Greatest Person of the Southland 2012
Our Greatest Person feature, a nationwide project hosted by Patch.com and the Huffington Post, recognizes truly special people who've contributed to the betterment of the community.
The local stories on this page are part of the Greatest Person of the Southland series published on the south suburban Patch network.
Sylvia Kemp’s attitude about multiple sclerosis is summed up in the necklace she wears that reads: “I Have MS. It Doesn’t Have Me.” She raised over $16,000 for the Walk MS in Orland Park. May 4, 2012, on Orland Park Patch
Tom Kataras has been a key player in Homewood for decades. A week before his retirement, we're taking a look back on his contributions to the community. April 26, 2012, on Homewood-Flossmoor Patch
A Chicago Heights teacher believes the right time to teach children to be responsible with bank accounts, and other entrepreneurial needs, is kindergarten, at her new academy for middle and low-income families. April 12, 2012, on Chicago Heights Patch
After his son was diagnosed with leukemia, Carl Allegretti began running to fight cancer. On April 16, the Frankfort resident will run the Boston Marathon to raise money for research. April 11, 2012, on Frankfort Patch
A childhood of hardship—diabetes, blindness and a friend’s untimely death—shaped the man Gary Cheney became. The creator of the annual ShareFest made him a local leader who continues to help countless people in need. April 9, 2012, on New Lenox Patch
Sandburg students Jennifer Coners and Viktoria Rekasius combine their passions for dancing, working with children and helping people in need into a dance class for kids. A canned food donation is all that’s needed for entry. March 31, 2012, on Orland Park Patch
Lauren Peterson, 9, of Mokena, will be shaving her head this Friday for a St. Baldrick's Day fundraiser for cancer research. Help her reach her fundraising goals. March 20, 2012, on Mokena Patch
Oak Forest senior Courtney Kachlik defines the word 'teammate" and works outside the athletic arena to help others. March 14, 2012, on Oak Forest Patch
Evergreen Park veterinarian Dr. Joe Whalen owns LePar Animal Hospital and along with general veterinary services. He specializes in alternative medicine. March 6, 2012, on Evergreen Park Patch
Two Mother McAuley High School freshmen from Oak Lawn took a whimsical idea to sew stuffed animals into a memorable philanthropic effort, making gifts for people in need of simple acts of kindness. Feb. 23, 2012, on Oak Lawn Patch
A local mother and daughter are looking for groups of kids and teens who'd like their makeup done. The only catch? Participants must agree to donate to a local nonprofit, primarily PAWS Animal Shelter in Tinley Park. Feb. 22, 2012, on Tinley Park Patch
Forty years after losing his 3-year-old daughter to leukemia, Jim Watson continues to help others—and honor her memory—by donating blood. Feb. 13, 2012, on Oak Forest Patch
Louis Melvin Irons didn't speak about his Tuskegee Days until six years ago. His own children didn't know their father was part of Tuskegee History. Feb. 2, 2012, on Tinley Park Patch