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Prospect Heights department honors its Firefighter of the Year.

Firefighter Walter Prestel was named 2017 Firefighter of the Year by the Prospect Heights Fire Protection District. Prestel has been a member of the Prospect Heights Fire Department since 2013, having completed the fire academy that same year.

In his four-plus years with the department he has become a fire apparatus engineer, able to drive and operate the pumps and aerial apparatus. Recently, he completed paramedic school and was issued his paramedic license from the state of Illinois.

Fire Chief Drew Smith presented Prestel with the award during a recognition luncheon held in December.

Since 1991, firefighters have nominated one of their peers for this award. Each member bases their nomination decision on the following criteria: training and performance, performance on emergency incidents, general leadership, helping other members of the department, involvement in special projects and overall positive attitude toward the department, its members, and the public.

The nominations and ballots are circulated to the members and, following voting, the firefighter with the most votes is named the Firefighter of the Year.

* The Foundation for Children in Need, based in Arlington Heights, was awarded for rendering exemplary social services to the poor in the Telugu speaking states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, India.

Dr. Geetha Yeruva, co-founder of the foundation, accepted a memento and a cash award of 200,000 rupees (about $3,125) from the Honorable Chief Minister Kalvakuntla Chandrasekhar Rao during a special dinner, organized by the Minority Welfare Department and Christian Finance Corporation of Telangana state held Friday, Dec. 22, in Hyderabad, India, the capital of southern India's Telangana state.

The Foundation for Children in Need was founded by Dr. Yeruva and Tom Chitta in 2002 at Porumamilla in Kadapa (District), Andhra Pradesh, India. The foundation, a nonprofit organization, provides help to needy children, college students and the elderly.

Dr. Geetha provides free medical care and health education to rural villagers and schoolchildren.

The Foundation for Children in Need has helped to establish several schools, hostels, a home for the aged, a tailoring and embroidery training center and a community health center.

* The Schaumburg-based law firm Lavelle Law, Ltd., has announced the hiring of attorney Laura Ladon Ellis. Ellis most recently practiced at Rabin, Kodner & Brown in Des Plaines. Ellis, who has extensive experience in estate planning and Social Security benefit claims, has been practicing law in Illinois since 2008, including several years in private practice.

She received her bachelor's degree from the University of Wisconsin before earning her J.D. from the Creighton University School of Law. She has been admitted to the bar in both Illinois and Texas.

Ellis will focus much of her work in Lavelle Law's Estate Planning group.

* Send your 'Neighbors in the News' items to Norrine Twohey at

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Title Annotation:Neighbor
Publication:Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Geographic Code:1U3IL
Date:Jan 13, 2018
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