Ethnic Heritage Museum honors local men in June

Staff Report

During the month of June, the nation celebrates Father’s Day. Locally, Rockford’s Ethnic Heritage Museum will honor local men as recipients of the 2013 “Father or Man of the Year” award.

In addition to being great fathers, these men are being honored for their many accomplishments and contributions. The following men will be honored at the museum on the following days:

Sunday, June 2 — Frank Perrecone (Italian Gallery);

Sunday, June 9 — Adam Mazela (Polish Gallery);

Sunday, June 16 — Father’s Day celebration;

Sunday, June 23 — Dr. Herbert Jackson (African-American Gallery); and

Sunday, June 30 — Danny McDade (Irish Gallery).

Frank Perrecone

Frank A. Perrecone is a leading trial lawyer who has tried numerous civil jury cases involving serious personal injuries and death in both the state and federal courts. He is known for his handling of personal injury cases, representing injured victims throughout northern Illinois.

Perrecone was the recipient of the prestigious “Board of Governors Award” from the Illinois State Bar Association for his outstanding efforts in establishing and expanding the Law Education Series. He was elected to serve as the 100th president of the Winnebago County Bar Association for the 2007-2008 term.

From 1998 to 2008, Perrecone was an adjunct professor of law at the Northern Illinois University College of Law. He is a graduate of Northern Illinois University and Drake University Law School. He was an amateur boxer and an outstanding baseball player, receiving All-Conference honors both in high school and college and All-State honors in college.

A native of Rockford, Frank is active in community affairs. He is chairman of the Greater Rockford Italian American Association, a position he has held since 2009. For 12 years, Frank and his wife, Jody, were volunteers at the Red Cross Homeless Shelter. They received the Red Cross Dedicated Service Award in 2007.

Perrecone serves as president of Veterans Drop-In Center (VDIC). He and Jody serve as members of the steering committee for Rockford Airport’s AirFest.

Adam Mazela

Adam Mazela was born April 16, 1962, in Malbork, Poland. He came to Rockford in 1981 at the age of 19 and started working at Advanced Machine and Engineering, at which he is still employed.

Mazela has been married to his wife, Iwona Mazela, for 24 years, and they have two daughters. He is very active in his church by being a lector, Eucharistic Minister, a past chairman of the Finance Council, and a member. He served as a chairman of the Parents Teacher Association of the Polish Language School, which his daughter currently attends.

Dr. Herbert Jackson

Dr. Herbert Jackson was born in Cook County Hospital in Chicago in 1930. He was raised in Chicago Public Housing complexes (Ida B. Wells) and graduated from Wendell Phillips High School in 1948. He was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1951 and served three years during the Korean conflict. He attended Woodrow Wilson Teachers College and received an associate of arts degree.

Dr. Jackson met his wife of 54 years, Edna Counts, while attending Wilson Junior College. They have two children.

Dr. Jackson completed his bachelor of science degree at Chicago State University. After working a few years in various jobs such as Chicago Elementary School System teacher, Chicago Tribune newspaper (Circulation Department), and Cook County Sheriff’s Department as a deputy sheriff, Dr. Jackson attended Illinois College of Podiatric Medicine and graduated in 1962. While in podiatry school, a friend mentioned Rockford was the second-largest city in Illinois.

In April 1963, he met Dr. Jeffery Ish. He and Dr. Ish would later join a partnership and have their first office on Seventh Street in Rockford. Five years later, Dr. Jackson and Dr. Ish bought property on 11th Street to build a new office and operating room. He practiced podiatry and performed surgery for 38 years in Rockford, retiring in 2000.

Dr. Jackson has served on numerous boards such as Rosecrance, Winnebago County Health Department and Wesley Willows Nursing Home, to name a few. He is a member of the American Society of Podiatric Medicine, the National Society of Podiatric Medicine and the Illinois Society of Podiatric Medicine.

Danny McDade

Danny McDade was raised in Royal Oak, Mich., and graduated from Western Michigan University and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps. He completed Flight School and was designated a Naval Aviator in 1981 and assigned to flying helicopters. Danny joined a Reserve Marine squadron in1988, located near New Orleans, while working full time for Petroleum Helicopters flying to and from the oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico.

He was placed back on active duty in 1990, when he deployed to Saudi Arabia and Kuwait in Operation Desert Shield/Storm.

In 1996, he returned to civilian flying with Lifeline Helicopter of Saint Anthony’s Medical Center in Rockford. In 1997, he joined the Marine Forces Pacific in Hawaii and participated in multiple exercises deploying to Kuwait, Egypt and Korea before being mobilized for Operation Enduring Freedom and deployed for one year after 9-11.

In 2005, he was again mobilized in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and deployed to Multinational Forces Western Iraq. He again deployed in 2006-2007 to the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward) in the Al Anbar Province of Iraq. He repeated that tour in 2008, after which he retired at the rank of colonel after 31 years of commissioned service with the United States Marine Corps. He again returned to civilian flying with REACT helicopter of Rockford Memorial Hospital, where he is currently employed.

Danny is a member of the local Marine Corps League, VFW and Military Officers Association of America. He was past president of the largest union of Emergency Medical Service Pilots in the world. He has personally transported well more than 1,300 injured or critically ill patients.

He has been married for 33 years to the former Mary McWethy of Kalamazoo, Mich. They have two sons.

Heavily influenced by his uncle’s singing of Irish tunes at family gatherings, after retiring from the Marine Corps, he formed the music group Dannyboyz, which later became Gaelic Fury. They perform a variety of traditional jigs and reels, ballads and Irish pub tunes. His band has played in many venues around the Rock River Valley from pubs to festivals and private events.

Danny was a founding member and past president of the Rock River Valley Celtic Society, which put on two Irish Fests in Rockton. He currently serves on the Irish Marching Society’s Board of Directors, organizing the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade and party for the Rockford area.

Ethnic Heritage Museum

The Ethnic Heritage Museum is unique in its blend of ethnic groups: African-American, Italian, Irish, Polish, Lithuanian and Hispanic. A visit to each of these galleries will enlighten visitors of their cultural history and their contribution to life in Rockford.

The museum, at 1129 S. Main St., is open every Sunday from 2 to 4 p.m. Admission to honor these men is free to the public, but donations are appreciated. For more information, visit or e-mail

From the May 29-June 4, 2013, issue

Enjoy The Rock River Times? Help spread the word!