Skokie Spirit Neighbor Profiles

Skokie Spirit Neighbor Profiles - Nominate Someone Today!

The Village's Skokie Spirit Shines Through campaign now includes a series of stories and profiles about Skokie residents or business representatives that are posted in the Skokie Spirit Shines Through section of the Village website and, from time to time, in editions of SkokieNews. Nominate a Skokie neighbor or friend today!

Who in your neighborhood is ‘a neighbor to know’? How do they contribute to a stronger sense of community, to helping others, particularly during this challenging time? How will their story inspire others in the community? Please consider nominating someone you know in the community who you think has a unique, inspiring story and who would want to be highlighted as an example for others.

If your neighbor agrees to be featured, we will contact them for an interview. Their profile story will include some of the basics - name, how long they've lived in Skokie, etc., with details on how they contribute to a positive community spirit, maybe a word or two on their favorite Skokie store or restaurant and more.

See nomination details.

William Shemowel

1. How long have you lived in Skokie?Skokie Spirit William Shemowel (JPG)
Almost 28 years.

2. Why did you choose Skokie as your home?
Skokie was close to Chicago, that’s why we bought our first home in 1985 and we were very happy with our neighbors, very clean and safe.

3. What do you treasure about living in Skokie?
Living in Skokie is contentment and everlasting treasure.

4. How do you help your neighbors, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Neighbors are same like our family. We can provide any kind of help. (note: We hear from William's neighbors that he greets everyone with a kind hello and a warm smile and that he always clears the debris by the storm sewer in the street!)

5. What are your favorite places to shop and dine in Skokie?
Shopping at Old Orchard Mall and dining at Dengeo's and Maggiano’s.

6. Is there anything else you would like to add?
I'd like to thank the entire Village of Skokie employees, Police Department, Fire and Medical Services for the best service.
Leslie Allen

1. How long have you lived in Skokie?Skokie Spirit Leslie Allen (JPG)
26 years.

2. Why did you choose Skokie as your home?
I want to live in a community where I can walk or bike to places, such as our downtown area or the walking/biking path. Skokie’s proximity to Chicago, the lakefront, and the expressway is an added bonus.

3. What do you treasure about living in Skokie?
Skokie’s diversity and sense of community are invaluable. The schools, park district, library, and the village events have made Skokie a wonderful place to raise my son.

4. How do you help your neighbors, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Keeping in touch and looking out for each other has helped us all feel less isolated. I’m lucky to live on a great block where we all know each other.

5. What are your favorite places to shop and dine in Skokie?
I love to support small independent businesses and Hummingbird Resale is my favorite place to shop. The owner is super nice with a great sense of style. The Crazy Greek and Kneads & Wants Bakery are my two favorite places for dining. Delicious food and fantastic owners.

6. Is there anything else you would like to add?
I’d like to thank the Village, the police and fire departments, and all the businesses who continue to provide great service and stability to our community during these uncertain times.
Richard J. Witry ("Dick")

1. How long have you lived in Skokie?Skokie Spirit Richard Witry (JPG)
I have lived or worked in Skokie for 70+ years.

2. Why did you choose Skokie as your home?
Skokie is where I was raised, my childhood friends continued to live in Skokie and I could earn a living here.

3. What do you treasure about living in Skokie?
Its proximity to just about everywhere - get on the Edens and go north or south and you are within 20 miles of home within 15 minutes or so; public transportation is superb - I rode the Pace 226 to and from Jefferson Park for 30+ years and met many people on the bus whom I call friend today.

4. How do you help your neighbors, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic?
My wife and I helped our neighbors move their 95-year-old Aunt just last month. I also help some of our elderly neighbors maintain their property.

5. What are your favorite places to shop and dine in Skokie?
Because of Covid 19, although we have always patronized the downtown merchants, my wife and I are making a special effort to keep the Village Inn and the Crazy Greek in business.

6. Is there anything else you would like to add?
Skokie was a great place in which to grow-up; it has been a great place to raise our child. 
Joanie McKinney

1. How long have you lived in Skokie?Skokie Spirit Joanie McKinney (JPG)
With the exception of my college years, I have resided in Skokie for 65 years.

2. Why did you choose Skokie as your home?
My husband and I wanted to raise our children in Skokie,  just as I was many years ago, as well as both of my parents. We wanted exactly what Skokie offers; wonderful people, great diversity, amazing services, and a terrific proximity to so many beautiful adjacent communities, as well as the city of Chicago and its gorgeous lakefront.

3. What do you treasure about living in Skokie?
I truly treasure the people of Skokie most of all.

4. How do you help your neighbors, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Several moms began a neighborhood group in the Lorel Park area, which I joined in March. We have had great fun putting up door and birthday signs for the neighborhood children, as well as keeping in touch for current events in Skokie. Our church, St. Paul Lutheran, also collected funds to provide hundreds of meals for the essential workers at Northshore Skokie Hospital’s ER and Covid testing sites.  

5. What are your favorite places to shop and dine in Skokie?
Our family has always loved supporting Skokie businesses and restaurants. During these last six months, we have especially tried supporting Libertad, Village Inn, Kneads and Wants Bakery and Ace Hardware. 

6. Is there anything else you would like to add?
I would like to add a special note of how Skokie’s response to the pandemic gave our family peace and comfort from the very beginning. We have an outstanding and exceptional Village, and are grateful for our tremendous community resources, fire and police departments, library, park district, special events, schools, chamber of commerce, businesses, and walking paths.