The Plainfield Township Community Center (PTCC) is a much different place today as Recreation Manager of Adult Services Kathy Whalen officially retired February 1 after 21+ years at the Plainfield Park District.
“She has formed some wonderful and long-lasting friendships with senior citizens that have participated in programs and events over the years,” said longtime coworker Misty Bartlett. “She will definitely be missed, but we wish her all the best.”
Kathy started at Plainfield Park District in April of 2001 as the first senior citizen coordinator, which was then a joint position between the park district and Plainfield Township. Her start in the parks and recreation field began at Park District of Franklin Park where she was a recreation supervisor for 10 ½ years. While at Franklin Park, Kathy worked with seniors as well as overseeing early childhood programs, preschool programs and special events. She then worked at Darien Park District for approximately five years and was in charge of seniors, early childhood and special events.
“We’re really going to miss her,” said regular participant Joan Ospalik, who attended Kathy’s going away party Tuesday at PTCC and who’s known her for 10-plus years. “She makes you feel at home.”
“The fact she remembers our names and our health conditions is so impressive,” said Dorothy Curry, another long-time PTCC participant. “If you were sick or in the hospital, she wants to know how you’re doing. She’s such a wonderful, caring person. She’ll be tough to replace.”
As for what Kathy will miss the most, “I will miss the planning of programs to help create memories for the many participants of our programs,” she said. “I have really enjoyed the relationships I developed with co-workers and participants.”
The Plainfield Park District Board of Commissioners honored Kathy at the January 12 regular meeting, passing resolution 2022-01 in honor of her service. The resolution concluded with, “Now, therefore, be it resolved by the Board of Commissioners of the Plainfield Park District, Will and Kendall Counties, Illinois, that this day, January 12, 2022, be dedicated in honor of Kathy Whalen for her commitment and extraordinary contributions to the Plainfield Park District.”
Kathy and her family have lived in Shorewood for the past 25 years. Frank, her husband, and their sons, Weston (age 26) and Walker (age 23), have a family vacation planned for June. As for her long-term retirement outlook, “My plan is to sit on my boat, with the sun in my face, breeze at my back, reading a good book!”