Good News Sunday: Why police say helping Special Olympics is good for the soul

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

When police officers support Special Olympics, they are doing more than making sure people with physical and intellectual disabilities have opportunities to compete in athletics and have fun.

They’re also doing something to benefit their own well-being, Geneva officer Chuck Parisi believes.

Parisi this month received the Flame of Hope Award from Special Olympics Illinois for his nearly 20 years of volunteer service to the organization. It is the highest honor given by Special Olympics Illinois, presented annually to one person and one police department for their steadfast involvement in the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics.

“It helped me not to be a jaded person,” Parisi said of his volunteer work. “It reset my perception. It is important for police, because it helps us with our mental health.”

And his efforts have paid off. Last year, the Geneva Police Department raised $46,387 for Special Olympics, nearly three times more than the average department.

For the full story, click here.

Bria Schmidt, a 16-year-old Hersey High School student from Mount Prospect and devoted Cubs fan, was surprised with news she's going to spring training this year. Courtesy of Advocate Children's Hospital

Mount Prospect teen who battled cancer surprised with trip to Cubs spring training

Last spring, Bria Schmidt was in a battle with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a form of cancer that attacks part of the body's immune system.

This spring, the 16-year-old Hersey High School student from Mount Prospect has something far better to look forward to than the five-hour chemotherapy treatments that began in May.

She, along with two other patients of Advocate Children’s Hospital, will soon take an all-expenses-paid trip to Mesa, Arizona, to watch her beloved Chicago Cubs in spring training.

Bria and her fellow patients were surprised with the good news during a recent tour of Wrigley Field. Standing near home plate, they watched Cubs third baseman Patrick Wisdom deliver the news on the ballpark’s video board.

“It’s amazing. I wasn’t expecting this,” said Bria, who will be making her first trip to spring training. “My mouth really dropped to the ground.”

For the full story, click here.

Jim and Carol Reasor share a kiss during the champagne toast during the Valentine's Day wedding vow renewal ceremony at The Roosevelt at Salt Creek in Elmhurst. Courtesy of The Roosevelt at Salt Creek

Elmhurst mayor leads Valentine's Day vow renewal ceremony at senior living community

On Valentine’s Day, The Roosevelt at Salt Creek senior living community in Elmhurst hosted a heartwarming vow renewal ceremony, with Elmhurst Mayor Scott Levin officiating the event, bringing an added touch of prestige and honor to the occasion.

The Feb. 14 event was a success, filled with touching moments. Gathered were 12 couples whose love stories collectively embody over 725 years of devotion. Ranging in age from 80 to 90 years old, they are living testaments to the enduring power of love.

Residents and family members were in attendance for the ceremony and shared in a champagne toast post vow renewal.

Among the couples were Larry and Ellen Wing, ages 84 and 81, respectively, who celebrated 64 years of marriage in January. After residing in Downers Grove, they found a new home at The Roosevelt two and a half years ago. They have renewed their vows three times - on their 25th, 50th, and 60th anniversaries.

Also participating were Jim and Carol Reasor, whose remarkable love story spans 67 years. They met as teens, married in 1956, and raised five children. As Jim's 90th birthday approaches and Carol celebrates her 88th, they continue to live life to the fullest, drawing strength from their enduring romantic bond and friendship.

For the full story, click here.

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