Arlington Hts. New Home of Czech Consulate

By Davis, Jon | Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), November 15, 2001 | Go to article overview
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Arlington Hts. New Home of Czech Consulate

Davis, Jon, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)

Byline: Jon Davis Daily Herald Staff Writer

Arlington Heights' starring role on the international stage is as host to Arlington Park and the Arlington Million.

Now it's also about to debut in a smaller, though hardly secondary role as host of the Czech Republic's interim Chicago-area consulate.

Arlington Heights was chosen because of George Drost, who will be the country's honorary counsel here.

Drost will be formally inducted into his new post Tuesday in a gathering of 300 local, state and Czech officials, and invited guests at the Metropolis Ballroom, 6 S. Vail Ave.

He'll be sworn in by Czech Ambassador Martin Palous, and Petr Pithart, chairman of the Czech Senate. Pithart will also officially open the consulate, which will be housed in Drost's 11 S. Dunton Ave. law office until a permanent consulate is opened in downtown Chicago.

For Drost, whose family fled then-Czechoslovakia in 1948, after the communists took over, it's the job of a lifetime that further strengthens his cultural ties to his homeland.

But while excited, he is also businesslike in his approach to the job, which will be to promote business, cultural and social ties, and to help Czech nationals who've lost their passports or money, or are in legal trouble.

"Chicago has been unrepresented, which has been something of a huge void as far as the Czech population is concerned," he said.

An estimated 151,123 people of Czech descent live in the Chicago area. The first immigrants came in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and gave Chicago's Pilsen neighborhood its name, after the Czech city, Pilzen (which also lent its name to Pilsener style of beers).

Drost will be the republic's 12th honorary counsel in the United States, joining those in Atlanta, Buffalo, N.Y., Dallas, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Houston, Minneapolis, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Portland, Ore., and San Francisco.

"Mr. Drost has been known among the Czech compatriot community as a very active, diligent and hardworking man for a number of years," said Richard Krpac, head of the counsel department at the Czech Republic's Washington, D.C. embassy.

Drost's involvement in cultural and student exchange programs, and his role as adviser to the Czech Bar Association, "make him very valued," said Krpac, oversees all honorary counsels the U.

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