When asked which is his favorite basketball team, Dave Jenkins can’t help but smile. The Chicago Bulls, of course, but his No. 1 team is a little closer to home.
“Crystal Lake South,” Jenkins said. “I think there’s something pure about high school basketball.”
He’s such a super fan of the Gators that he never misses a game. Jenkins volunteers for the team, often helping behind the scenes, either with stats or technical work.
Most of Jenkins’ long list of volunteerism is centered around his two children. But it wasn’t always that way. He described starting his early career as a workaholic.
“I thought as long as I provided and paid the bills, that’s all that was needed,” Jenkins said.
It was a conversation with his wife, Laura, who helped him realize that family comes first. He wanted to be around as his children grew up.
Jenkins has run the gamut of coaching local youth sports, starting with T-Ball when the children were young through Little League. He’s given his time for flag football and the Gators’ basketball feeder program. He even meandered a summer through camp.
“A lot of it was just following my kids where they were,” Jenkins said. “The greatest thing is watching these kids grow up. I’ve known them since they were 5, and I can’t wait to see them play in high school.”
Jenkins said he never was much of an athlete himself.
“I loved to play [basketball] when I was younger, but by the time I got to middle school, I never grew,” he said, laughing.
Jenkins was nominated as an Everyday Hero by his close friend and fellow coach Jere Johnson, who called Jenkins “the world biggest seventh-grader.”
“He’s a funny guy,” Johnson said. “He has joy in his life and he doesn’t take himself too seriously. He tries to make people smile, make people happy. He’s just a joyful guy, and I think that rubs off on a lot of people.”
His helpful hands often extend to Harvest Bible Church, where he also helps as needed and hosts a small group once a week with other couples.
“He’s got a servant’s heart,” Johnson said. “He’s wired to help to people.”
Jenkins oversees District 47’s operations and technology as its Chief Operations Officer.
“My passion is technology,” he said, adding that he enjoys solving computer problems when most people are hand wringing. “Technology is very challenging for a lot of people.
“It’s kind of like social work for computers,” said Jenkins, who has a bachelor’s degree in social work from Northern Illinois University.
Jenkins and Laura grew up three blocks away from one another in Elk Grove Village. Dave said he liked his better half since they were in third grade. But Laura Jenkins took a bit longer to come around.
“She didn’t like me in third grade,” he said. “I was a boy, and I was pretty mean to her because that’s how boy’s flirt.”
Dave eventually was a lot nicer to Laura, and the high school sweethearts eventually wed as 20-year-old co-eds.
“We didn’t even have a car, we lived in a studio apartment,” Dave said.
In fact, it’s Laura – an educator at Huntley High School – whom Dave called his everyday hero.
“People who do whatever it takes to support their families, to support their community, that’s an everyday hero to me,” he said.
He stopped short of calling himself an everyday hero.
“My greatest satisfaction comes from helping people. In some ways it’s selfish, but it feels good to help people,” he said. “I feel like I’ve been pretty blessed to be part of so many things. I feel like I’m more blessed than a hero.”