After 25 years of reporting in Chicago, I am continually amazed at how much I don't know or haven't seen in our great city. In this case, people and companies that fall into the burgeoning collection of Chicago's "unsung heroes".
Every morning this week I have been doing one minute stories about organizations and companies that are winning awards for often pioneering efforts to "be green". Examples:
ATEN-The Asssitive Technology Exchange Network in Tinley Park which takes the computer you're tossing out, updates it or uses it parts to help kids and adults who would not otherwise have the means to the independence a computer creates.
WASTE TO PROFIT NETWORK-An idea straight from Mayor Daley and implemented in less than a year that marries up business waste that has never been recycable with companies that have a way of using the material for profit. We found Curb Appeal Matirals making curb stops from heretofore unrecyclable computers and computer parts.
PORTIONPAC and CONSOLIDATED PRINTING-Two companies that have operated for decades in Chicago using environmentally friendly material with low amounts of waste long before it was popular to do so.
This is part of what is helping Mayor Daley retain the label "the greenest Mayor in the United States". But many outsiders find it incredible that a city once called "hog butcher to the world" could even come close to being so forward thinking? It's the same kind of shocking reaction you get when you remind people most of the top ten performing public schools in the state are in the city of Chicago, once labeled by then Secretary of eduction Bennett as having "the worst schools in the nation".
But the fact is there are pockets of excellence and award winning achievements all over our city, many of them thanks to "unsung heroes". Through stories like our "going green" project at NBC it feels good to finally be able to sing about some of them.