Volunteers for Life

When community members sat down at their tables for the Naperville Jaycees’ Annual Distinguished Service Awards dinner, they found a small card at their placemats that read “attitude is everything.” It’s the personal mantra for Trolley Meister Don Wehrli, this year’s recipient of the Charles D. Bueche Lifetime Achievement award. After learning he was this year’s winner, Wehrli was surprised.

“I’ve got more to do,” exclaimed Wehrli. “This is just the start.”

The Jaycees hold the awards dinner each year to honor those in Naperville who serve others in a number of different ways. In addition to the Lifetime Achievement Award, seven other winners are named. The Jaycees ask members of the community to nominate those who fit the criteria for each of the awards, and then a committee chooses the winners.

“This is our way of saying ‘thank you’ to all those folks who do a lot of volunteer work,” said Kevin Picket, Co-Chair of the Distinguished Service Awards.

The complete list of winners this year are:
Charles D. Bueche Lifetime Achievement-Don Wehrli
Business-Advanced Data Technologies
Public Employee-Dan DiSanto
Educator-Rudy Keller
Not-for-Profit-National Alliance on Mental Illness DuPage
Young Professional-Kelli Thompson
Community Leader-John Buckley
Student Volunteer-Allison Neal

This year’s winner of the student volunteer award was nominated by someone very special to her, her younger brother.

“Allison dedicates a lot of her time to charity and she’s really a selfless person,” said Mike Neal.

Allison Neal volunteers with NCO Youth and Family Service’s Operation Snowball, Special Olympics and other organizations.

“I don’t even consider volunteering volunteering,” said Allison. “It’s not a chore to me. I love it so much.”

At the end of the night, the winners could all agree with Don Wehrli. Their time isn’t done, there’s still more to be done.


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