Editor's Note: Vernon Hills Patch asked readers to name who they thought should be Vernon Hills' 'Person of the Year' for 2012. Here is our Q & A with Park District Board President David Doerhoefer.
1. Tell me about your service to the community.
My service to the Vernon Hills Community has taken several forms over my 23 years living here. I am elected to the Park Board of Commissioners where I have served for the last eight years with some great people volunteering their time and energy to make the Vernon Hills Park District one of the best Park Districts in the State (an Illinois Distinguished Agency and four times Finalist for the National Gold Metal). I also have coached in the Vernon Hills Stingers Girls Travel Fastpitch Softball organization for more than 10 years which allows young girls in the community to play travel softball at a high level and gain life experience and friendships through competition. Over the years, I have also served on the High School project turf fundraising committee, senior class party committee, room parent (nine years) for the Hawthorn School District, and coached over 30 recreational teams in several sports (basketball, soccer, baseball and softball) as well as supporting the SRACLC (serving the recreational needs to individuals with disabilities and their families).
2. What do you love most about giving back?
The lasting effect one person can have on individuals and within the community. As part of the Park District, walking around the beautiful parks we have in Vernon Hills and seeing active kids and adults out enjoying everything from the ball fields to the flowers in bloom to the sled hill and skating rink. Being a caretaker of the Park District legacy has been a great experience knowing the decisions and the direction the Board determines will have a lasting effect on the community and the environment for years to come. When it comes to working with kids, there is no greater feeling then seeing a child successfully accomplish something they have worked so very hard at. Seeing their face when they realize, after all their efforts, they can do it. The lights go on in their mind and their feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction over flows. Just being a part of that is an incredible feeling to be associated with.
3. You are very dedicated to the Vernon Hills Park District and were instrumental in saving the YMCA. Why was that so important to you?
Thank you for your kind comment but there are several very dedicated people associated with the Vernon Hills Park District that were instrumental in saving the YMCA. When the YMCA first announced it would be closing, my first thought was that it would be a great loss to the community. While I was never a member of the YMCA, it proudly served this community for many years and it honestly took about a second to turn my thoughts from the potential loss to how the Park District could step in and turn this situation to a strategic addition to Park District assets. Fortunately, the Board shared this vision. Having the impact in the community to keep a facility like that open, saving the potential lost jobs, families impacted by the loss of daycare facilities and keeping the fitness center open to enhance the health and wellness of the community is a chance you don’t often get and one we were not going to let get away (of course, under the right financial conditions). Thus far, we have received very positive feedback regarding the improvements we have just started making at the Lakeview Fitness Center and Lakeview Little Learning Daycare Center (formerly the YMCA) and the future only looks brighter as we continue to enhance the operations and become a fitness and daycare fixture in Vernon Hills for years to come.
4. What else do you enjoy about serving as the Park District Board President?
By far the greatest pleasure I get from serving as the Board President is working with the Board, Park District Staff. This is a great Board with diverse and independent ideas that have stuck a balance showing an aggressiveness to improve the quality of our parks and develop additional facilities (warming house at Century Park, Lakeview Fitness and Lakeview Little Learning Daycare Center, our new maintenance facility currently under design and future enhancements to the Sullivan Community Center) with the fiscal responsibility needed for long term success and continued improvement. It truly has been an honor to be elected Board President by this group of talented and caring people. The other enjoyment is working with the other Boards in the community to bring the best community environment to Vernon Hills.
5. What's the best thing about Vernon Hills?
The people. Vernon Hills is a thriving community with a diverse population that truly cares and is involved in making this a great place to live, work and raise a family. There are towns all around us but the people in Vernon Hills are what make this a community. I have had the pleasure to meet and work with so many people through the Park District, the schools and coaching that I understand the true value of Vernon Hills lies in the people that make up Vernon Hills. I look forward to serving the community for many years and encourage everyone to be involved and enjoy the benefits making a difference provides.