La Grange Park welcomed a new board of trustees on Tuesday night, with Joe Caputo replacing the retiring Juan Silva.
Caputo, 53, has lived in La Grange Park for 21 years and lives with his wife and two daughters, one at Lyons Township High School and the other at Park Middle School. .
“I care about people, I care about where I live and the companies that come to town,” Caputo said after taking the oath of office.
He had previously been approached by neighbor board member Mike Sheehan and village mayor James Discipio about running for the board, but was hesitant. But Silva’s retirement changed his mind.
“As a real estate agent, I wanted to maintain value and have sales opportunities, and I wanted more people to buy in the city, so I thought, why not?” he said.
Caputo grew up in Berwyn and Westchester, graduated from Nazareth Academy, and earned a degree in Business and Mass Communications from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Caputo has worked in sales and marketing for 30 years. His specialty is hotel sales, marketing and management and he has been actively involved in real estate sales for the last 20 years.
He has been a real estate broker for d’aprile estates for about 12 years and recently joined RE/Max Legends. He said his passion for real estate was a key factor in his decision to run for trustee.
Caputo is also active in philanthropy, including donations to causes that fight cystic fibrosis and ataxia. He is the event coordinator for the American Red Cross blood drive and received the “David” award in marketing from the Italian American National Federation of David Society.
For the last few years, he’s worked on the marketing committee for the Nazarene Academy, and Caputo isn’t squeamish about the fact that he wants people to know that there are alternatives to public education.
“I’m for change if it helps things,” he said, emphasizing that he doesn’t like modern trends in what he knows about public education, especially in the area of school safety. “It doesn’t mean change is for the better.”
Mr Caputo said the outgoing Mr Silva was chairman of the Public Safety Commission and it was natural for him to take over the position.
Silva was honored with cake and coffee by his colleagues before a board workshop. He was formally recognized by the village when a meeting was called.
Speaking about how Silva was there when Village needed a replacement for retiring Amanda Seidel, Discipio said, “You were there when you needed someone.” Jermaine Stewart said: You gave your opinion when you needed it. Bob Lautner praised Silva’s work on budget issues, while village chief Julia Cedillo said, “It’s been great working with you.”
Silva had mixed feelings about retiring.
“It was an honor to serve the village and its residents,” he said.
But Silva, co-founder and partner of Brookfield’s Beach Street Barbecue, said his growing business and family obligations prevented him from continuing as a trustee.
“My son will be graduating and going to college, so this will be the last summer we will have with him,” he said. “He’s my only son.” And with his daughter soon to be married, he felt it was time to leave the service and spend time with his family.
“I was going to do one season,” he said.
The next La Grange Park Board meeting will be held on May 23 at 7:30 pm at the Village Hall Board at 447 N. Catherine Avenue.
Hank Beckman is a freelance reporter for Pioneer Press.