American Legion Post 43’s Citizen of the Year Awards

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The Naperville American Legion Post 43 recently hosted their annual Citizens of the Year Awards. Three winners from three categories are chosen each year for contributing volunteer hours within each service.

Joe Labut received the award for service to community for his work with the Naperville Community Radio Watch. The group of citizen volunteers act as additional eyes and ears for the police department.

Rich Yndestad was recognized for service to veterans. One of the many ways he serves is by sounding taps for veterans being buried at the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery.

Though he appreciates the recognition, his service comes from the heart.

“We do this, you know, because we like to serve and we don’t really do this to get awards,” said Yndestad.

And the award for service to youth went to Alissa Johnson Tripas. She founded the Team Naperville Education Foundation, which has raised about $175,000 to benefit students in Naperville School District 203.

“Really to me, the honor of winning this award just means I need to work even harder to serve even more people and to continue to pay it forward,” said Tripas.

Jim Vahle, who chairs the event, is happy to give this chance for recognition of their service.

“You know what, I want to say something about the winners that’s true almost every year. They all say, oh no i don’t deserve that. And of course everyone does so completely,” said Vahle.

Along with the three citizen of the year award winners, two scholarship winners and past commanders were also recognized and honored at the ceremony.

Naperville News 17’s Aysha Ashley Househ reports.