Willow Springs Mayor Melissa Neddermeyer (from left), Mike Smigielski, and Brian Bernardoni. (Supplied photo)

Willow Springs Mayor Melissa Neddermeyer (from left), Mike Smigielski, and Brian Bernardoni. (Supplied photo)

Willow Spring’s Mike Smigielski wins Lipinski All American Award

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By Carol McGowan

Willow Springs resident Mike Smigielski last month received the Congressman Bill Lipinski All American Award.

Smigielski, who is active in local Lions Clubs, was presented the award by Roberts Park Fire Protection District President Brian Bernardoni at the October 12 Willow Springs Village Board meeting.

Bernardoni was asked to present the award on behalf of the Lipinski family.

The award presentation read: “The All American Eagles program is extremely proud and happy to present to Mike Smigielski the Eagle Head Award for countless acts of patriotic community involvement and unlimited devotion to our land of liberty and fortress of freedom.  When Mike moved into Willow Springs, he felt the need to help his fellow friends and neighbors. He thought about doing this by joining the Willow Springs Lions Club, which was 46 years ago in 1977.  Mike has held just about every office in the Lions Club from president on down. He is currently serving as the club’s secretary, which he has done for the past 10 years. Mike was also elected as Lions District 1-A Governor in 1992. He presided over all the clubs in the Chicagoland area and the surrounding suburbs.

“Mike has been awarded the Lions Senior Master Key Award for sponsoring 25 or more new members. He has received 3 Lions of Illinois Foundation Fellow Award and 6 Melvin Jones Fellow Awards. Melvin Jones was the Chicago businessman that started the Lions Club, and they are now an International Service Organization.”

The following are only a few of his services to the Willow Springs community.

  • He has been on the Flag Committee and every United States holiday he puts up and removes the American Flags along Archer Avenue.
  • He gives rides to the doctor’s office for seniors along with residents that need help.
  • He has sponsored and opened his doors to his home six or more foreign exchange students from around the world.
  • He ran a free eyeglasses program for underprivileged youths that grew to anyone who needed them.
  • He has helped with the Village of Willow Springs Christmas food baskets for the needy.
  • He has been involved in local walkathons in the area to help raise funds for the Willow Springs Lions club. He has raised the most money and matched his collection with his own personal money.

Lipinski said, “My Betsy Ross Flag is flying high. My tri corner hat is off. And my trusty old colonial musket is raised in salute to Mr. Mike Smigielski for his positive Americanism and for his incalculable contributions to America and his community.”

Speaking with the Desplaines Valley News after the award was given, Bernardoni said it truly was deserved.

“Mike Smigielski is truly an American and Willow Springs and the surrounding areas are proud to have him as a resident helping the Willow Springs Lions club along with his neighbors and community.

“Mike has had an impact on the Willow Springs community, but that impact has also rippled down through his volunteerism with the Bridgeview and Justice Lions clubs among others. Mike is an excellent mentor, and so willing to give up his time and energy to help those in need.  It was very gracious of Willow Springs Mayor Melissa Neddermeyer, and Village Administrator Ryan Grace to allow me to recognize Mike at a village meeting.  Mike is a true gift to this community.”

Smigielski told the Desplaines Valley News that he felt honored to receive the award and was surprised.

“I don’t do it for recognition, it’s just what I do. Help others and my community.”

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