When Patch asked readers last month who they believed deserved the title of for 2012, one name kept coming up—Brendan Rafferty.
"I choose Brendan Rafferty for his tireless work for the kids in our community. His unwavering support of the skate park, the 100's of Easter baskets made for underprivelged children and the Ugly Sweater contest to raise toys for Toys for Tots. This young man is truly amazing!" posted Leslie Kaiser.
"Living over 600 miles away I still see and hear about the great things Brendan Rafferty has done, and continues to do, for the community! He seems to have a knack for finding fun ways for the adults to give back to the youth while still enjoying themselves in the process!! I'm sure there are many worthy candidates that deserve equal praise, however, I fully support Brendan this year!!" posted Mike Bond.
"Brendan is a clear leader in terms of civic and community involvement. I have had the pleasure of working with him on multiple occasions, and have found no equal in terms of effort and genuine concern for the cause at hand," posted Eddie Trask.
When he's not working at the family business, Rudolph's Furniture, Rafferty invests time into organizing community events and fundraisers, from the Ugly Sweater Contest at The Vine for Toys for Tots to the Easter Bunny Bar Hop and Crawl for the Kids.
Rafferty also played an integral part in raising funds to improve the Daniel Barry Memorial Skate Park for the enjoyment of local youths.
Give a little. Get a lot.
Pitching in the help the community doesn't have to take a lot of time, Rafferty told Patch.
"It's not really that hard if everybody gives a little effort," he said.
Volunteering isn't a competition, either, said Rafferty, noting that in Grayslake, residents enjoy working together for the greater good, which also makes it fun.
"I like the camaraderie. Everybody supports everybody. We're on the same level."
Rafferty said he is committed to community service because it gives him an opportunity to give back. It's an example his father, Tim Rafferty, instilled in him, he said.
One of the efforts Rafferty holds dearest is improving the skate park. As a skating enthusiast himself, Rafferty said he wished he had a safe, designated place to hone his skills and have fun when he was growing up.
For the past nine years, Rafferty has organized the Grayslake Skate Contest, a competition that raises funds to improve and maintain the skate park.
Rafferty said he feels honored to have his name suggested as Grayslake's "Person of the Year" along with Mike Pruitt, owner of The Vine; Joyce Campbell, local insurance agent and founder of the Oasis youth center; Greg Koeppen, a Grayslake fire commissioner who also serves as president of the Lake County Farm Bureau; and State Sen. Melinda Bush.
"I am honored to even be considered in this line up of great people. Thank you all for the kind words," posted Rafferty in the comments of "Who is Grayslake's Person of the Year?" story.
"I am even more blessed to live in such a great community where people are willing to be unselfish and give back. We all are so lucky to have people like Mike, Joyce and Greg. You are all winners and inspiration in my book. I would also like to take this moment to thank all the people that come out and support our events. It is you that make it all possible, not just on person. I am proud to call Grayslake my home and look forward to working together with you all to keep giving back to our wonderful community."
Who is Grayslake's Person of the Year?