Community Service Award chairman Gale Shafer (from left), recipient Jack Heafey and wife Katherine Heafey, and Chapter Regent Audra Gray. (Supplied photo)

Community Service Award chairman Gale Shafer (from left), recipient Jack Heafey and wife Katherine Heafey, and Chapter Regent Audra Gray. (Supplied photo)

Heafey receives Swallow Cliff Chapter community service award

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Swallow Cliff Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, presented Jack Heafey, of Palos Heights, the DAR Community Service Award for his outstanding volunteer activities at Northwestern Medicine Palos Hospital.

The award was presented in December at the monthly luncheon.

Each chapter of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution can present two DAR Community Service Awards in a calendar year. The purpose of the awards is to recognize the contributions to the community of individuals and organizations for outstanding voluntary service, which can include humanitarian, patriotic, historical, citizenship, or environmental conservation endeavors, or by organizing or participating in community activities. Swallow Cliff Chapter felt that Heafey definitely met those requirements.

At a time in his life when most men his age would be content to take it easy and spend his retirement in leisure, Heafey, 89, has chosen a different path.

His volunteerism started in 1997, following his retirement as a high school teacher, when he became a docent for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Later, his own health issues and a stay at what is now Northwestern Medicine Palos Hospital in Palos Heights had Heafey looking into volunteering there. He has served in some capacity ever since then. Recently he was recognized during National Volunteer week as having the most hours – over 11,530.

His duties at the hospital have ranged from being a patient transporter to, more recently, working in the Sterile Supply Processing department.

His social personality makes him beloved by the patients with whom he comes into contact and with whom he shares his love for life. He says that volunteering has given him an opportunity to connect with people and build friendships that he might not otherwise have and to give back to his community in a very tangible way.

While his hours are reduced from the 12 hours a week he worked before the pandemic, he still manages to work four hours a day for two days a week.

The nursing staff speaks highly of Jack and his dedication and declare that he makes their job much easier.

As Donna Nadelhoffer, the Manager of the Volunteer Services, says in her letter of recommendation, “We value him as part of our family.”

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