Cashman: It's time for Best Under 40 – again

Jack Benny was eternally one of the Best Under 40.

The comedian was forever 39. The “stuck on 39” running gag got started the year after Jack Benny celebrated his “first” 39th birthday on his radio show. It was so much fun he decided to do the same thing the next year, because “There’s nothing funny about 40.” Benny would celebrate his 39th birthday 41 times on radio and then TV. A headline for his obituary in 1974 (39 years ago) read: “Jack Benny dies – at age 39?”

Never heard of Jack Benny? Hmm, you must be under 40. In which case you could be a candidate for the annual McHenry County’s Best Under 40 awards.

The Business Journal and the Northwest Herald are seeking nominations to recognize McHenry County professionals under the age of 40 who have made significant contributions to their profession, company and community.

Those selected for Best Under 40 will be featured in the Business Journal’s October issue, with a reception, dinner and awards presentation to follow.

You can find an entry form in ads published regularly in the Northwest Herald, or submit your nomination online at Make sure to list your candidate’s career milestones, individual achievements, volunteerism and philanthropic work. Deadline for nominations is Aug. 23.

For more information, call Business Journal Editor Brett Rowland at 815-526-4616.

The winners from last year’s Best Under 40 class will help us select the 2013 honorees.

Among the 15 winners in 2012 was Emily Smith of Lake in the Hills. A Realtor with Harding Real Estate, Smith started My Sister’s Dress in 2008 along with her sister-in-law and a group of sisters, cousins and friends. Over the past five years, nearly 5,000 dresses have been donated to the charity. “We put on a one-day event annually to sell the dresses for $25 each to youths in our community in an effort to make prom more affordable an fun for all,” she said. “It has been such a blessing for us to watch the community rally around the event.”

Army National Guard Capt. Kevin Charles of Lake in the Hills is a construction engineer with the McHenry County Division of Transportation. Charles has completed four tours of Afghanistan and was awarded the Bronze Star for his support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Charles was nominated for Best Under 40 by his wife, Irma, who wrote, “His actions reflect distinct credit upon him, the U.S. Army, the people of Afghanistan, the state of Illinois, and McHenry County.”

Charles was 39 in 2012. Jack Benny would be proud.

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