Good News Sunday: Wood Dale principal hailed as hero during a surprise visit by man whose life he saved

This is Good News Sunday, a compilation of some of the more upbeat and inspiring stories published recently by the Daily Herald:

Al Buttimer, the principal at Westview Elementary School in Wood Dale, recently got his second biggest surprise of the year.

The biggest came during a pickup basketball game in July when he saved the life of another player by performing CPR after the man's heart had stopped. The second came Nov. 17 in Westview's gym when that man secretly arranged a visit to thank him in front of the school's students and staff.

"He got me," Buttimer said with a big smile after Sam Ally told the kids about their principal's heroic actions that saved his life. "I'm shaking."

The surprise visit came under the guise of a school assembly to wrap up a week focusing on kindness. Kids wore ties to the "kindness ties us together" assembly, and the program included eight children in the front holding up the letters that spelled out "kindness."

Ally, who is from Oak Lawn, told the kids about how he collapsed on the floor and his heart stopped. Buttimer started CPR and gave Ally two jolts from an AED machine in the gym before paramedics and police arrived and took over.

"If he didn't jump into action as fast as he did, I wouldn't be here," Ally said of Buttimer. "For the rest of my life, he's gonna be my best friend."

For the full story, click here.

Family-friendly nonprofit The Honeycomb Project has kids get involved

There's no better time to give back and make someone else's life a little brighter than during the holidays.

And while there are a plethora of volunteer opportunities this time of year, not all of them are good for all ages. But one way to get the whole family involved is through The Honeycomb Project.

Longtime friends Kristina Lowenstein and Catherine Tannen of Chicago were looking for volunteer work with their kids but weren't really finding any family-friendly projects. So in 2011, they started The Honeycomb Project, where families from across the city and suburbs could help tackle issues like homelessness and community health in Chicago.

"What is great about Honeycomb is the incredible variety of projects and ways to get involved," said Andrea Sill of Glenview, whose family began volunteering when her children were 5 and 7 years old.

"Our first project was a volunteer event at the Anti-Cruelty Society, and it was fantastic. Not only did we have a great time as a family, our kids got to see the tangible impact they made. I credit this event for our decision to adopt two rescue chihuahuas as well!"

Since 2014, the Sill Family has attended more than 40 projects, including sewing quilts for pediatric patients, wrapping holiday gifts and preparing meals at Sarah's Circle.

Now through New Year's Day, The Honeycomb Project will be offering its Season of Service initiative, which features more than 20 hands-on volunteer projects for families to do.

For the full story, click here.

Lake County Salvation Army receives first gold coin of the season

The anonymous donation of a valuable gold coin in a Salvation Army red kettle in Libertyville has been warmly received and is hoped to be an inspiring example of the human spirit in a time of growing need.

"Every year we get at least one," said Major Dan Faundez of The Salvation Army Waukegan Corps, serving Lake County. "It's still that great unknown of who's doing it. We're deeply grateful."

The South African ½ Krugerrand coin is still being appraised, but its value is estimated between $500 and more than $1,000, Faundez said.

"We don't know if it's one single person or a group," he said of the donor, who visited the Jewel-Osco at 1300 S. Milwaukee Ave. in Libertyville sometime between noon and 6 p.m. Nov. 16. "This is a tremendous help. It's a huge boost to our overall goal of $145,000."

Faundez hopes others will be inspired by the example of the Krugerrand donor to give to an agency in which 93 cents of every donated dollar goes directly to local services.

For the full story, click here.

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Evan Sill of Glenview writes a positive message on the sidewalk in Chicago during The Honeycomb Project's 2022 Holiday Cheer Challenge. This year's event takes place Dec. 17. courtesy of the Honeycomb Project
A South African ½ Krugerrand with an estimated value between $500 and more than $1,000 was found in a Salvation Army donation kettle in Libertyville. Courtesy of Dan Faundez
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