"It’s hard for me
to believe that 20 years has passed since I first
opened the doors of European American Association
My dream was to
help people in need and without the commitment and
hard work of so many cherished volunteers and
exceptional people who have added their strength to
the foundation of this organization EAA could never
have reached the level it now enjoys.
I’m proud to say
that TODAY European American Association is an
essential part of our community and consists of
countless generous volunteers, a dedicated all
volunteer Board of Directors, Valentin Vlad,
President, Alfred Stefanovich, Secretary, Zelda
Robinson, Treasurer and Ion Kerekes, Board Member.
EAA currently has over 550+ wonderful employees who
assist several thousand clients with Energy
Assistance, Food and Senior Homecare. WOW - THANK
Now that you know
who we are today, I’d like to take a few moments to
tell you how we got here and remember some of the
incredible people who passed through our doors. It
was their energy and dedication which continually
recharged my belief that, “We can make a difference
in this world” and I would like to take this time to
say THANK YOU!
In 1991 the space
I envisioned as our office had been neglected for
years and was in complete disarray. Thanks to the
hard work of great volunteers like Alexandru
Bistrian, Daniel Lela, Daniel Hanches, Ioan Curescu
and others it was transformed into the headquarters
of European American Association. THANK YOU!
As I look back at
the past 20 years it only feels like yesterday since
my good friend, Lillian Quiles and I were working so
hard to compose just the right by-laws for EAA to
follow. We wrote letters, proposals and completed
applications for the Greater Chicago Food
Depository, LIHEAP, HUD, Illinois Department on
Aging Homemaker Program and our precious 501(c)(3)
Federal Tax Exempt status. I only wonder where EAA
would be today without the dedication and expertise
of such a devoted friend. THANK YOU!
As we neared
incorporation I searched for a Board of Directors,
and found a wonderful group of people who trusted me
and believed that I was going in a good direction.
One of our beginning Presidents, Florian Buchiu as
well as his brother Jean Bukiu have been long time
friends of EAA and have never failed to rise to
whatever challenge they were given, from holding
office on our volunteer Board of Directors, to
running the food pantry. THANK YOU!
Soon after we
were approved for the LIHEAP program a wonderful
lady and one of our first volunteers, Luminita
(Cosma) Spencer had heard about EAA through her
church and came to help, so we set up a desk and she
began taking LIHEAP applications. THANK YOU!
As EAA grew, I ask
another good friend Marcella Wittinger to help me
with some bookkeeping activities. I am happy to say
that some time later Marcella became an Employee and
now oversees our Bookkeeping/Human Resource and the
bi-monthly payroll for our more than 550 employees.
created our website and the motto of:
Survive Today and Prepare for Tomorrow”
THANK YOU AGAIN
In our early
years before we could employ someone to administer
the office there were a number of compassionate
volunteers who kept our office running. At various
times Lidia (Bistrian) Palcu, Marva Hemphil, Shirley
Baker, Consuelo Torres, Lorraine Fritze and others
were here to answered phones, write letters, take
LIHEAP applications and distributed food from the
Food Pantry. Then of course there was Maurice Long
with his big heart, and gruff manner, who was almost
a fixture at our front desk for many years. THANK
We held our first
festivals and thanks to Zelda Robinson, Carl L Amin
and Lillian Quiles working tirelessly before the
activities we had our first Ad Book completed and
were distributed at the festival. THANK YOU!
Many of our
community events and our Homecare training would not
have been complete without the tasty Romanian
sausage (mititei) and stuffed cabbage rolls
(sarmale) prepared by our long time friend and
volunteer Ana Sopt. THANK YOU!
This is only a
handful of the wonderful stories and names of
extraordinary individuals who devoted their time and
knowledge to our development. I sincerely wish I
could share more, but there are too many to list. To
all those who I have not mentioned here especially
all our wonderful and dedicated volunteers, please
know that I remember you and you should be very
proud of the roll that you played in the history and
growth of European American Association.
THANK YOU, THANK
YOU, THANK YOU AND AGAIN THANK YOU!
May God Bless You
all and God Bless America!"
- John Herman