The Village of Oak Park | 123 Madison St.  Oak Park, IL 60302 |

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Public health contributors honored

Sept. 28, 2016 – Two individuals, two local non-profit organizations and two Oak Park businesses have been honored with the Dr. William Fitzsimmons Public Health Award for their contributions to the health and well-being of Oak Parkers.

The Fitzsimmons Award for Excellence in Public Health is named in honor of the Oak Park Health Department’s Medical Consultant from 1976-1992. Dr. Fitzsimmons was an Oak Park physician and humanitarian who volunteered his services to the Village for many years.

The annual awards are presented by the Oak Park Board of Health and the Oak Park Department of Public Health. This year’s winners are, in the words of their nominators:

  • Ryan Bradley, who has helped greatly reduce the amount of nitrogen oxide emitted by diesel engines in construction and agriculture equipment used by his employer, Case New Holland. The vehicles Bradley, an Oak Park resident, has helped put into production emit just seven percent of the nitrogen oxide emissions compared to vehicles made 12 years ago.
  • Lively Athletics, a fitness and lifestyle apparel store for women owned by Oak Park natives Anne Pezalla and Kate Pezalla Martin. In addition to hosting workshops for girls and women of all fitness levels, Lively Athletics helps support several causes and donates running shoes to children in need.
  • Oak Park River Forest Infant Welfare Society, an important provider of medical, dental and behavioral services for low-income children from Oak Park and the surrounding area. Celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2016, the IWS is made up of Chicago-area women who support the non-profit charitable organization’s mission of providing all children with unfettered access to quality health care.
  • Enso Oak Park, a martial arts school owned by Oak Park residents Denise and Jay Nacu, which in addition to teaching the art of Shotokan karate also supports a strong sense of community and respect for others while promoting the physical fitness and emotional health of Oak Parkers young and old.
  • Rachel Moore, who served as a crossing guard at Oak Park and Chicago avenues for more than a decade before passing away in 2015. Ms. Rachel as she was known throughout neighborhood is fondly remembered for cheerfully manning her post and watching over school children as if they were her own.
  • Shawnash Institute, a non-profit charitable organization that focuses on providing regular access to fresh produce for economically-stressed community members.  With board members Warren Bakker and John Owens leading the way, the Shawnash Institute supports the Oak Park Farmers’ Market’s Double Value Coupon Program, which allows customers who qualify for SNAP  benefits (commonly known as food stamps) to double the value of their purchase of fruits and vegetables up to $20.

For more information on the annual Fitzsimmons awards, call 708.358.5480 or email