Burr Ridge...a very special place

By Mickey Straub
August 2, 2010

The village slogan is, "Burr Ridge .. . a very special place." I am not sure how long ago it was adopted, but it is the first one that I recall. When I first heard it, I thought it sounded a little canned, coined and maybe even corny. But it was at the Burr Ridge Car Show recently where I had an epiphany, of sorts, about why the slogan fits.

The weekend started out by taking a bike ride, during which I had a chance to meet one of our police department's finest, Officer Jerry Karceski, while he was roping off a couple of driveways due to a downed tree. Further along my route, I dropped by Corvette Mike's, where Larry Kelsey, a retired General Motors executive, reminded me of the car show they were sponsoring later in the day. Then, when I got close to home, I waved to Bill Cernugel, a retired Chief Financial Officer of Alberto Culver (who is still lending his expertise in the non-profit community), and talked with Dr. Kevin Kopp, a resident prosthodontist.

It was midday when I cleaned up the Corvette and headed for the car show. It was so popular that it was overbooked, despite the huge storm a few hours earlier that knocked out the power for half of the Village Center. There were more cars than spaces available, but I lucked into one of the last spots and next to the car that took second place in the People's Choice Award. It was a dark green 1969 Pontiac GTO, owned by Mike, an expert in the field of car waxes and who is one of the key guys over at Turtle Wax, which happens to also be headquartered in the village. Mike loved telling the story and showing the pictures about how it was meticulously restored ... and it paid off. The car show is a great place, too, to see old friends, like one of my fellow parishioners, Walter, and also Rich Panico, who is not only a village resident, he's a business owner (Integrated Project Management, Inc.) along the frontage road.

My epiphany came as an "ah-ha moment" at the end of the day when I had a chance to have more than a passing conversation with our police chief (John Madden) and to socialize with an incredible couple with storied backgrounds. Now an air safety investigator, Dave is a former commercial pilot, and his wife, Maria, was the first person that I ever met who was a real-life (former) "Wing Walker" back in her youth. It was during that gathering that my epiphany hit me!

Most of Burr Ridge's treasures are not visible from I-294 or 1-55; they are buried behind the trees and rolling hills (and gates), though that will soon change. With the construction of the Loyola Medical Center building at the County Line Road interchange, such a landmark will really put Burr Ridge on the map and our secret will be out. But what's really special about the Village of Burr Ridge is even more hidden...it's the people who live and work here. They are humble, kind, accommodating and incredibly accomplished. Now, "I get it!" Burr Ridge is 'a very special place'...because it has very special people!