The Village of Woodridge Mayor’s Spirit Award is all about the compassion, dedication, and courage shown by those supporting the Woodridge community. This year, the Mayor’s Spirit Award was given to all Woodridge volunteers, which included Woodridge resident and Woodridge Park District employee Julie Rhodes.
As the Assistant Superintendent of Recreation and Safety Coordinator, Julie Rhodes has worn many hats over the years for the Woodridge Park District. Julie has acted as the special events coordinator for many events during her long and exemplary career, such as Woodridge’s annual community Jubilee festival, the annual Oktoberfest event, and the annual Haunted Forest Walk. She has supervised our Golden Years Senior program and currently manages the operation of the Fred C. Hohnke Community Center.
Despite her busy schedule, Julie always finds time to volunteer at different programs and special events and has been known to dress up as Santa Clause, one of Santa’s elves, and even the Easter Bunny. In addition, Julie drives the Park District bus for many of our family and senior trips. During the past year, when many Park District programs were shut down due to the pandemic, Julie was the first one to step up and assist the maintenance department by jumping on a mower and cutting grass every day for two months.
Julie is someone who enjoys keeping busy and does so by staying active in the community and the recreation industry. She is a member of the Illinois Park and Recreation Association and Suburban Park and Recreation Association and is also a founding member of the Women In Leisure Services and was involved with programming and member engagement for that group. Outside of work, Julie is well-known throughout the community for her constant willingness to volunteer her time. She was a member of the Woodridge Jaycees and would be seen participating at many Chamber of Commerce events. Julie is a volunteer at the annual Woodridge Rotary Club Mini-Triathlon fundraising event. Julie has helped out as a youth soccer coach and found time to volunteer as an usher at a local theatre. She has participated in charity events such as breast cancer walks and the Live Like Mike Foundation Golf event.
Julie is a big advocate of recycling anything and everything that can help make the world a better place. She consistently donates blood within her community and has even donated her hair on eight different occasions to Locks of Love to help disadvantaged children who have suffered hair loss due to medical conditions and cancer treatments. Julie’s 31-year career with the Woodridge Park District will be coming to a close in 2022 due to her planned retirement. Still, her endless energy has set a great example for all to follow, and her impact on both the Woodridge Park District and the Woodridge community will live on for many years to come.
Congratulations to Julie and all of the Woodridge volunteers.