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2015 Volunteer Awardees


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Giving back to those who gave: 14 volunteers honored by National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Greater Illinois Chapter
CHICAGO, Oct. 20, 2015 – Volunteers play a vital role in fulfilling a non-profit’s mission and vision. In Illinois, 2.57 million volunteers provide services that are estimated at $7.2 billion in value. At the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Greater Illinois Chapter, over 1,500 individuals generously gave their time in fiscal year 2015 to fundraising events, facilitating support groups, lobbying, lending their professional talents and sitting on the Chapter’s Board of Trustees. On Saturday, October 17, the Greater Illinois Chapter honored the passion, commitment and hard work of its volunteers by presenting 14 Outstanding Volunteer of the Year Awards at the 20th Annual Fannie & Charles Penikoff Research Symposium at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare in Rosemont.
“On a daily basis, our volunteers display an unwavering dedication to the Society’s mission of stopping MS in its tracks, restoring what has been lost and ending MS forever,” said Greater Illinois Chapter President Holly Messick. "Whether they are helping out an event, fundraising or connecting people to necessary services, volunteers are an integral part in supporting the 20,000 individuals throughout Illinois living with MS."

The 2015 Outstanding Volunteer of the Year Recipients included:
  • Steven Shapiro has assisted the Society over the years by organizing fundraising events, developing more efficient communication programs, raising money for events such as Walk MS and giving generous in-kind donations. He was this year’s Chairman’s Award recipient, the Chapter’s highest honor, for his distinguished service and outstanding support of the Society’s mission.
  • Diane and Richard Schultz have championed Do It Yourself (DIY) fundraising events for the MS Society, coordinating their first DIY event in May 2015. Close to 150 people attended their ‘Rock Out Against MS’ event, which raised over $4,000 for the Society. They are the recipients of the Do It Yourself Fundraising Volunteers of the Year Award.
  • Scott S. Hinton has been an active participant of the Bike MS: Tour de Farms for the past two years. This year, he raised over $2,900 and was honored with the “Most Inspirational Cyclist” award. For his efforts, he received the Excellence in Individual Fundraising, Bike MS Award.
  • The Chainring Gang and its 24 riders raised over $26,000 for the Bike MS: Tour de Farms this past year. Its committee chair, Todd, and Ryan, a committee and team member, have also volunteered throughout the years for Bike MS events. The National MS Society recognized the Chainring Gang for its hard work with the Excellence in Team Fundraising, Bike MS Award.
  • Beverly and Johnny Johnson have participated in Walk MS for over 10 years. In 2015, they ranked as the No. 2 individual fundraisers in Greater Illinois, raising almost $16,000. Additionally, Beverly served as the face of the 2013 Walk MS Campaign and as a Walk MS Mission Champion. They were the proud recipients of the Excellence in Individual Fundraiser, Walk MS Award.
  • Adam Hartzler and his team, Team Hartzler, have had great success in fundraising for the Society in New York and Chicago. On the east coast, Team Hartzler raised over $60,000 for the Southern New York Chapter’s Bike MS and Walk MS. Upon returning to Chicago, the team raised over $40,000 and is currently ranked as one of the top Walk MS teams in the Greater Illinois region. They received the Excellence in Team Fundraising, Walk MS Award.
  • The Exercise Neuroscience Research Lab consists of 20 passionate individuals dedicated to developing and delivering the latest and best services to people living with MS. The team currently oversees 14 clinical trials and has written over 200 peer reviewed publications over the last decade. They were honored with the June Golin Service Award.
  • Senator Don Harmon has served the 39th Legislative District for the Illinois Senate since fall 2002. He has been an ally to people living with MS, cosponsoring several bills including the establishment of an Illinois MS task force and the elimination of an annual physical therapy visit insurance cap. For advancing the Society’s mission in government, Senator Harmon was honored as a Legislator of the Year.
  • Serving her fourth term as State Representative for the 24th District, Elizabeth Hernandez has spent her time in office championing issues important to people living with MS. She has cosponsored several bills, including the establishment of an Illinois MS task force, accessible parking and safe patient movement in nursing home. Because of her dedication to living out the Society’s mission through her public service, Representative Hernandez was recognized as a Legislator of the Year.
  • Mary Ellen Tinman has parlayed her years of experience as a registered nurse to providing comforting care, active listening and a spark of joy to those living with MS. Since 2014, she has served as a peer visitor in nursing homes and long-term care facilities. Because of her dedication to uplifting spirits, she received the Program Support Volunteer of the Year Award.
  • WLS ABC 7 has supported the Greater Illinois Chapter by educating thousands of people in the Chicago-land area about the latest news and initiatives of the Society. They have actively promoted important Society events such as Walk MS and MS Awareness Week. Additionally, members of the news team have been fixtures in many of the Society’s gatherings, such as the annual Dinner of Champions, Women on the Move luncheon and Walk MS. The Society recognized the efforts of the ABC 7 team with the Public Education Award.
  • Zachary Fitzgerald formed his team, Team Fitz’s Pack, to honor his father who passed away in 2014. Initially setting an ambitious goal to raise $10,000 for MuckFest MS, Fitzgerald and his team concluded their fundraising amount at $12,000. For his outstanding achievement in fundraising his first year, Zachary was awarded the Rookie Fundraiser of the Year Award.
  • Diane Tegtmeier has been involved with the National MS Society and its self-help groups since the early 2000s. She has taken leadership in helping others diagnosed with MS by supporting group leaders as well as becoming a self-help group leader. For her leadership and endless support of the Society, she received the Support Group Facilitator of the Year Award.
  • Mary Jo Viero has played an integral role in advancing the Society’s mission, and mobilizing its volunteers and resources. She became a Board Trustee for the Greater Illinois Chapter in 2007, joined its Programs Committee in 2010, and has been chair of the committee since 2012. She was granted the Volunteer of the Year Award.
  • Maureen Linehan Howard has given over 22 year of service to the National MS Society and its constituents. She has been an active member of the Advocacy and Government Relations committee in the Greater Illinois Chapter since 1994, and has served as its co-chair for over 10 years. She has been a strong presence in advocacy both locally and nationally, and was inducted in the National MS Society’s Volunteer Hall of Fame: Advocacy in 2003. For her tireless civic duty, she was honored with the Norman Cohn Hope Award.
The Greater Illinois Chapter mobilizes people and resources to drive research for a cure and to address the challenges of everyone affected by MS. The chapter envisions a world free of MS and moves toward that end by driving change through advocacy, facilitating education, collaborating with others and by providing helpful programs and services. Visit for more information.
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© 2022 The National Multiple Sclerosis Society is a tax exempt 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Its Identification Number (EIN) is 13-5661935.