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Bolingbrook native endeavors to aid seniors, veterans

Published: Monday, Sept. 16, 2013 2:54 p.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, July 25, 2014 4:50 a.m. CDT

BOLINGBROOK – Bolingbrook native Matthew Calcagno says his endowed sense of servitude comes from his upbringing and strong familial ties.

“My father was the chief of police and my mother was always involved in the local church,” Calcagno said. “Growing up in Bolingbrook gave me strong core values and beliefs that I carried with me during my time as an Eagle Scout, my eight years in the military and that I still hold true today.”

Now, Calcagno is the founder and president of Big Hearts Home Care, an elderly assistance program that provides at-home care for seniors in Bolingbrook, Chicago and the surrounding suburbs.

Big Hearts Home Care services range from four hours of daily company, to 24-hour, round-the-clock companionship. Seniors are assigned only one caregiver in order to develop a strong, personal bond with that individual.

“Our mission is to enable seniors to live healthily and with dignity in their chosen place of residence,” Calcagno said. “Whether they need companionship or whether they are recovering from an injury, we want to cover all their needs.”

Regardless of the type of duration of care, Calcagno says that the Big Hearts caregivers try to help senior patients stay active and get out of the house.

“We want to empower them to be active, I believe that is the key to a long and healthy life,” Calcagno said. “My grandfather is 98 and always tells me that the key to a good life is staying busy and surrounding yourself with family and caring individuals.”

Several elements of Calcagno’s professional life are rooted in his familial history.

The son of former Bolingbrook Police Department Chief Michael Calcagno, Matthew Calcagno briefly studied pre-med at Illinois State University before joining the U.S. Navy in 1994. After completing three years of active service and five years in the active reserves, Calcagno then attained his undergrad degree at Robert Morris University in Chicago.

For him, the motivation to join the Navy was about becoming financially independent and serving his country.

“I wanted to take control of my life and didn’t want to burden my parents with finances anymore,” Calcagno said. “I looked at it as a great experience to aid my country, so I went with my head held high and made the best out of it. I learned so much about leadership, discipline and independence.”

Then, after receiving his bachelor’s degree and working at software start up iManage for several years, Calcagno again sought Independence. The Bolingbrook native explains that his career did not seem as fulfilling when he wasn’t helping others.

“In some way or fashion, whether it be health care or education, I always wanted to help people,” Calcagno said. “I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit and the military taught me how to lead others. It was like everything was telling me to start my own business.”

Founding Big Hearts Home Care is the manifestation of his life’s ambitions, according to Calcagno, as a handful of the organization’s patients are also veterans.

“Helping people is what I was meant to do; it inspires and motivates me,” Calcagno said. “I also get to help veterans – assisting them in the VA pension process and providing care for several in the area. This is what I love to do.”

For more information about Big Hearts Home Care, visit: www.bigheartshomecare.com or call 1-800-616-6730.

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