The Sikh Gurdwara in Palatine, Ill., on Feb. 19 honored Frank Avila, commissioner of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRDGC), for his help to the community. Avila was honored with a plaque by the Sikh Religious Society board members Dr. Pardeep Singh Gill, Dr. Jasbir Kaur Saluja and Harjit Singh Gill.
Community Outreach Coordinator Rajunder Singh Mago introduced Avila to the congregation and talked about how Avila helped the implementation of the O.S.H.A. (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) Waiver from mandatory wearing of hard hat for turban wearing Sikhs working at MWRDGC.
“But now due to a strong support by Commissioner Avila, who understands the significance of a turban for a Sikh due to his business travels to India, the waiver from wearing a hard hat was implemented at MWRDGC. So by setting this precedence it will be easier for the future turban wearing Sikh employees of MWRDGC to get the waiver,” Mago said.
At the MWRDGC Commissioner Avila is the chairman of Finance and also committee chair of Engineering, and Maintenance and Operations. Avila promotes a strong commitment to environmental protection as it relates to the water supply and water quality of lake Michigan and Chicago area waterways, cost effective waste water treatment, flood management and disposal of pharmaceutical and other hazardous material and products, a Sikh Religious Society press release said.
Later Sarwan Singh Raju and Lal Singh presented Avial with a picture poster of British India Sikh Soldiers who gallantly fought in World Wars I and II helping the allies to victory. The Sikh soldiers fought in combat wearing turbans without any other head protection like hat or helmet.
Commissioner Avila along with his wife Sherry Avila observed the prayer service. They were greeted by a group of friends and welcomed with a bouquet of flowers upon arrival at the gurdwara facilities. They were given a tour of the building, the langar hall, and children’s Gurmat School (Sunday School) area, and introduced along the way to the managing board members, staff, community leaders and members of the congregation, the press release said.