WESTMONT – Larry Forssberg still recalls accompanying his parents as a child as they volunteered throughout his hometown of Riverside.
“My parents were often very involved in a variety of things. My dad with the American Legion and VFW, and my mom with our church,” said Forssberg, 53. “There was always a sense of volunteerism in our family. I remember being volunteered to work at our church carnival. It was not unusual to help my dad set things up on Saturday and then go back on Sunday and clean things up. Back then I saw them as chores.”
Whether it was checking coats or some other task to make an event go smoothly, Forssberg worked alongside his family, unaware the seeds of volunteerism his parents had planted were already growing.
Forssberg is currently executive director of the Westmont Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Bureau, as well as chairman of the DuPage Convention and Visitors Bureau. He still lives in Riverside with his wife, Rae, and they’re parents to three grown children – Mitchell, Lauren and Grant.
Forssberg is one of the recipients of Suburban Life Media's Everyday Heroes awards.
His volunteerism reads like a laundry list of philanthropic causes.
One of the first personal volunteer groups Forssberg got involved in, in his mid-20s, remains near and dear to his heart – the Riverside Township Jaycees. The organization recently put on its 25th annual night golf outing.
“Each year we pick a local charity, and all proceeds go to that charity,” Forssberg said. “I’ve made lifelong friends and connections."
Forssberg was named a JCI International Senator and Honorary Lifetime Member of the Riverside Township Jaycees.
He served for nine years on the Riverside Public Library Board of Trustees, including as board president. During that time, a new strategic plan was developed to upgrade programs and services to the community.
He’s been a coach and a board member of the Riverside Little League and a coach for the Riverside Raiders and Riverside Park District basketball teams. Forssberg volunteered for the Saint Ignatius Parent Organization to assist with open house events, the annual fundraiser auction, student retreats, and fine arts programs and events.
Currently, his volunteerism includes the Westmont Lions and Westmont Rotary.
“I’ve always felt through my experience volunteering, that there’s a sense of accomplishment, a sense of contribution, the opportunity of making a positive difference – those types of factors,” Forssberg said. "It’s a sense of accomplishing something that without a group of volunteers, probably wouldn’t be accomplished. Whether it’s little league board or a basketball program or whatever, it takes many hands to function. You learn if you want something to be successful and work, you help. The saying, ‘Many hands make light work’ is true. When you realize it only takes you a handful of hours a month, you jump in and help. Looking at the big picture, it’s all these moving parts that make the world turn.”