAuley’s Becca Engquist earned second-team honors. Sandburg’s Claire Donnell made the third team and the Mighty Macs’ Andi Moriarity made the fourth team.…

Chicago Christian's Grace Mullin is committed to Air Force. Chicago Christian photo

Chicago Christian’s Grace Mullin caps successful spring by committing to Air Force

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Correspondent Grace Mullin has proven talents on the ground. In the future, the Chicago Christian graduate may show more talents in the air. After an incredible spring and track season, Mullin — who graduated May 23 — capped things off by committing to the Air Force Academy. This came less…

tennis stock

Boys Tennis State Finals | Lyons’ Jack McLane and Mason Mazzone take 2nd

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Correspondent Two doubles teams from Lyons made deep runs at the IHSA Class 2A boys tennis state finals, with one of them bringing home some hardware. The boys state tennis finals were held at various sites in the north and northwest suburbs May 23-25. The Lions’ Jack McLane and Mason…

all sports

Postseason Roundup | Area teams still alive in playoffs

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Correspondent Several area baseball, softball, boys volleyball and girls soccer teams were still alive in the postseason heading into this week. Among those was two-time defending Class 3A champion Nazareth, which is competing in Class 4A this season. The Roadrunners, Brother Rice and Mount Carmel won regional titles. So did…

The St. Laurence 400 meter relay team of Harley Rizzs, Quinton Williams, Vincent Enoch and Monroe Thompson Jr. won the 2024 state championship in 41.94, becoming the first relay team in Vikings history to win a state title. Photo courtesy of St. Laurence High School

Boys State Track Finals | St. Laurence’s Harley Rizzs wins 100m title, helps Vikings to 400m relay gold

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Correspondent St. Laurence junior Harley Rizzs was a member of the Vikings football team that earned a 2023 Class 4A state runner-up trophy the day after Thanksgiving. He bettered that two days before Memorial Day when he became the first St. Laurence track athlete to win an individual state championship.…