By TIA CAROL JONES
Montgomery Place residents and other community members gathered to show their appreciation for State Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie (D-25) on Wednesday, Sept. 26. Currie has represented Hyde Park for 39 years. And announced around this time last year that she would not seek re-election.
Deborah Hart, CEO of Montgomery Place, said the facility wanted to serve all of the community, not just its residents. And, wanted to open the facility’s doors and recognize Currie’s contributions.
“She’s been very active in our role as a business. She’s always been very responsive,” Hart said. “She’s been so good to us over the years, we wanted to be able to say thank you.”
Paula Givam, president of the resident association at Montgomery Place, 5550 S. South Shore Drive, said Currie has been very supportive, coming to speak to the residents and giving lectures.
“She’s such a wonderful speaker,” Givam said. “She’s always so generous with her time and has a well thought out response for every question.”
Leah Kadden, a longtime Hyde Park resident who lives in Montgomery Place, said her husband, along with Mike Schachman, were on the committee to elect Currie in the late 1970s.
“She’s worked for the community and she initiated legislation that benefitted her senior constituents,” Kadden said.
Teaunto Stephens, activities director in the Health Care Pavilion at Montgomery Place, said he was part of Mikva Challenge in 2003-2004 and interned in Currie’s office.
“I thought she was absolutely warm, very engaging,” He said. “We would have conversations about school and politics.”
Stephens said Currie once introduced him to then State Senator Barack Obama and told him that Obama “would be president.” He said that memory always stayed with him.
Michael McGarry, former president of Hyde Park Bank who has been on the board of Montgomery Place for 13 years, said Currie has always been available, visible and accessible.
“You could walk into her office and she’ll spend time with you. She’s very welcoming,” he said. “She knows people and she cares about people. And, she’s very personable.”
Currie, who spent most of the evening shaking hands and having one-to-one conversations with those who attended the event, said she thought the event was wonderful.
“I am totally overwhelmed by the warmth, the friendship and the camaraderie,” she said. “It’s a great outpouring of love and enthusiasm.”
Currie added that she was overwhelmed by the sentiments but happy to get them.
“I don’t think I deserve it but I’m happy to have it,” she said. “I’m humbled but thrilled.”