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New committee aims to put 'Westmont First'

Published: Thursday, Nov. 7, 2013 12:51 p.m. CST

WESTMONT – Six months into his tenure as village trustee, Bruce Barker has found a way to showcase the community, local business and the village government all in one: the Westmont First Committee.

The committee formed six weeks ago and now has about 40 businesses and 50 residents helping out in the community in a variety of ways, from volunteer opportunities such as the upcoming leaf raking event, to implementing ideas to encourage local residents to patronize Westmont businesses.

“The willingness to help has been phenomenal,” Barker said.

Along with the leaf raking volunteer event coming up this weekend, the committee has a few other projects in the works, including a village-wide business promotion called the Community Chest Program.

“We would raise funds through Westmont First to assist financially with local charities,” Barker said. “There’s a lot of work being done.”

The leaf raking event will take place at 9 a.m. this Saturday, when volunteers will rake leaves for residents physically unable to do so.

“It’s really as simple as helping your neighbor across the street,” Barker said.

The leaf raking will be the second Westmont First event. The first was held at the end of October during construction on the rail crossing at Cass Avenue in downtown Westmont. “Don’t Be Afraid to Shop Downtown Westmont” included sales and free treats throughout all of downtown.

“I wanted to emphasize the fact that we have these good people with hearts in the right place so I went out and organized a core group of people from all areas in town,” Barker said. “We formed a core group and we’re trying to influence the village in a positive way by promoting, shopping and volunteering in town.”

Getting involved was a simple decision for Shane Johnson with the Sweet and Savory Spot.

“We’ve always been about community,” Johnson said. “The whole thing is to get together and organize promotions and volunteering. It’s reaffirming residents what our community is all about.”

The idea for Westmont First originally came about when Barker was campaigning prior to the election, he said.

“It’s helping your neighbor and caring about the other residents,” Barker said. “Westmont First gives the opportunity to remind people that this is how we’re supposed to live and take care of each other.” 

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