Naperville Couple Honored for Civil Air Patrol Work

Article excerpt

Byline: Kelly Womer Daily Herald Correspondent

Ron and Florence Westholm are always on call. Whether it's a downed aircraft, whirling tornado, power outages, flooding along the Mississippi River or community uproar, the Westholms rush to the scene and alert a network of other volunteers who stand ready for action.

"You never know what is going to happen," said Florence. "You just have to be prepared."

Together, the Westholms have 82 years of volunteer service in the Civil Air Patrol, an auxiliary of the United States Air Force that helps smooth out emergency situations. For their commitment to helping Naperville residents and the local Civil Air Patrol squadron, the Westholms have been named the city's 1996 Citizen of the Year by the American Legion Post 43.

This marks the first time a couple has received the award, which was presented Saturday during the post's Commander's dinner.

"It was quite a surprise to us," said Florence Westholm, who has lived in Naperville with her husband for more than 25 years. "So many in Naperville do wonderful volunteer work. To be put in a category with them is a great honor."

The Westholms belong to Col. Shorty Powers Composite Squadron, which is based in Naperville and has about 60 members. Col. Ron Westholm, who has been active in the Civil Air Patrol for 48 years, serves as Wing Commander - the leader of all 2,000 members statewide.

"He's the CEO of a company for which he doesn't get paid," Florence Westholm said.

His list of accomplishments and positions include serving on the Civil Air Patrol national board and helping found a U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Air Flotilla to actively participating in search-and-rescue operations and providing primary flight instruction to more than 1,300 young adults. …