O’Grady urges Orland Township residents to salute student graduates during virus restrictions
Orland Township Supervisor Paul O’Grady steps up to recognize the 2020 students whose graduations have been disrupted because of restrictions intended to stop the spread of the deadly coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. O’Grady, one of the most praised officials in the Orland region, said the entire community should rally around the students who were forced by the virus to complete their school years from their homes and online. The Township continues to give residents a consistent and effective message of support
By Ray Hanania
Orland Township Paul O’Grady, who has been recognized as one of the best officials in Orland Park and the Orland Park region, called on residents of the Township to salute the students from the Class of 2020 whose graduations were disrupted by the coronavirus outbreak.
O’Grady’s message is for all of the graduates from elementary school, high school and all colleges and universities which were ordered closed in March because of the outbreak of the deadly coronavirus.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker issued a disaster declaration on March 9 as coronavirus infections started to rise in Illinois, and especially in Cook County where the population is more densely populated. And on March 13, Pritzker ordered all schools closed to prevent the spread of the virus which has since severely impacted both young and old — the elderly are viewed as more susceptible because of health exposures and immune weaknesses but the virus is a threat to everyone including to students, spread faster in close contact activities such as in schools, stores and public gatherings.
To bolster the students’ achievements and esteem, O’Grady suggested that every homeowner and business in Orland Township, which includes the economically savaged Orland Park, and areas of Orland Hills, Tinely Park and unincorporated township areas, display a poster applauding the hardworking and achievements of the 2020 school graduates who were forced to move their studies to their homes and online.
“The Class of 2020 had an anti-climactic end to their school year,” said O’Grady, who noted the posters will be distributed through the Townships popular newsletter magazine.
“I hope residents will display the Township poster so we can, as a community, show this year’s graduates how proud we all are of them and all their efforts have not gone unnoticed. It’s the least we can do to celebrate their accomplishments.”
O’Grady said that the poster will be delivered to every home inside the next issue of the Orland Township Focus, the award winning magazine that is one of the only sources of accurate information about activities for youth, seniors and residents in the communities that make up the Township.
O’Grady said he urges residents to hang the posters from their front windows to remind the graduates of 2020 that the community is proud of their achievements and support them as the entire country struggles through the coronavirus pandemic.
Extra posters can be picked up at the Township office, 14807 S. Ravinia Ave. Residents should call the Township at (708) 403-4222, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. prior to visiting, O’Grady said, so that the Township’s staff can have the posters ready for them when they arrive.
Former Cook County Commissioner Elizabeth “Liz” Gorman, a champion of the taxpayers, released a statement applauding O’Grady’s move.
“It is good to see someone showing concern for where it should be, to the people or Orland Township and Orland Park. The students worked so hard and to be denied a graduation ceremony because of this pandemic is just terrible,” Gorman said.
“I applaud Paul O’Grady for thinking about the students and launching this program to give our students in Orland Park, Orland Township, Orland Hills and in Tinley Park and the unincorporated areas the recognition they deserve, and to show that the responsible community leadership cares about them. Great idea. The students deserve our support.”
Orland Township covers a 36-square mile area bounded by 135th Street on the North, 183rd Street on the South, Will-Cook Road on the West, and Harlem Avenue on the East and represents more than 100,000 residents.
The township effectively provides a wide range of public services with the three basic mandated functions of a township described as road and bridge maintenance, property assessment, and general assistance such as food and emergency relief for people in need.
But the programs and services of Orland Township that O’Grady supervisors efficiently and effectively reach well beyond that. The Township also provides senior and youth programs, assistance for the disabled, upkeep of parks and recreational facilities, and health services, just to name a few. All residents are eligible to participate in the services offered by Orland Township. Income guidelines generally do not apply, except in such areas as general assistance and the food pantry.
For more information about Orland Park, click this link.
“It’s a very nice move on O’Grady’s part to put the focus on the achievements of our students,” one parent told Suburban Chicagoland.
“Who else around here has thought of this? The students worked so hard and not being able to graduate int he traditional manner or to celebrate their achievements has to be so disappointing after all of the work they put in at school. This is a genuinely good thing to do.”
The Illinois Department of Public Health has identified that more than 174 residents in Orland Park have been infected with the fast-spreading COVID-19 virus. Click here to view IDPH website.
While the virus continues to spread, conflicting signals have been issued from the Village of Orland Park on holding music festivals and re-opening the Mall, stoking fears that the virus may resurge if cautions are abandoned too quickly, state officials have said.
(Ray Hanania is an Orland Park resident, taxpayer and award winning columnist, writer and media consultant. Hanania has been writing to defend the rights of Orland Parkers since moving into the community in 1986. He has been recognized for his writing clarity and for informing residents in Orland Park and neighboring communities of the significance of issues that they face and about government corruption and failures. Email Hanania at email@example.com. You can also read his award winning Op-Ed columns in the Regional News Newspaper.)