Orland Park Special Services Offers Centralized Information

Orland Park Special Services Offers Centralized Information
Posted on 03/21/2011

The Village of Orland Park Office of Special Services debuted Veterans Day, 2002. Since that time, the office has processed thousands of passports, enrolled hundreds of village residents in its Medical Identification Program, offered services and seminars for area veterans and held a number of presentations of interest to the community.

"Special Services was created to help specific populations in the village and to provide general services for everyone," said Orland Park Mayor Dan McLaughlin.

A collaborative effort between the Mayor's and Village Clerk's Offices, Orland Park's Office of Special Services operates under the auspices of the Clerk's Office. Village staff process passport applications, enroll residents in its Medical Identification Bracelet and Rapid Recovery Programs and offer a number of seminars and specialty programs throughout the year.

"The passport service is a big hit with the community," said Orland Park Village Clerk David Maher. "People can make an appointment and find out what they need to apply for a passport, come in, get their picture taken and complete everything all in one stop," he said, adding, "It's quick and convenient."

Orland Park's Medical Identification Bracelet Program keeps confidential medical information on file with the Police Department in the event of an emergency. Participants wear the bracelet with an individually assigned code that corresponds to their information on file with the Police Department.

"The bracelet program works well because if someone with one of our bracelets is unconscious or unable to communicate with emergency personnel, their information is on file with the Police Department and the responding officer can access it on the call," McLaughlin said. Nearly 600 village residents have joined the village's bracelet program.

The Rapid Recovery Program, also offered in conjunction with the Police Department, is an electronic tracking system that will locate a resident who might have Alzheimer's, autism or other special needs. Participants wear a personalized wrist band that emits a tracking signal. When caregivers notify the Police of a missing person, a search and rescue team responds, using the mobile tracking system.

"The public has been very receptive to all of the programs that Special Services offers," said Deputy Village Clerk Joe LaMargo. "We host senior coffees each spring and fall, inviting area seniors to the Civic Center for coffee and donuts. We invite different agencies to come, bringing important information for seniors," he added.

Special Services sponsors a number of seminars throughout the year. Past topics have included presentations with the National Alliance for Mental Illness, social networking site awareness for parents, safety seminars for college bound students and their parents, identity theft, transition seminars for parents of children with developmental disabilities, financial and banking fairs for village employees and residents, financial aid seminars for college bound students, understanding Medicare Part D, energy assistance fairs for residents having trouble paying utility bills, bi-annual coffees for seniors and health and job information events for area veterans.

"Orland Park's Office of Special Services is a novelty," Maher said. "I don't know of any other municipality that offers this type of centralized service and information," he added.

"We're always looking for seminar topics," LaMargo said, "If people have topics that they think would be of interest to the community, we're open for suggestions."

"One of the most popular programs is Special Services' ‘Warm A Heart Winter Drive'," LaMargo noted. "The people of Orland Park show how very generous they are each year when Special Services collects new hats, gloves and scarves for the needy. The response is literally heart warming, to coin a phrase," he said smiling.

"Special Services also provides free notary service, which is very handy right here in the Village Hall," LaMargo said.

"The Office of Special Services has served a majority of our residents," McLaughlin said. "Whether they've come in for passports, for information on energy assistance, participated in a college prep program or learned about jobs for veterans, Special Services has been able to help thousands of people for almost nine years," the mayor added.

Orland Park's Office is Special Services is located off the lobby of the Frederick T. Owens Village Hall, 14700 South Ravinia Avenue. The office is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. For more information, call 708/403-6188.