Thursday, July 29, 2021

Stars and Stripes 5K Run Returns

Will honor the heroes of 9/11

By Tim Hadac
Managing Editor
Southwest Chicago Post

Hundreds of men, women and children will run, jog, walk or roll
through the streets of Garfield Ridge in about six weeks, in part to honor the heroic sacrifices made by firefighters, police officers and others during the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

The Stars and Stripes 5K Run will be held Saturday, Sept. 11 at Wentworth Park, 57th and Narragansett. Participants must be capable of maintaining a 16-minute per mile pace for the event.

The event is the only 5K on the Southwest Side dedicated to instilling patriotism and support for first responders.

“It is impossible to overstate the heroism of those who gave their lives trying to save others on 9/11,” said Juan Ortega, a Chicago policeman and founder of the Tri-Builders youth athletic association, the principal sponsor of the 5K. “Twenty years later, the memories are still strong for those of us old enough to have lived through it. We want to make sure we never forget and that today’s young people understand and appreciate that sacrifice--including that of the 343 firefighters, 71 police officers and others who lost their lives.”

In honor of the heroes of 9/11, Tri-Builders will be giving proceeds from the event to the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation, The 100 Club (providing for the families of first responders who have lost their lives in the line of duty) and the Wounded Warrior Project.

The pandemic caused the cancellation of the event in 2020. But in 2019, nearly 800 people ranging in age from babies in strollers to a 72-year-old man, participated. Ortega hopes for a strong turnout this year and said that while most of the runners and walkers are from the Southwest Side, there may be entrants from out of state.

Race day begins at 7:30 a.m. when the start line opens. There will be a course talk at the start line at 7:40 a.m. with an honor guard opening ceremony at 7:45 a.m. The race begins at 8 a.m. and an awards ceremony will be held at 9:30 a.m. back at Wentworth Park.

The cost of the event is $30 for adults and $20 for kids age 17 and younger. Prices will increase on Aug. 20, so participants are encouraged to register soon at

Runners/walkers may register on the day of the event, in person, at 7 a.m.

The race course starts near 57th and Narragansett, then south to 59th Street, west to Nordica, north to 56th Street, east to Merrimac, south to 58th Street, west to Narragansett and then north to about 57th Street.

Street closures will take place from 7 to 9:30 a.m. on 59th Street from Merrimac to Nordica, 56th Street from Merrimac to Nordica and Narragansett from 59th Street to Archer.

“Garfield Ridge is one of the best and most beautiful neighborhoods you’ll find anywhere,” Ortega added. “There are a lot of old-fashioned values here. Neighbors look out for each other; and on race day, a lot of people come out of their homes to cheer on the runners and even offer refreshments. The Stars and Stripes 5K showcases the best of Garfield Ridge.”

Parking will be available at the Kennedy High School parking lot near 56th Street and Narragansett. The lot closes at 7:25 and re-opens at 9:30 a.m. Parking is also available at the old TCF bank at 55th Street and Narragansett.

There are more than a dozen award categories for both adults and kids 12 and younger. The course is USATF certified. 
For more information, visit

Friday, July 23, 2021

I'm ‘all in’ for the Salzburgs

How About You?

By Joan Hadac
Editor and Publisher
Southwest Chicago Post

Next month--August 8, to be exact--would have been Tom Salzburg’s 56th birthday. Before the acclaimed rock musician could reach this milestone, ALS took his life in May 2020.

(ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord.)

You may recall the story I wrote about Tom in May 2020. Click here to see it.

The rumbling of motorcycles, a familiar sound to Tom, a
Clearing resident, will be heard as Tom’s ALS ride kicks off Sunday, Aug. 8 from Chi-Town Harley, 17801 S. LaGrange Road, Tinley Park. Registration will be held from 9 to 10 a.m. and kickstands go up at 10:30 a.m. 

The contribution is $30 for those taking part in the motorcycle ride and the fundraiser later in the day, $30 for a passenger who will take part in the ride and fundraiser, $15 for those only participating in the motorcycle ride and $10 for a passenger not attending the fundraiser.

The ride will end at 115 Bourbon St., 3359 W. 115th St., Merrionette Park where the Salzburg Strong fundraiser in memory of Tom and his fight to end ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or Lou Gehrig’s Disease) will be held from 2 to 7 p.m. 

Tickets for the fundraiser are $30 for those 21 and older, $15 for those 6 to 20; children age 5 and younger will get in free.

For more information to purchase tickets for the fundraiser and/or Tom’s ALS ride, visit, the Salzburg Strong Facebook page or email Sue or Jessica at

Volunteers are needed, as well, and those interested may get in touch with the family through the website, Facebook page or email address. (Those who want to donate directly to ALS TDI can visit

“This is one big party to celebrate his life and raise money for other families who are going through what we went through and a chance to raise money for ALS research,” Tom’s wife, Kelly, told me when I spoke with her earlier this month. 

As with any party, there will be food and beverages, along with raffles, Split the Pot, raffle baskets and live entertainment. There will be two bands with a Salzburg connection.

Tom’s son, Tom Jr., plays in Motley II Also taking the stage will be Bad Medicine, a band Tom played drums in for 17 years. Tom was a longtime rock drummer and vocalist.

The fundraiser will benefit ALS TDI, other families fighting the disease and--if both Tom’s and Kelly’s families have their wish--Kelly will take part of the proceeds to pay down the debts incurred while Tom was fighting ALS. 

Tom Salzburg at his best.

ALS not only takes a huge emotional toll, but a financial one, as Kelly has experienced.

“One of Tom’s wishes was for me to keep fundraising for ALS research and awareness because ALS is a death sentence. There is no cure,” Kelly said. 

When I spoke with her, she had just returned from a fundraiser for ALS TDI, a research facility in Boston. Tom and Kelly worked closely with ALS TDI while Tom was still alive. “It was a lifeline for us,” Kelly said. 

Tom donated blood, tissue samples and whatever he could to help them find a cure, Kelly explained. “I’m all in” was Tom’s motto.

The pandemic had an impact on all the Salzburgs’ lives which included delaying the benefit, hosting fundraisers via the internet and handling funeral and wake arrangements after Tom’s death. 

Instead of the traditional wake and funeral, Tom advised Kelly to have his remains cremated and to take the urn home “so I can be with you.” Kelly did.

The urn had to be as special as Tom, and it is. It may the only urn anywhere shaped like a motorcycle’s gas tank.

“Everything he loved was painted on the motorcycle gas tank,” Kelly told me. “Nothing but the best for my husband. He was the best human being.”

In a manner of speaking, Tom is with his family even now. Kelly has taken his urn on her travels. When guests drop by, the urn takes a place of honor. He will be with her on the motorcycle run and at the benefit. They will put his urn on the stage, a place he loved and was loved.

Tom didn’t want Kelly to lock herself in the house and stay there and grieve for him, she added. 

“One of the most positive things I can do is help other people with ALS and their families and help raise awareness about ALS. I’m very passionate about both,” Kelly said.

I’m “all in” for the Salzburg family. I hope you are, too.

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Big Back-to-School Bookbag Blowout Coming to 57th and Narragansett

Big Party Planned by Business Leaders

By Tim Hadac
Managing Editor
Southwest Chicago Post

The generosity of local business owners will be in full bloom
next month, as boys and girls from Clearing, Garfield Ridge and other areas will be treated to one last summer party before children go back to school.

Several thousand children, their parents and grandparents gathered are expected in the west parking lot at Kennedy High School, 56th and Narragansett, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 14.

The first 2,500 children in attendance will receive new book bags. All children will be treated to free food and beverages, music, a bouncy house, visits by costumed characters and more.

The back-to-school celebration—launched in 2018--is the brainchild of Geno Randazzo, owner of All Exterior Contractors. Signing on as co-sponsors are the Garfield Ridge Chamber of Commerce, Midway Storage, First Rate Realty, Mike Riordan State Farm Agency,  Amigo Pest Control and several other local businesses.

New bookbags, big smiles.
“We support our community’s children, as well as their parents and grandparents,” Randazzo said. “That’s what building better and stronger neighborhoods is all about. And really, why not have one final day of fun before school starts?”

Best known for its residential roofing work, All Exterior Contractors provides a range of home repair and improvement services, inside and out. In both 2018 and 2021 it was named a Garfield Ridge Chamber of Commerce Business of the Month and has built a reputation for supporting local veterans posts, civic and neighborhood watch groups, Scout troops, Little Leagues, churches, schools, senior citizen groups and more. 

Local business owners who want to help co-sponsor the event are encouraged to visit

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

CPD Youth Fitness Club Up and Running

By Joan Hadac
Editor and Publisher
Southwest Chicago Post

Want to get your sons and daughters off their keyboards, off their cellphones and into something fun and healthy?

Consider signing them up for the new youth running club led by officers from the Chicago Lawn (8th) Police District.

This club is designed to create a positive experience for our teens, and it will give them the opportunity to run with CPD officers.

The club meets at 9:00 a.m. every Saturday, at a different park. On Saturday, July 17, the club will meet at Wentworth Park, 57th and Narragansett. On Saturday, July 24, the club will meet Vittum Park, 5010 W. 50th St. On Saturday, July 31, the club will meet at Scottsdale Park, 4637 W. 83rd St.

Kids and officers will run a minimum of one mile per week, and the club is only open to kids ages 12-18. There is no membership fee and no minimum commitment. The idea is to give kids a taste of running and get them hooked on physical fitness.

If you have any questions, please contact Officer Jose Sepulveda at (312) 747-8724.