A round of applause and a standing ovation were given to outgoing Homewood village trustee Barbara Dawkins at the Oct. 12 board meeting.
The board unanimously passed a resolution for Dawkins, who stepped down after 12 years on the board due to her appointment as an associate judge in the Cook County Circuit Court. She was sworn in during a virtual ceremony on Oct. 4. Her term will expire on June 30, 2023.
Dawkins has been a resident of Homewood for 22 years. She first got involved in the village by serving on the Homewood Police Chief's Citizens Advisory Committee and the Fire and Police Commission. During her 12 years as a trustee, she also served as president pro-tem.
Dawkins served as a member of Foundation 153, Homewood Baseball and has been involved with cub scouting.
The resolution states Dawkins “has always shown reasoned judgement on matters before the village board” and “will always be Homewood’s greatest advocate.”
After she was honored with the resolution, she gave each board member a hug before speaking to attendees.
“I came to Homewood because I could afford Homewood, and I stayed in Homewood because I love Homewood,” she said. “It’s just a great community and a lot of that is because of this board and in particular President (Rich) Hofeld, who has turned this community around.”
When she first moved to Homewood, she said “there was not even a place you could buy a sweater.”
“Now we have Halsted, we have a hotel, we have a science center, we have just a great destination place and it's because of the board, the staff, and all the residents who’ve supported us over these years,” she said, noting she will continue to work with the board in other ways beyond her tenure as trustee.
Hofeld thanked Dawkins for her service and said she “set the tone” with her voice of reason during her time on the board.
“We love you and we welcome you back anytime and we’ll continue to work with you,” he said.
Trustee Lisa Purcell echoed those comments and noted Dawkins has always been supportive of her since she first joined the board a decade ago.
“You’ve been the number one person on my side showing me the ins and outs of how to do this job, how to communicate,” she said. “You have been an advocate for me. I cannot thank you more and because of that we’ve had such a great friendship out of that.”
Trustee Karen Washington said Dawkins sparked her interest in getting involved with the village’s committees.
“I am grateful and we will miss you but as you said, we haven’t gotten rid of you and you haven’t gotten rid of us.”
Trustee Vivian Harris-Jones thanked Dawkins for preparing her for her role.
“We had a discussion prior to me being interviewed and I appreciate all your input,” she said. “Best wishes to you and your appointment as judge.”
Trustee Jay Heiferman said he’s always trusted what Dawkins has to say.
“You’ve made it very easy and I hope the special rapport we have continues, it’s been a pleasure and I am looking forward to seeing your future,” he said.
Trustee Lauren Roman agreed with Heiferman.
“I’d nod in agreement every time you would speak and I was always in awe of how eloquently you could say these things in front of groups of people and I would always just say ‘Yeah, what she said,'" Roman noted.
Hofeld said he hopes to be able to announce an appointment to fill Dawkins' seat on the board by the end of October.