Chicago Ald. Edward M. Burke Accepts Tree of Life Award - Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago

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RIC in the News

Published on November 20, 2007

Chicago Ald. Edward M. Burke Accepts RIC Tree of Life Award

RIC President and CEO Dr. Joanne
Smith with Ald. Edward M. Burke
and his wife, Illinois Supreme Court
Justice Anne Burke at the 2008
Bearcat Ball.

Edward M. Burke, Alderman of Chicago’s 14th Ward, received the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago Associate Board’s 2007 “Tree of Life” award. A cast bronze sculpture by artist Richard Hunt was presented to Ald. Burke in recognition of the honor at the 9th Annual Bearcat Ball on Saturday, November 10, at the Merchandise Mart.

Ald. Burke earned the honor for his work in ensuring Chicago’s firefighters and police officers injured while protecting Chicago receive the best in rehabilitation care. A lifetime resident of Chicago, Ald. Burke was first elected to the Chicago City Council in 1969. As Finance Chairman, he is currently championing a bill that would allow injured police officers and firefighters who receive disability benefits to be able to go back to work and volunteer without penalty.

During his acceptance remarks at the special Benefactor Reception, the alderman dedicated the award to his wife, a founder of the Special Olympics, and James Mullen, a Chicago police officer injured on duty resulting in quadriplegia.

The Tree of Life award is presented annually and is based on the tapestry by Marc Chagall that hangs in the entryway of RIC and bears the inscription:  “For there is hope of a tree/ If it be cut down that it will sprout again/And that the tender branch therefore will not cease.”

“His career, Chagall never tired of saying, was to discover the meaning of life. Well, this is something that happens at RIC each and every day,” said Ald. Burke. “I am proud to accept this distinguished honor that is such a vivid expression of Chagall’s artistry and yet at the same time so filled with the spirit of RIC.”

The Bearcat Ball is hosted annually by the RIC Associate Board. The 2007 premier black-tie event featured music by the acclaimed Don Cagen Orchestra, tastings from Chicago’s top restaurants, Majestic Star Casino gaming and a silent auction. Associate Board members Lindsey Axel, Erica Scully and Inga Stenta served as co-chairs.

The record net proceeds raised by the event this year benefit RIC’s Pediatric Charity Care program, which offers prosthetic devices and specialized treatment to children with disabilities whose families cannot afford this care.

The Bearcat Ball is named for the Stutz Bearcat, a luxury automobile manufactured in the 1920s and purported to have carried the heroes and heroines of author F. Scott Fitzgerald's day to yacht clubs, dinner dances and secluded roadhouses.

About the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago

The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC) is making a difference in the world for people with disabilities.  RIC provides world-class care to patients from around the globe for a range of conditions from acute brain and spinal cord injury to chronic arthritis, pain and sports injuries.  RIC, founded in 1954, has been designated the “#1 Rehabilitation Hospital in America” by U.S. News & World Report every year since 1991 and attributes its leading standard of care in part to its innovative research and discovery, particularly in the areas of bionic medicine, robotics, neural regeneration, pain care and better outcomes. RIC operates its 165-bed, flagship hospital in downtown Chicago, as well as a network of 30 sites of care located throughout the city and surrounding suburbs that provide additional inpatient care, day rehabilitation and outpatient services. RIC also maintains strategic alliances with leading healthcare providers throughout the state of Illinois and north central Indiana.

About the Associate Board

The Associate Board of the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago is comprised of more than 90 emerging business and civic leaders who are committed to raising funding support and increasing the awareness and ongoing success of the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago through beneficiary events and volunteer programs.