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The saying goes, "if you find a job that you love, you'll never work another day in your life." That rings true for Larrie Kerestes, who's worked for the Village of Park Forest for more than 40 years. Kerestes was honored at Monday night's Village board meeting for his service.
"I don't see it as work. It's my home," Kerestes said. "My parents moved here in December of 1952. My mother still lives in their original house. So, this is home."
Kerestes is a lifelong Park Forester. He began his career with the Village of Park Forest in July 1981. Then, he started as a building inspector and soon after was appointed as the Village building commissioner and has been the head of the Community Development Department ever since.
While he stood at the podium at a loss for words, Kerestes explained why he enjoys serving his community, a place he's always called home.
"It's an honor to serve the Village residents," said Kerestes. "It's an honor to be of service. This is my home, and I've been lucky enough to live here all my life. I think that's part of the reason why I haven't retired because this is just part of what I do every day."
The Village Manager, Tom Mick, said he believes Larrie's tenure, and the Village’s overall success in keeping good employees on the staff, is the result of a professional work environment. Mick said the Village prides itself on being a meritocracy: where employees are hired based on what they know, not who they know.
"The Village of Park Forest and its residents have been lucky to have Larrie’s dedicated service for more than four decades," Mick said. "A lifelong Park Forester and Rich East graduate, he knows so much about the community, its housing stock, business facilities, and its residents."
Mick said it is a pleasure to continue to have Kerestes on the team. He added, the Village is also grateful to his wife, Debi, and their daughters Ashley and Lauren, for sharing him with Park Forest over these many years.
Kerestes said he looks forward to continuing to serve the only community he’s ever known.