Neighbors’ generosity recognized in Burlington award
By Jeanie Mayer For The Courier-News February 22, 2013 4:46PM
The Horvath and Meyer families pose for a photo taken last summer while the Meyer's home was being rebuilt. Shown are Emma Horvath in front, Kaye Medina Meyer, Alicia Horvath and Lilith Meyer in the middle and Steve Meyer and Sean Horvath in back. | Submitted photo
Updated: March 26, 2013 9:27AM
BURLINGTON — Village residents chose some good neighbors for the annual Burlington Citizen of the Year award for 2012.
Sean and Alicia Horvath opened their home last year to a local family who was displaced due to a house fire. Their hospitality to the Meyer family ultimately extended to six months because the Meyers’ insurance policy did not cover temporary housing.
This is the third year that residents of Burlington have chosen from among their own ranks a Citizen of the Year.
The process is administered by the Burlington Business Council and is meant to honor an individual who embodies the ideal of what it means to be a good citizen. Residents place on the ballot the name of an individual who has had a positive impact on the community and often provide an explanation of the person’s merits for the award.
Past winners of the award were Village President Kathy Loos and Burlington Business Council member Mary Lake. While not civic leaders, the 2012 award winners embodied the ideals of the honor, according to the Business Council.
“The Burlington Business Council is very proud to honor citizens such as Sean and Alicia Horvath. We are also very impressed by the many other citizens who help make Burlington a tight-knit and successful community,” Lake said.
Alicia Horvath met Kaye Meyer through volunteer efforts they both shared. Horvath said that when she heard about Meyer’s misfortune, she wanted to help.
“To us it wasn’t that big of a deal. I have always been the type of person to step up and help out. We learned that it takes four adults to properly run a household,” she said with a laugh.
Lake said all of the ballots in favor of the Horvath’s cited this event as their reasoning for the award. She said one of the most compelling ballots was an essay written by the Meyers’ 13-year-old daughter, Lilith, who advocated for the Horvaths to receive the honor, according to Lake.
“We were so touched by that essay coming from a young teenaged girl,” Lake said.
Lake said Alicia Horvath is not new to acts of kindness, noting she has volunteered at the Community Crisis Center in Elgin and with Children’s Safe Passage of DeKalb. Horvath also has been an active member of the Burlington Lioness Club since 2010.
Horvath said she has had role models when it comes to the generosity of neighbors.
“When we moved to the village in 2006, we didn’t meet people right away,” she said. “Our neighbors, Mike and Mary Murphy, were so generous and helpful. My husband and I talked about how amazing that was, and I’m glad to be able to pay that forward,” she said.
Horvath said her 4-year-old daughter, Emma, was “super excited” to have the Meyers move in. She said she formed a strong bond of friendship with Lilith Meyer as well. She said her dog and the Meyers’ three canines formed a successful pack during the six-month arrangement.
“They (the Meyers) definitely made an impact on all of our lives going forward,” Horvath said.