Officer Pablo Castro:
Officer Pablo Castro has been serving the Village of Carol Stream for over 20 years. He started his service to the community on January 3, 2000. Officer Castro is currently assigned to the Special Operations Unit as a school resource officer at Jay Stream Middle School. He has been a DARE instructor since 2012 educating thousands of students, in seven elementary schools, both in CCSD93 and U46. In 2022, Officer Castro was voted Illinois DARE Officer of the Year. He has extensive experience in conflict and crisis intervention as well as tactical police training from over twenty years of being a police officer. Officer Castro has a passion to teach, forming relationships with students and their families and continuously looking for new ways to create opportunities for positive contact between the police and children of the community. He enjoys spending time with his wife, three daughters, and first grandchild.
Brittany Valene (1996-2005):
Brittany Valene was born on February 17, 1996. A vibrant young girl who always had a smile on her face, Brittany would light up any room. Polite and outgoing, she was a joy to have around. She also had a caring heart, making sure everyone was included and having fun. Brittany’s kindness and loving personality always made you feel like you were her friend even if you just met her.
Brittany was an active girl in school programs and park district activities. She found her passion in Irish Dance, where she excelled despite being one of the youngest girls in her dance class. Brittany truly thrived when she was performing on stage or giving it her all on the field. Her sportsmanship always shined through – helping everyone by sharing words of encouragement, and motivating others through her energy and positive attitude.
Brittany passed on February 15, 2005, at the tender age of eight, from a congenital heart condition called Long QT Syndrome. This condition affects the electrical function of the heart and is often called a heart arrhythmia. To keep Brittany’s vibrant spirit alive, her wonderful neighbors started a neighborhood tradition of setting up Christmas trees in their front yards in her memory – thus Brittany’s Trees tradition was born.
Brittany’s Trees is now an annual event that kicks off on the Saturday after Thanksgiving with 300+ volunteers delivering, setting up, and decorating more than 2,000 Christmas trees to 35 towns in the Chicagoland area. The Brittany’s Trees tradition has been going strong now for 18 years. Brittany’s Trees wants to raise awareness of the devastating condition that took Brittany’s life and raise money for the (SADS) Sudden Arrhythmia Death Syndrome Foundation, the non-profit organization that advocates for this condition. The SADS Foundation supports families that have been diagnosed with heart arrhythmias and are also working with researchers to find a cure. Brittany’s Tree's goal is to donate more than $1 million to the SADS Foundation so they can continue their work and hopefully find a cure.
To date, Brittany’s Trees has donated 50% of our million-dollar goal.
Brittany will live in our hearts forever and her beautiful spirit will continue to shine brightly. Catch the Spirit!
Mike Toomey (WGN News):
Mike grew up in Carol Stream and graduated from Glenbard North High School. While growing up in Carol Stream, he played youth sports. In high school, he was Homecoming King, played on the basketball team, and could be heard reading morning announcements. With his sharp delivery, quick wit, and unique style, Mike Toomey has been a favorite at comedy clubs and special events since 1982. He can be seen each morning on The WGN Morning News in Chicago. He has performed on HBO, MTV, The Arts, and Entertainment Network, and is featured on his own Dry Bar Comedy Special. He can be also heard on Sirius XM comedy channels. The Chicago Tribune calls Mike, "One of the funniest and most talented performers to ever work in Chicago. For an evening of uncontrollable laughs, Mike Toomey is a sure choice!”
Margaret Leabru (1957-2022):
Margaret was a resident of Carol Stream for 36 years. She was the devoted wife of Richard and a loving mother of Elizabeth Leabru (Jim Bryski) and Mary Leabru. Margaret was born in Berwyn, Illinois, and was raised in Riverside, Illinois. She attended Riverside Brookfield High School (1975) and graduated from the University of Illinois in Champaign (1979) with a degree in education. Rich and Margaret met at ITT Telecommunications Systems in Des Plaines Illinois. She supported her community through the numerous roles she proudly held including Girl Scout Troop Leader, youth soccer coach, school library volunteer, classroom mom, art teacher, community prairie gardener, President of the Carol Stream Historical Society, Treasurer for the “Friends of the Library,” and Membership Chair to the St. Isidore Council of Catholic Women (CCW). In 2019, Margaret was awarded Carol Stream’s “Female Citizen of the Year.” Margaret enjoyed traveling, attending White Sox games, going to the theater, doing art projects, puzzles, bird watching, baking and most importantly, spending time with her family and many friends.