Through years of service in a diverse array of community groups, Cathlyn Marchese has made Darien live up to its motto, "A Nice Place to Live."
On Thursday it was announced that Marchese was named Darien's 2013 Citizen of the Year.
Nominations for Citizen of the Year were judged by a committee after the deadline of Jan. 7. The winner must be a resident of Darien and cannot currently be an elected official. The committee asked people to consider diversity of activities, length of service, degree of involvement and impact to the City of Darien.
"Our choice for the 2013 nomination has truly made this city a much nicer place to live since moving here 26 years ago," said Kathy Lyons, chairwoman of the Citizen of the Year committee. "We feel that the time has come for the city to formally recognize her for all of her hard work and dedication."
Throughout those 26 years in Darien, Marchese has been a part of numerous local groups. Her accomplishments include:
OUR LADY OF PEACE
While her children attended Our Lady of Peace School, she started and chaired the Market Day Program there for 10 years, bringing in thousands of dollars to the school. This activity saw the need for a larger organization, so Marchese and her husband Joe initiated the Our Lady of Peace Home and School Association. She also served as a Lunch Mother for twelve years and a Room Mother for three years.
DARIEN HISTORICAL SOCIETY
As a member of the Darien Historical Society since 2002, she is currently on the Board of Directors and serves as 2nd Vice President and Membership Chairperson. She has chaired the Tag Day and co-chairs the "Sunday Dinner" events along with Alice Brennan.
DARIEN WOMEN'S CLUB
Marchese has been a member of the Darien Woman's Club since 2002. She served two years as Membership Director and currently is on the Hospitality Committee. For nine years, she has been selling tickets to the rides at Darienfest for the Woman's Club as well as for the Chamber of Commerce.
She was a co-chair of the DarienFest planning committee. She, along with Joanne Coleman and their committee, worked at selecting and scheduling all of the food vendors for the event.
DARIEN YOUTH CLUB
While her children were in the Darien Youth Club programs, she became a DYC Board Member for eight years. While on the board, she ran the DYC's $100 raffle. The DYC Sportscore also benefitted from her selling refreshments while her kids were in DYC.
HINDSALE SOUTH HOSPITALITY
When her children moved on to Hinsdale South High School, she became involved there, too. She served on the Hospitality Committee for four years and was even a volunteer basketball scorer for the freshman basketball team.
DARIEN LIONS CLUB
Although not a member, Marchese has been a volunteer for the Annual Candy Day Fundraiser for more than 20 years. She has always finished as one of the top five fundraisers, according to the COY committee.
At Darienfest, when the Lion's Club needs volunteers for the Beer Tent or Corn Tent, Marchese has always been there. She loves working for their annual food drive in December, bagging groceries for those in need, Lyons said. For three years, she worked with her husband Joe on the Lion's Club District 1 J "Nightwalk" Committee. This is a 3-mile "Walk for Sight" fundraising event. he Lion's Club has awarded her with a Certificate of Achievement for more than 11 years for her efforts.
AND EVEN MORE...
- In the late 1980s, Marchese served on Darien's first Recycling Committee.
- She served School District 63 as a member of the "Cass 2000" Commission to study the future building needs of the district.
- For two years, Cathy washed clothes for the PADS Program.
- She works annually as a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society and for 10 years raised funds for the Alzheimer's Research Fund as well.
"She's the first one there to help and the last to leave when help is needed," one nominator said. "All of this is done unselfishly. Her kindness, gentleness, and helpfulness are hallmarks of who she is and what she is all about."
Another nomination stated: "While she has served in leadership positions in several community organizations, she would rather be seen as a hard worker than as a group leader. Her actions have served to make her a role model not only for our community but also for her three sons and their families."
More Recent Winners
2011: Darien Citizens of the Year Help Local Kids Achieve Dreams
Robert and Charleen Vuillaume are very humble about the difference they make through The Gift of Carl Foundation, established in 2005 in memory of the Vuillaume’s 16-year-old son, Carl, who drowned during a family vacation.
2010: Robert Klein Named Darien Citizen of the Year
Robert Klein’s service to the community runs deep. He serves as chairman of the board of the Darien-Woodridge Fire Protection District and is a former president of the Indian Prairie Public Library foundation. He’s also a regular volunteer at the substance abuse program at Hinsdale Hospital. Klein’s also an active businessman as president of Bolingbrook-based Award Emblem Manufacturing Inc. Even through his work, he gives to others by donating trophies to Hinsdale South High School.