Streator resident Jessica Pastirik "truly exemplifies what it means to be a good neighbor."
“She is always there to lend a hand, an ear or a heart to those in their time of need. From taking children into her home to helping children around the world with her mission work, she surely has a loving, neighborly heart."
After receiving the above nomination, Central Church of Christ Operations Director Jessica Pastirik was selected the winner of the Most Neighborly award during Streator's Won’t You Be My Neighbor Week.
Pastirik was one of 26 nominees in the contest that allowed residents to nominate the city's most neighborly at a number of businesses or on social media. The announcement culminates the end of what’s becoming an annual Streator tradition celebrating the lessons learned in the long-running children’s television show "Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood."
“She takes care of her aging parents and still finds time to surprise her neighbors with silly sweet treats and little yet hugely meaningful acts of thoughtfulness," the nominee continued.
Pastirik was rewarded with a gift basket Monday featuring donated items from Steve’s Bakery, Dixies Pizza, Streator Eagle 6, Kay’s Secret Garden, Finefield Pottery, Results Gym, Streator Home Building and Loan, First State Bank, Dig Doug’s BBQ, Tooley’s Gas Station, Stella Maris Shoppe and Cinderella Hair.
Mr. Rogers, played by Paul Ahearn, approached Jessica to sing her a few of Mr. Rogers’ more popular songs, including “Won’t You Be My Neighbor” before accepting a prize himself for his help with preparing the week, and especially for his willingness to don a red cardigan sweater in the 90 degree heat.
“I’m very humbled and thankful,” Pastirik said. “I love Streator. I had a wonderful childhood and we have a wonderful ministry at Central Church of Christ that I’m blessed to be a part of. I’m just keeping it simple, loving God and loving people.”
The second Won’t You Be My Neighbor Week took place from July 21 to July 28 to promote neighborliness among Streator residents and it included charitable works such as donating school supplies to Blessings in a Backpack and a community picnic in City Park.