Phil Milano…ECA 2017 Volunteer of the Year

ECA President Jeff Manuel (left) extended a big thank you to ECA member Phil Milano on January 8 at the Edgebrook Branch Library. Click the photo to see Phi’s plaque.

It started with a simple question.

Early in the year, when responding with his annual member pledge, Phil asked us a simple question: Had the ECA thought about holding a seed and plant exchange for the neighborhood?

Funny that he should mention that! Edgebrook Library’s Adult Services Librarian Jeannine Tiesch-Ramirez had expressed her interest in a seed swap to us and we put Phil in touch with Jeannine. In short order Phil and Jeannine picked a date for the exchange, planned the event, created promotional posters, and organized donated seeds and potted plants.

Attendees were enthusiastic about the May 6 event and gardens bloomed all summer into fall with radiant flowers and nourishing vegetables thanks to a simple idea and ECA members sharing a common interest and commitment to their community.

Because the spring exchange was so popular, Phil and Jeannine were back in October with a fall swap, which included surplus gardening tools and container garden decorations.

Phil was also at the ready to help his community during Clean and Green days when ECA Directors, members, and other neighbors turned out to mulch, prune and spruce up public greenspaces in Edgebrook.

Phil and his wife Rose (a lovely name for a gardener’s wife!) were house hunting in 1978 when they were visited Edgebrook. They toured one house and knew it was just right for them. Phil would be close to his job as a reading teacher in Chicago Public Schools and the house had a yard, flower beds, and a garden that they could nurture and transform. Over the years he has had little luck with growing Spanish onions but he is a master with white zinnias and red raspberries.

All neighbors who volunteer their time and energy at ECA events are near and dear to the ECA. Our organization and your community would not be as interesting without their spirit and good work.

Thank you, Phil, and everyone else who participates in the ECA. You did your part and good things happened.

Volunteers do not necessarily have the time; they just have the heart. – Elizabeth Andrew

Jeannine, Phil, and Jeff in the stacks at the Edgebrook Branch Library.