Good News Sunday: California woman coming to Arlington Heights to honor soldier killed in Vietnam

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

For 38 years Kathy Strong wore a bracelet in tribute to a young soldier she never met and promised to never forget. And this weekend, she will travel from her home in California to Arlington Heights for the village’s Memorial Day ceremony to dedicate a brick in honor of the U.S. Army Green Beret who died in Vietnam.

Strong was introduced to Sgt. 1st Class James Moreland on Christmas 1972, when the 12-year-old living in the Bay Area opened her stocking and found a bracelet with his name on it. Produced by an organization called Voices in Vital America, the bracelets were, at the time, a popular tribute to service members missing or captured in Vietnam.

“I promised to wear it until he came home,” Strong said.

It wasn’t until February 2011 that DNA testing determined that Moreland’s remains had been found in 1995 near the Lang Vei battlefield, and he was repatriated to his native Alabama.

Strong, who had met two of Moreland’s sisters three years earlier after they saw a newspaper article about her promise to their brother, attended his funeral on May 14, 2011. It was there that she finally removed the bracelet.

Since then, Strong has traveled the country dedicating bricks engraved with Moreland’s name at war memorials. Her goal is to dedicate one brick in every state.

After visiting Boise, Idaho, last week, she’s arriving in Arlington Heights to take part in the village’s 105th annual Memorial Day ceremony Monday and dedicate brick number 38.

For the full story, click here.

Chester, a springer spaniel comfort dog, is the newest member of the Libertyville fire department. Courtesy of Libertyville Fire Department

Chester the springer spaniel joins Libertyville fire department as comfort dog

The newest member of the Libertyville Fire Department won’t be fighting fires, but has been coming regularly to headquarters on Milwaukee Avenue the past few weeks and is considered a valuable asset.

Chester is an 8-month-old springer spaniel trained to facilitate emotional, therapeutic and comfort support of department employees. He comes from Canines 4 Comfort, a Round Lake-based charitable organization that placed canine Elwood with the Libertyville Police Department last year.

“Due to the tremendous success and support our police department received with Elwood, we saw the benefit of getting our own comfort dog,” Fire Chief Mike Pakosta said.

“We see a huge benefit in not only our own personnel’s mental health but also the potential benefits Chester will have on the public, the schools and anyone else that may need a comfort dog to help them smile,” he added.

For the full story, click here.

Dozens of kids of all ages, their parents and friends turned out on Saturday, May 18, to replant the Camp Greene Wood butterfly garden, donated by Rose Pest Solutions. The planting project is designed to increase biodiversity on the grounds and provide food sources for important pollinators that are critical to our food chain. Courtesy of Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana

Area Girl Scouts, Rose Pest Solutions restore butterfly garden in Naperville

Two hundred Girl Scouts and volunteers with the Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana and Rose Pest Solutions came together on May 18 to restore the butterfly garden at Camp Greene Wood in Naperville.

They transformed the 1,000-square-foot area into a new pollinator garden to provide nutrition for honeybees, butterflies, moths and even bats.

The project is supported by Rose Pest Solutions, which has locations throughout the Chicago area, including in Naperville.

“We were thrilled when Rose Pest reached out to help us continue to grow our butterfly garden,” said Lauren Somogyi, Camp Greene Wood director. “We are so thankful they wanted to work with us and donate a variety of native plants to this important pollinator garden so that we can all help provide pollinators the food they need to survive and thrive in our area.”

“Native plants and pollinators are critical to our food chain,” said Janelle Iaccino, a pollinator expert with Rose, also affectionately known as The Bug Girl. “Every three bites of food we eat is possible because of a pollinator. It’s critical to preserve their habitat so that they can continue doing their job.”

For the full story, click here.

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