VENICE, Ill. – Simmons Hanly Conroy is proud to announce the firm was awarded the Key to the City of Venice, Illinois, as well as the Martin Luther King Jr. Five-Star Humanitarian Platinum Award from New Shining Light Church. Chairman John Simmons and his wife, Jayne, accepted the award on behalf of the firm.
The firm received the honor for its work in implementing the popular Second Chance Saturday event. Created in 2016, Second Chance Saturday has helped hundreds of people expunge or seal minor offenses from their criminal records, giving them a “second chance” at life. It’s also helped countless others find employment, register to vote, renew driver’s licenses, and more.
“We needed someone to come down here and help people in our area. Some couldn’t get a job,” said Bishop John Williams of New Shining Light Church. “Simmons Hanly Conroy had the resources to help. When they decided to do that, it was a blessing. It’s changed so many lives in the process.”
One of the countless lives changed is that of Harriet, a Venice resident who worked tirelessly for seven years to turn her life around. After she was released from prison, she finished her college degree in counseling, conquered a drug habit and kept clean, and then focused her energy on finding a job where she could make a difference in the lives of young adults.
“I had lived this hard life for so many years, made so many bad decisions,” she said during the event. “It seemed like no matter what I did to try and be better, my hole just kept getting bigger and bigger. My past kept following me and holding me down. This puts me in a spot where I can help other people and I can lead by example now. I can’t tell you how grateful I am for this opportunity. This must be what cloud nine feels like.”
The firm was honored at the 22nd Annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Observance and Humanitarian Award Ceremony at New Shining Light Church in Venice. New Shining Light’s annual event recognizes those who have had a significant impact on the community and the church’s ministry. Bishop Williams stated that the firm received the highest honor of the evening, the Martin Luther King Jr. Five-Star Humanitarian Platinum Award, because countless people he serves through his church have been directly impacted by Second Chance Saturday. Venice Mayor Tyrone Echols also presented the firm with the Key to the City during the ceremony.
Simmons founded Simmons Hanly Conroy in 1999 because he believed he could provide a higher level of legal care to clients by combining legal expertise with service-minded values. Under his leadership, the firm has put a strong focus on giving back to the community, both through volunteer legal efforts, substantial financial support, and the Simmons Employee Foundation, which supports local charities and events.