Isaac Beal, a former Air Force pilot and CTA worker, was honored by the Forest Park village council and several Forest Park police officers on May 9 for his 30 years of service as a Neighborhood Watch Ambassador.
During the village council meeting, officials praised Beal for his dedication to the program, and for sticking with it since the beginning. They expressed hope that the program could be reinvigorated, and they knew that the long-time neighborhood watch ambassador could be counted on to help make it happen. For his part, Beal said he was humbled and grateful for the honor.
After the meeting, Beal shared with the Review and Mayor Rory Hoskins stories about facing racism in the South, his experiences in the U.S Air Force, the time he babysat future Chicago mayor Richard. M. Daley and his work on the CTA. But he declined to be interviewed about his life.
“He’s shy,” his wife, Mary Beth Beal, offered.
Everyone who spoke about Isaac Beal, during and after the meeting, talked about his life experiences and his character. Commissioner Joe Byrnes, a former police officer and one-time interim police chief, recalled that Beal was one of the eight original Neighborhood Watch members. He described Beal as an enthusiastic and driven volunteer who could always be counted on to man the phones and get people out.
“Isaac, congratulations — you are a great guy and I was happy to work with you all those years,” Byrnes said.
“Thank you,” Beal responded. “You are the greatest.”
Later during the meeting, other commissioners offered him praise.
“I would also like to say congratulations to Mr. Beal — it is a lot of good work you put in this town,” said Commissioner Maria Maxham.
“Thank you so much, Mr. Beal, for your service to community,” said Commissioner Jessica Voogd. “It’s really wonderful that you have this honor.”
Forest Park police officer Tom Cannon, who heads the Neighborhood Watch program, later told the Review that in the 15 years he’s known Beal, he has come to rely on him, reflecting that he never missed a meeting or an event unless he was ill or had a family emergency.
“[Beal] has been a pillar of the community and someone everyone in the village should be proud to know,” he said.
Beal told the council that he was humbled and grateful for the recognition.
“Thank you so much,” he said. “I just want to thank you for recognizing me today. I try to do what’s right for Forest Park. I love Forest Park and I will continue to that, for as long as I live, and I’m happy that you decided that I deserve to be recognized in some way.”