In what appeared to be a small item on
The council passed the decision to donate the c-note from the discretionary fund to the foundation but the vote was 4-2 with aldermen John Szeszycki and Brian Waight casting nay votes.
The foundation was set up in February with the goal of providing grave markers at no cost to families in need to honor their deceased loved ones, whether they passed away recently or in prior generations.
Alderman Tom McAvoy suggested a $100 donation be made to foundation out of the city’s discretionary fund. The city currently has an estimated $2,000 left in Discretionary Funds, according to City Treasurer Dan Schramm.
Alderman Szeszycki disagreed, however.
“I feel this is a personal issue and donations made to the foundation should be made out of our own pockets and not taken out of the discretionary fund,” he said.
“I have to agree with John (Szeszycki),” Waight added. “I do not think we should be taking the money out of the discretionary fund to donate to this organization. If anyone wants to personally donate, they have the option to; however, I do not feel the city should make a donation because this is not directly for the city, even though (foundation founder Susan Dineen) is from Hickory Hills.”
Discretionary funds are voluntary donations, and non-taxable dollars, coming to the city from events such as street fair raffles, McAvoy said.
But three other aldermen agreed with McAvoy and it passed.
“This is a community foundation,” Dineen said, “Community starts at home and this is a local organization to help people within our community.”
The local 501c3 charity organization began as a dedication to Huie Grimes, who was a direct ancestor of several of the Foundation’s members, including Dineen.
“While researching our ancestry, that journey took us to a small family cemetery in Kentucky,” she said. “Among the large ornate headstones was the handmade headstone of our ancestor, Huie Grimes.”
Grimes was born in July of 1897 and died at a very young age. His father, a poor Kentucky green bean farmer, was unable to purchase a grave marker to honor his son, so he did what he could to make sure Huie would not be forgotten. He poured a mound of concrete at his son’s grave and, with a stick, wrote, “Huie Grimes, son of Rufus Grimes”.
“His father could not afford a grave maker for him, so he poured concrete on his own on his son’s grave and handwrote out the inscription,’’ Dineen said. “While it deeply touched us to know he was honored by his family in the only way they could manage, it was also heartbreaking to an extent. We wondered how many others may be in a similar situation and have little or no means to honor their loved ones.”
Since February, the foundation has been actively working with two families to supply them with no-cost grave makers — one being the family of Antonio Smith, a nine-year-old boy who was shot and killed in crossfire, this August, on the 1200 block of East 71st Street in Chicago’s Grand Crossing neighborhood.
“With unexpected deaths especially, families cannot always afford all of the costs affiliated with planning a funeral and tombstone expenses,” Dineen said, “Everyone who has touched this world is entitled to be remembered and honored.”