june nominee

Gayla Smith

“Everyone can do something” is the mantra for Frankfort resident Gayla Smith. Smith is a military mom of two members of the United States Navy both her son and son-in-law. She felt compelled to do something as many of our military members were coming home with severe injuries and struggled to live an independent life.

Four years ago, Gayla and her husband Jim hosted a backyard BBQ to simply raise money with friends for Building for America’s Bravest, a program of the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation. Stephen Siller was a heroic fireman in New York that lost his life helping others in the September 11th tragedy.

Through Building for America’s Bravest, the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation builds specially adapted, custom designed smart homes to help restore independence and improve the quality of life for our nation’s most catastrophically injured service members. The Smiths are very passionate about this purpose of helping veterans live independently. As a patriotic military mom, Smith felt she had to look out for other military sons and daughters.

The Smiths were amazed they raised $2,000 the very first year! The BBQ has grown and taken on a life of its own. Every year the event gets bigger and outgrew the Smiths backyard! This year the event will be held September 8th in Frankfort with a goal of raising $85,000! Smith is amazed to think this just started off as a small BBQ held in her backyard in a small way to help veterans live an independent life.

Now, Smith takes off every Friday from her full-time job to now plan the big BBQ event held every September to raise money for veteran housing and other various duties to support military veterans in need. To learn more about the event or to volunteer, please visit midwestbbq.org.

We salute our military heroes, first responders,the Smiths and the hard work of Stephen Stiller Tunner to Tower Foundation.

january spotlight

When Lincoln Park resident Dennis Shea retired from a lengthy career in sales and management with Hershey Foods, he knew he needed more than golf clubs to get him through retirement…read more

april spotlight

Remember someone that inspired you as a child? Meet Mr. David Fox, Oak Lawn resident and Boy Scout Troop Leader 788 volunteer. Mr. Fox joined the scouting family in 1958 when he first became…read more

july spotlight

Gabriella Frank, an incoming seventh grader, started a program called “Books by the Beach” to help collect books and school supplies and donate them to less fortunate…read more

february spotlight

Remember grade school recess? It can be tough for some kids and a breeding ground for bullying. Four 4th graders from Lincolnwood School District decided “Buddy Benches” were one way to help…read more

may spotlight

Amanda Martinsen is a 5th grade teacher who designed and implemented a school-wide project where students to learn about physical and emotional conditions of disabled children…read more

august spotlight

Mrs. Tamara Polakowski, a 1st grade teacher at Madison Elementary in Lombard, goes above the call of a teacher’s duty by education outside of a textbook…read more

march spotlight

Imagine hearing the words “Down syndrome” as a new parent. Where would you turn? Bill and Dawn Buckley of Dyer, Indiana turned to the Down Syndrome Association of Northwest Indiana…read more

june spotlight

Gayla Smith is a military mom of two members of the United States Navy. Each year her and her husband host a backyard BBQ to simply raise money for Building for America’s Bravest…read more

september spotlight

When Cathleen Aquino isn’t working as a NICU nurse, she volunteers with Children’s Oncology Services improving the life of children diagnosed with cancer…read more

rewarding great individuals

Each month, meatheads will select one person who exemplifies the company’s standards of determination, hustle & hard work. If you know someone who demonstrate the meatheads values, please let us know!

nominate someone