Recipient ruse

By on November 5, 2010

Graceffa tricked into attending ceremony in her honor
by Lynn Meredith
Sugar Grove—Those closest to Pat Graceffa knew it would be difficult to get her to attend the 2010 Roscoe Ebey Citizen of the Year Award ceremony unless she believed it was to honor someone other than herself. Beverly Holmes, director of the Sugar Grove Public Library, came up with a plan with a couple of the Friends of the Library and launched a ruse to get Graceffa to attend the Oct. 27 ceremony.

“I wanted to be certain that she’d be there,” Holmes said. “But I couldn’t say straight out, ‘You’re getting the award.’ I told her that I nominated Ken Weisner, and ‘Will you be there to help support him?’ She went ahead and starting inviting everyone else.”

Sheriff Pat Perez accepts submissions for the Ebey award from all over Kane County. He screens the nominees for those who have given back to their communities. Holmes said she saw the announcement of an award to recognize people and immediately thought of Graceffa.

“Then I saw the announcement again, and I knew she’d be a good fit. When it came across my desk a third time, I knew I had to nominate her,” Holmes said. “There’s such a strong connection between what the award represents and what Pat does.”

Perez was also familiar with the work that Graceffa has done in the community.

“Living in Sugar Grove, I know first-hand what Pat Graceffa means to our community and the way she lives her life,” Perez said.

Graceffa is active with the library, the Sugar Grove Farmers’ Market, Corn Boil Bingo and book sale and writes the online newsletter. But friends say she does more than that.

“She fosters among people a sense of community, that so-and-so is your neighbor, that you need to watch out for others, bring meals to families in need, walk the dog. Whatever they need, she’s there or connecting them to someone else who can help,” Holmes said. “I want to hold her up as an example to others. What she does she does so easily, but it has such a big impact.”

So, when Graceffa bought the ruse that Weisner was to receive the award, she stepped up and rallied others to support him. Little did she know she was gathering an audience to her own ceremony.

“They surprised me good on that one. I was asking people to go to my own thing,” Graceffa said. “I had absolutely, positively no idea. So when they said Ken was nominated for Sugar Grove Online, I was all for that. He does so much hard work for the community.”

Even Perez didn’t know that Graceffa was unaware she was the recipient of the award until after he announced it.

“Pat was in tears, and then in true Pat Graceffa fashion she individually named the people that came with her and said the award should go to them,” Perez said. “That’s Pat Graceffa.”

Graceffa says she is honored to receive the recognition but that so many more people deserve it along with her.

“It’s an honor for Pat Perez to even think of me, out of all the people in Kane County. It’s an honor, but so many deserve it more than I do in this town,” Graceffa said. “Everybody in town should get it.”

Ebey Award honors memory
of selfless WWII veteran

Pat Graceffa joined Dawn Vogelsberg of Geneva and Emily Laughead of North Aurora as recipients of the 2010 Roscoe Ebey Citizen of the Year Award. The award was created in 2008 and named for an Aurora resident, Roscoe Ebey. Ebey, a decorated World War II veteran, was murdered in 2007 by a home intruder. His neighbor, who held down Ebey’s murderer until police arrived, was the first recipient of the award.
Ebey was known in the community as a kind, caring and selfless man, always willing to help his neighbors. The award memorializes him and honors those who continue to demonstrate that same spirit.

Award recipients
2008—the Rev. David Engbarth of Our Lady of Good Counsel Church in Aurora
2009—Darlene Marcusson of Lazarus House, Sarah Giachino and Kathy Tobusch, co-chairmen of Fox Valley Troop Support