Forest Park has endless heroes. Just about every time you pick up the paper, you hear about another Forest Park resident going above and beyond the call of duty to make the village a better place for everyone to live. Say hello to your latest heroes”Scott McAdam and Scott McClintock. A capacity crowd awards ceremony hosted by emcee Jerry Butler was given by Seguin Services to honor both McAdam and McClintock for their work with Forest Park’s disabled.
Headquartered in Cicero, Seguin Services is a not-for-profit social service agency geared towards assisting those with disabilities throughout the United Stated. The organization has a primary role and connection with Forest Park as approximately five of its homes are located within the village. In each home reside between two to seven individuals with disabilities who are assisted in finding viable jobs within the community. The hope is to bridge the gap, to close any distances between disabled/developmentally challenged individuals and the community so that they can contribute positively to the village of Forest Park. McAdam and McClintock have contributed to that necessary interrelationship.
Officer Scott McClintock of the Forest Park Police Department is a standout officer in this regard. Along with the police department as a whole and Mayor Anthony Calderone, who accepted a plaque for the village’s contributions, McClintock was singularly awarded a Good Neighbor Award for his persistent dedication to ensuring these individuals’ safety. Joe Mengoni, Seguin Services’ Vice President of Adult Community Living Programs and North Riverside resident, nominated McClintock.
Mengoni raved about McClintock’s commitment to Forest Park’s disabled community members. “He’ll be there right away,” said Mengoni, should any assistance be needed. Mengoni explained that McClintock always arrives with a calming, soothing demeanor that aids perfectly with getting situations under control.
Humbly, McClintock explained that this process is not difficult; it is done by “just talking to them, you know, instead of yelling at them. Getting them to understand that I mean no harm.” He added, “It’s just taking a couple of extra steps to ensure their safety.”
Mengoni said he has heard horror stories in other cities of officers zapping someone who has autism with electronic stun guns. Forest Park, Mengoni said, is not like that. Mengoni thanked Officer McClintock and the police department as a whole for that devotion to peaceful support.
“He acts in a non-threatening and understanding manner,” said Mengoni.
Mengoni’s friendship with McClintock has been longstanding. He has known McClintock since they were around six years old. “He lived four doors down from me as a kid,” said Mengoni. Friendships like these in the intimate community that is Forest Park help to create invaluable dialogue between organizations as a whole. At the awards ceremony the mayor said to Mengoni, “Anything you need, call me,” said Mengoni.
Some cities do not like when Community Integrated Living Arrangement homes are built. The problem is that these homes can be looked at as tax burdens, where “the community doesn’t receive revenue,” explained Mengoni. Or sometimes people do not want to live next to such homes due to archaic discriminatory reasons.
“Forest Park was never like that,” said Mengoni, “Forest Park, it’s diverse. It’s got everything there. People are friendly.”
The disabled and developmentally challenged individuals appreciate this friendliness. They also like the easy access to such things as the library and pool. This easy access allows them to be active, productive community members. “It’s kind of an eye-opening and wonderful experience for our folks,” said Mengoni.
Reciprocally, this creates a good environment for the police to work as well. Asked what he likes about Forest Park, McClintock replied, “Everything. The small town. I know everybody that I work with.” He added, “This is a perfect community. Everybody gets along. It’s good. It makes it fun to get to go to work.”
Another person trying to help make Forest Park ‘a perfect community’ is Scott McAdam of McAdam Landscaping, located at 2001 Desplaines Ave. McAdam was awarded a Community Support Award for his tireless donation of time and resources to aid in beautifying Seguin’s Forest Park homes. Seguin’s Julie Lerch met McAdam at a United Way meeting where she queried him to see if he would be interested in making some donations such as new plants and new trees. Not only did McAdam say yes, but he gave a resounding yes.
“He’s incredible. He’s never said, ‘No,'” said Lerch.
Is this response common?
Oh my God! Everybody says, ‘No!'” said Lerch, “Everybody’s favorite word is ‘no.’ For every ‘yes’ I hear, I’ve heard ten ‘no’s.”
McAdam responded to Lerch’s request by donating thousands of dollars worth of landscaping materials and time, even finishing up the preliminary designs for the upcoming landscaping project. Seguin is currently waiting for permits to clear, but once they do the hope is to begin breaking ground in August or September.
“The whole village, they’ve been kind of overlooked a lot,” said Mengoni. This sort of volunteerism and commitment needed awarding, so Seguin responded with a ceremony that both award recipients appreciated. Lerch said that McAdam “was just thrilled. He brought his entire family.”
McClintock said, “It’s nice to be recognized,” and added, “With all the bad press that the department has gotten lately, it’s nice to get recognized for some good things.”
Those who would like to get involved in doing some more of those ‘good things’ can contact Julie Lerch at jlerch.