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D-302 board honors resident for bringing carnival to special-needs students

SUGAR GROVE – Lions Club member Joe Kryszak was recognized for bringing an annual carnival day for kids with sensory issues to Elburn Days during the Sept. 9 Kaneland School District 302 Board meeting.

Kryszak, a longtime Lions Club member who coordinated the amusement rides for Elburn Days, worked with Fran Eggleston, District 302 director of special services, to make the special event happen.

While being honored, Kryszak deflected the attention by presenting an award on behalf of the Elburn Lions Club, which hosts the Elburn Days carnival, to Eggleston for her effort in making the event beyond special for the kids, their families and their friends.

“I get these calls of ‘How come my kid who is special needs isn’t invited?’ and it’s hard to say no,” Kryszak said. “And I get quite a few of them, but I have a person named Fran who gets even more and we should appreciate what she goes through.”

Then he handed her an award.

“We have a Distinguished Service Award presented to Francine Eggleston for perseverance,” Kryszak said. “For bringing the special-needs carnival for kids with sensory issues to fruition.”

As for his involvement, Kryszak talked about his reasoning.

“For the Lions Club, this is what we do, we help those less fortunate,” he said. “For me, it’s easy peasy. All you have to do is surround yourself with people who are smarter than you.”

When a young mother attending Elburn Days a few years ago saw that her son couldn’t go on the rides because he couldn’t tolerate the flashing lights, the 75-year-old Kryszak sprang into action.

“Mr. Kryszak was awesome enough to contact Fran and start discussions of what it would be like for a couple of hours [of rides and entertainment] for students with special needs and their family and friends with less noise and distractions,” said Todd Leden, superintendent for District 302. “And it’s continued for four years.”

Eggleston recalled one child having a meltdown during the carnival, but the mom didn’t panic because she was with a bunch of other parents who have kids with the same needs.

“It’s so awesome,” she said. “And not everybody knows that about some of these kids and what they go through.”

Eggleston said she was surprised the award from Kryszak.

“I was shocked,” she said. “I had no idea. He’s so nice. I think it’s awesome what he does and his commitment to kids.”

So many families have been blessed to enjoy something that previously wasn’t a possibility. Whether it’s one family or one thousand, that’s what makes it all worthwhile for Eggleston and Kryszak.

“I enjoy doing it and I don’t do it for any acclamation at all,” Eggleston said. “I appreciate that he’s willing to think about our kids that way, and I know a lot of our parents and our kids would never have been able to participate in something like this without worrying about where their kid was going and so on. This way they are able to relax and really enjoy watching their kid have a good time.”

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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