Library’s fall program guide honors mayor

LibraryÕs fall program guide honors Mayor A. George Pradel.
LibraryÕs fall program guide honors Mayor A. George Pradel.

Everyone I talk to about Naperville’s Mayor A. George Pradel shares a positive memory, fun encounter or overall warm feeling about the city’s chief cheerleader. And it should come as no surprise that I am one of the mayor’s biggest fans.

From when I worked as a reporter covering the city of Naperville to now as a Naperville Public Library staff member, I haven’t met a friendlier and more outgoing city official.

I first met “Officer Friendly” at Jewel about six years ago while I was writing a story about a shopping spree event to benefit Loaves & Fishes Community Pantry. He was so excited and enthusiastic. Throughout my years of reporting, I never met a mayor so happy and ready for anything.

So there I was at the grocery store — one of my first assignments for the newspaper — pen in hand, camera in the other. I didn’t realize the next set of events would bring me more joy than any other regular Monday morning assignment.

And he was off … Pradel rushed through the frozen foods section, cheering while steering the cart. Donning yellow gloves, he hauled as many frozen meals as he could hug between his arms and tossed them in the cart. Right then, I knew he had the gumption, the heart and the spirit.

After the shopping spree, Pradel caught his breath and took time for my interview. He was so passionate about the food pantry and raising money. That first interview was about six years ago, and today, nothing has changed. Pradel is still the mayor everyone wants to shake hands with and get to know.

After 49 years of service to the city of Naperville, Pradel will fulfill his last day as mayor April 30, 2015. To honor him, Naperville Public Library has dedicated its most recent fall issue of the program guide to the mayor. A commemorative cover and other highlights of Pradel’s continued library involvement complete the guide’s design.

Inside you will find highlights of the library’s educational and fun upcoming events, including children’s story times that start Sept. 2. Also, children can attend Story Along the Riverwalk, an interactive event Sept. 13 that allows families to take a stroll along the Riverwalk as they read from enlarged storybook pages.

Many cool events for teens also are showcased in the guide, including Fantasy Football League Draft Night on Sept. 2 that lets football fans participate in a live online draft. On Sept. 10, mark your calendars for The Airborne on D-Day event that will feature a historian who will discuss the memorable day in history.

So pick up a program guide today or view it online at www.naperville-lib.org. As one of Pradel’s many fans, maybe I should get him to autograph it. After all, I don’t know of any other mayor who has a custom Bobblehead in his honor.

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