As year three of the Libertyville Running Club comes to a close, it’s time we highlight Melissa Brunette, the Great and Powerful Oz herself, in this final Monthly Member Spotlight.
Many of you know her, many of you do not. It’s difficult for her to be around the LRC as often as she would like given that I’m around the LRC as often as I like. She will do the occasional group run and 5K and has run a half marathon. She joined the SEDOL board this year and was integral in raising over $6,000 via the LRC network for their Making Strides for Kids 5K, accounting for 1/4 of the total funds raised from the event. What few of you know is the extent to which she is involved in ensuring the LRC’s success. In fact, she is the reason there is a Libertyville Running Club to begin with.
I met Melissa in Chicago while she was working for a large law firm, one that ensures your life IS work until you want something more. After a few years of dating, she found something more (shameless plug – ME!) so she left the firm for a position in Libertyville that offered a more reasonable work-life balance.
Melissa’s mom was in the army. Though she was born in Colorado Springs and called it home for her teenage years, she spent most of her early life inhabiting various military towns in the U.S. & Europe. College, then law school, brought her to Massachusetts, then Illinois, where she ultimately settled. Melissa knew nothing about the north suburbs but loved her new company. Unfortunately, it came with a 125-mile round trip commute.
For four years, she commuted to Libertyville while we settled into our home in Flossmoor, a south suburb of Chicago. We loved it: our friends were there, my family was there (my sister lived down the street from us and my parents worked within a few miles of our house), and I started a running club with the goal of opening a running store in town…
Then we had Mars. Her commute didn’t allow for much time with him given that he was asleep when she left for work and asleep when she returned home. The only solution was to move closer to her office. Libertyville had everything we wanted: a vibrant downtown, running trails, and seemingly good people (this has since been confirmed).
We would have to leave the club I started yet Melissa was confident that I could create it again. In my mind, Libertyville was top choice given its lack of a running club. “How could this town have a running store but no running club?”, I questioned. To my chagrin, I discovered that answer after working there.
Fast forward to today, 3 years and 3 months later. Melissa is my copy editor for much of my writing (these articles included, except this one – she doesn’t know about this one). She’s our skilled corporate attorney that navigated the incorporation rules, trademark stuff, and all the liability and insurance details I don’t like concerning myself with but must. She listens to me ruminate about all things LRC daily and offers a lot of great suggestions.
As we reflect on 2016, look to the year ahead, and continue to give thanks for all that we’re thankful for, let’s celebrate Melissa: the reason the LRC exists, the reason our community is a little brighter, and the reason so many of us have become great friends.