BADC Awards 41st Citizen of the Year to Beth Raseman

August 26, 2015

Every once and a while a person is born who has an amazing ability to change things for a lot of people. This person really makes a positive difference and it is a difference that will last.

Such a person in our community is Beth Raseman – who is not only a perfect citizen of the year candidate, but truly could be citizen of the past two decades.

Beth has been a tireless volunteer for many activities since she arrived in Barrington, in Fox Point and for St. Anne’s Church and Women’s Club and for District 220 as well.

I would like to express how important Beth was in her time as a Trustee for the Village of Barrington (2001 – 2013): intelligent, thoughtful, hardworking and dedicated but more importantly what she has contributed since the late 1990’s in what I like to call her role as the “Builder of Barrington.”

While our friends at Walter E. Smithe say, “you dream it, we build it,” Beth Raseman dreams it, raises the funds for it and oversees the building of it – always to a successful and beautiful conclusion.

For St. Anne parish in Barrington, Beth chaired the new church building project in the late 1990s, which culminated in the beautiful new 1,500 person capacity church building and renovations to the parish school. Beth spearheaded a multi-million dollar fundraising effort, worked with the design and architectural professionals and oversaw the project phases over multiple years.

Her next “builder” project was her volunteer effort to make something of what is now known as the Public Safety Memorial Park across from Hough Street School on Hough Street. When the Village purchased the old Barrington United Methodist Church property, there was not a clear vision as to what it should become. But Beth could envision the lovely Memorial Park, worked with a committee on design, fundraising and in-kind donations and before long we had the special place we know today. The brick paver walk (a fundraising and architectural enhancement) memorializes the many who supported this Beth project for our community.

Although Beth was the paid development director for Hospice/JourneyCare, her effort to fundraise for and bring to fruition the Hospice Home went beyond anyone’s job description. Her effort there highlighted what is so signature Beth – the ability to motivate, coordinate, and direct a team of volunteers and supporters to “pull in the same direction” resulting in the creation of a masterpiece – something which becomes another jewel in Barrington’s crown.

But our Beth did not stop there. Has she saved her best work for her latest build task – the Barrington White House? The Village acquired the property as part of the redevelopment parcel for the downtown commercial area. The vision to save and renovate this historic landmark and have it for the community was there but that would not become a reality without a way to raise the funds for the project and devise a way to maintain the White House without it being a burden to taxpayers. Volunteer Beth has spent countless hours, literally, for the past two years, investigating how such community centers work to be self-sustaining, what elements are required to make it appealing for multiple purposes and how to renovate our building while maintaining its historical significance and beauty. She has spent more hours than can even be fully appreciated fundraising, finding in-kind donors, reviewing architectural plans and building work in-progress, negotiating not-for-profit tenant leases for the new offices, suggesting policies and plans for White House operations, forming a youth and advisory board, and even scheduling cultural events for the completed space.

Beth is a one woman army but one who knows how to include so many others in her work, always making them integral and important parts of it so that when the masterpiece is complete many have the satisfaction of having contributed their time, talent and treasure for the benefit of the community.

When I think of the lasting gifts to the community that are St. Anne's Church, the B*arrington Memorial Park*, the JourneyCare/Hospice Home and now the Barrington White House I cannot fathom how any of them would be here as they are now without the vision, effort, determination and unshakeable faith of the “Builder of Barrington” – Beth Raseman. It is so perfectly fitting to recognize her monumental efforts by naming her the Barrington Area Development Council's 41st Citizen of the Year.