Pause for Patriotism has been a dynamic organization for its 28 years of existence. The organization founded by Tom Holtz held a community celebration on Armed Forces Day, the third Saturday in May, every year and donated money to local causes.
Current president Rick Kimmel said it was time now for Pause for Patriotism to disband. Yet, its mission and its cause will live through two similar organizations.
In a short ceremony on Thursday at the Kankakee Valley Boat Club on Cobb Boulevard in Kankakee, Kimmel closed the book on Pause for Patriotism and donated its remaining proceeds to Project Headspace and Timing and The Hundred Club of Kankakee County. Each received checks for $4,500.
“We talked about this in the last 14 months at least, but the past few years when we were running the Pause, we had seen a decline in attendance and a decline in sponsorships,” said Kimmel, who took over as president when Holtz passed away in 2013. “At the same time, I was watching this little group called Project Headspace and Timing gaining sponsorships, growing, having attendance and had the same sort of mission that we did.
“That’s when we said, maybe it’s time,” he said. “Well, of course, last year was last year. That was really kind of when we started discussing everything going forward, where we came to culmination today to be able to do that. It’s a hard decision to make, trust me.”
Along with Project Headspace and Timing, Kimmel said The Hundred Club of Kankakee County had a mission of donating money to the families of police and firefighters. Kimmel said Pause for Patriotism always advocated for and supported military veterans, and in 2011 expanded its mission to include first responders.
“Take any of the fire department, any police department, and see how many people on the fire or police department has either been in the military or is still in the military,” he said. “Why not include them?”
What also made Thursday night at the Kankakee Valley Boat Club special was that’s where Pause for Patriotism had begun and often held its board meetings.
“I thought it was fitting that we then end it here because it started in this building,” Kimmel said. “Different people, but same building.”
Kimmel then presented a $4,500 check to The Hundred Club and its president Larry Osenga.
“The Hundred Club supports first responders, police and fire who were injured or killed in the line of duty,” Osenga said. “The original program started with six guys. We just passed our membership of over 500 members in The Hundred Club of Kankakee County. And anybody can be a member pretty much we ask for donation $125 a year. We put that money, invest it into other things, so if police or fire need something, we help them financially.
“... And I can’t say enough for this donation. It’s wonderful. So thank you, Pause for Patriotism, this is greatly, greatly appreciated.”
Kimmel then presented a $4,500 check to Project Headspace and Timing and its president Eric Peterson, of Manteno. Project Headspace advocates for veterans in variety of ways, especially helping those who need treatment for PTSD and other issues.
“The advocacy program is meant to identify veterans in distress as early on in the process as possible to get them linked up with another veteran that understands their struggles, and it gets them to the treatment that they need,” Peterson said. “... And the fact that another organization sees what we are doing and believes in us enough to want to choose us for this, means more than I could possibly express. Thank you so much for this.”
In closing, Kimmel said the mission of Pause for Patriotism was important for the community.
“Our mission is to celebrate and remember our fellow Americans who have served our country,” he said. “And remember that we are all responsible for the well being of our nation. For those who serve as first responders, those who served in the armed forces and the veterans who have served in times past and have been willing to give their lives to protect our nation.
“We owe it to them to honor their patriotism, and we owe it to them to do our part to protect our liberty and democracy each and every day.”