He is an ordinary man whose service to the community has been extraordinary.
For more than 16 years, Andy Collis bused District 91 students to school. He has served on the village’s zoning board of appeals, as a park district commissioner, village treasurer, on the police and fire commission, as president of Kiwanis, assisting seniors at the Howard Mohr Community Center — the list goes on. Collis’ service to Forest Park is no secret.
His lifetime achievements have been recognized in many ways — with an honorary street sign in front of his home on the 800 block of Beloit — and with an Ed O’Shea Award from the Kiwanis Club of Forest Park, which honors those who have given extraordinary service to the village. On June 26, the Kiwanis Club of Forest Park recognized him again, awarding him a plaque representing 50 years of service as a Kiwanian. Nearly 30 people gathered for pizza and wine at Belmont Village to honor Collis, 88.
“He’s the oldest member and I’m right behind him,” said friend Dennis Moran, who has been with the Forest Park branch of Kiwanis for 48 years. Moran said he’ll always remember delivering turkey dinners with Collis on Thanksgiving Day as well as Christmas packages.
“I never saw him Christmas morning,” joked son Jim Collis. He said they plan to post the plaque in Collis’ new room at Belmont Village in Oak Park, where he recently moved. Collis was born and raised in the village — leaving briefly to serve as an army cook in the Korean War — and then returning to buy his family home on the 800 block of Beloit.
“The hours in the rain, Peanut Day, the Christmas thing, he’s helped so many people. I feel honored,” said Jim Collis.
During the day, Collis worked as photo engraver and lithographer for companies like National Geographic. But at night, wife Virginia Collis said he’d sneak off to hang out with other members of the Forest Park group.
“Boy, I’ll tell you they had good parties,” said Virginia Collis, adding that they will have been married 49 years come late July. “Almost all his friends were active in Kiwanis.”