Sarlo Enjoys His Role as a Public Servant

By Davis, Jon | Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), March 29, 1997 | Go to article overview

Sarlo Enjoys His Role as a Public Servant


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


Byline: Jon Davis Daily Herald Staff Writer

Of the four mayoral candidates in Des Plaines, Carmen Sarlo is the only one who ever came close to being a Chicago Bear.

From 1945 to 1947, he played semiprofessional football in the George Halas League. He played center, and as was the custom then, played both offense and defense.

"Being young kids then, we had fantasies of getting a scholarship out of it, or fantasies of possibly getting tryouts with the Bears," he said.

While he didn't come close to playing for Papa Bear, the dean of the Des Plaines city council is now seeking the city's political end zone.

In December, Sarlo, 69, of 3051 Scott St., joined incumbent Mayor Ted Sherwood, former District 62 superintendent Paul Jung and former firefighter Rick Ornberg in seeking the mayor's office.

While he proclaims his main objectives are flood control, reducing noise from O'Hare International Airport and prodding the state and county to repair their roads, there is another motive at work.

"There's a public trust instilled in you by the people who trust you to be their servant," Sarlo said. "I ran for this job because I wanted to do some public service."

Some could argue that he's done so since 1962, when he first served as president of the Orchard Place Civic Association, or since 1972, when he was first elected to represent the city's 6th Ward.

Ironically, Sarlo's involvement in public life began with sports, when he volunteered to be a coach and umpire in the then-Devon-Higgins Little League.

* * *

Sarlo was born in October 1927, and was reared in Melrose Park, where he lived until he was 24.

Growing up with a name like Carmen meant "I had to defend myself," he said.

Sarlo also faced discrimination for his Italian heritage. At a March 8 candidates forum, he spoke of being asked in his childhood whether his last name meant he was associated with Al Capone.

Those experiences, however, taught him not to dismiss people just because they didn't like him, Sarlo said.

"If you treat them well, and let them know you're respecting their convictions, they'll respond properly," he said. …

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