LEMONT – Terri O’Neill-Borders, founder of the Hope and Friendship Foundation and active with Lemont Township and the Lemont Police Department, was recognized for her work by receiving the Cook County Board of Commissioners’ Peggy A. Montes Unsung Heroine Award on March 27.
The award is given each year to a woman from each of the 17 Cook County districts and one chosen countywide.
O’Neill-Borders was nominated by Lemont Mayor Brian Reaves and chosen by the Cook County Women’s Commission.
“I’ve been nominated before by people in the community and recognized by those peers,” she said. “But this one, to be nominated by the mayor … I thought that was pretty cool.”
Reaves said this is the second time he has been asked to nominate someone for the award and the first time his nominee was chosen. He said he is happy to be able to recognize O’Neill-Borders for her hard work.
“Terri’s got to be by far one of the hardest working individuals I have met in my life,” he said.
Though Reaves was unable to attend the ceremony because he was out of town, O’Neill-Borders was joined by a contingent from the Lemont Police Department, where she serves as chaplain.
Lemont Police Chief Kevin Shaughnessy said he planned to just attend himself, but four other department members decided to go when they heard about the ceremony.
“She gives so much of herself to others, including the Lemont police,” Shaughnessy said. “We just wanted to show her how much she means to us.”
The award is on display in the lobby of the Lemont Police Station.
Not content to attend the ceremony to just accept the award, O’Neill-Borders said she also did some networking with Cook County officials at the event.
“It would be wasteful to say, ‘Here is an award, let’s put it in a case,’” she said.
Though she is not looking for these kinds of accolades, O’Neill-Borders said they affirm that what she is doing is making a difference.
“When it gets to the point that you hit the wall and say, ‘Do people really care?’ This shows people do,” she said.