Together We Cope lost a good friend in June when board member Donald Mertic of Palos Heights died at age 84. Throughout his life, Don was very active in the south suburban community and brought a lifetime of experience to his role as a board member for TWC.
“We surely will miss Don’s kindness and generosity, as well as his unwavering support for our agency’s mission,” said Kathryn Straniero, TWC’s executive director. “He faithfully supported all of our fundraising events and also donated items to our resale shop on a regular basis.”
Don graduated from Harrison High School in Chicago and went on to earn a degree in education from Northern Illinois University. He then served in the U.S. Army during the Korean Conflict before beginning his teaching career at George Washington High School on Chicago’s southeast side. Throughout his life, Don served in many roles to help people. He was an active member of Kiwanis, volunteered at the Worth Food Pantry and Palos Community Hospital, and served on the boards of directors for Chicago Memorial Association and Palos Heights Parks and Recreation.
He is survived by three children and six grandchildren. His wife, Jura, died in 2016.
Together We Cope assists neighbors in need in four townships bounded by 87th street on the north to 183rd Street on the South, and between Will-Cook Road (County Line Road) on the west and Western Avenue on the east. Residents of this area (excluding the Mt. Greenwood neighborhood) are eligible for assistance from Together We Cope.