In a day and age of quiet quitting, high turnover and hybrid work burnout, one municipality is reminding the world that workplaces still care deeply for employees. When former Montgomery resident Jeff Nemetz was diagnosed with adrenocortical carcinoma this summer, the village of Montgomery rallied to raise awareness for the rare disease and support Jeff’s spouse, village employee and Communications Manager, Kristina Nemetz. The couple resides only a few miles from Montgomery Village Hall in Aurora with their two children, ages 7 and 3.
Village staff coordinated a variety of tributes and demonstrations of support for the Nemetz family, often incorporating Kelly green, the color associated with adrenal cancer awareness. Staff donned matching green “Support Squad” shirts, officers wore green ribbons on uniforms, and the Public Works Department raised green flags at all municipal buildings to show support for their co-worker and her family.
At the July 25 Montgomery Village Board meeting, the village president and trustees wore green and set small green flags on the dais. On Aug. 31, the staff coordinated a village of Montgomery Blood Drive for staff and close friends of the family. More than 70 people came out to support the cause. The event in Jeff’s honor collected enough blood to save 210 lives.
Because of the success, an additional drive is scheduled for Dec. 22 in Montgomery.
The Oct. 1 River Run 5K and 10K, presented by the village of Montgomery and Engineering Enterprises, will include a tribute to the family on the backs of the 2022 commemorative race shirts.
ACC is a type of adrenal cancer that occurs because of abnormal and uncontrolled cell growth in the adrenal glands. It is very rare, affecting one person diagnosed for every 1 million. There are fewer than 400 people nationwide with this cancer, so finding a specialized doctor in adrenal cancer extremely difficult.
“Facing a cancer diagnosis is hard, but a rare one is tough as specialists and care options are few and far between,” Kristina Nemetz said. “Jeff always referenced how great it was growing up in Montgomery, but the great lengths of support and the outpouring of love from the men and women at the village leave us speechless and truly humbled. They didn’t just say, ‘we are here for you,’ they showed it and continued to show it. As Jeff strives to get better and starts treatment, we are thankful and appreciative to have such a giving community behind us as we fight this incredible fight. The village of Montgomery gives a new meaning to love where you work.”
For information on the December blood drive, visit the village’s Facebook page, facebook.com/MontgomeryIL, or follow Jeff’s journey on Caring Bridge at caringbridge.org/visit/jeffnemetz-mystory.