Editor’s note: Today begins the first of five mini-portraits of Lake Forest and Lake Bluff residents who are being recognized for their extraordinary volunteer efforts in Lake County. They will be honored at the Lake County Cares I CARE Award Ceremony on April 21 at the Deer Path Inn in Lake Forest. This is the sixth year for the ICare Awards, which were called the “Women of Service & Style” awards. The honor coincides with National Volunteer Week, April 15-21.
Today’s profile: Kraig Moreland, Lake Bluff
You could say Kraig Moreland embodies the essence of volunteerism in a small town.
In 2008, while Moreland was assisting at a Lake Bluff History Museum fundraiser, volunteers, including museum President Catherine McKechney, created a scene about the Lake Bluff Children’s Home for the Ghost Walk tour.
Afterward, everyone was surprised to find out how few residents knew about the history of the Children’s Home, which existed from the late 1880s to its demolition in 1979. This led resident volunteers to encourage Moreland to apply his interest in films to a new initiative — producing a 15-minute documentary to be shared with Lake Bluff students.
Three years later, using his own funds but with more than 200 Lake Bluff and Lake Forest volunteers assisting in the many aspects of production, Moreland completed a two-hour informative and historical film.
The documentary, A Childhood Lost & Found, became “a life-changing film for many of the residents of the old Children’s Home,” Moreland explained. “We were able to give validation, a voice, to the kids who spent time at the home. They would say thanks for not forgetting about us.”
Dr. Thomas Dickelman, pastor of Lake Bluff/Lake Forest Community Church, explained that Moreland is also “a creator of events that continue year after year to build community and serve those who are in need.”
Moreland helped with the Lake Bluff History Museum’s biannual Ghost Walk, often co-producing it with Cathy McKechney; co-founded the annual Fourth of July Family Fun Fair, and operates the Margo Moreland Charitable Foundation to assist families with kids with cerebral palsy with his wife, Jennifer. Moreland also created the first KidsUganda DVD, which was instrumental in getting KidsUganda off the ground..
“It all began when I started volunteering as a ghoul docent on the Vliet Museum Ghost Walk tour, because I love Halloween,” Moreland said. “And my interest in filming started when my kids were young. While vacationing, I was always the Dad with the video camera stalking two kids every 10 seconds.”
“I enjoy getting to know and work (volunteer) with people I would not normally work with on a day-to-day basis,” he added. “All the folks live in town, but since they all work we don’t hang out all the time. Every two years when we do the Ghost Walk, it is a like a reunion for us!”