Good News Sunday: Suburban World War II veterans mark D-Day anniversary in Normandy

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

Eighty years ago, the land, air, and sea forces of the Allied armies landed on the beaches of Normandy, France.

On June 5, three World War II veterans from the suburbs were there once more to mark the 80th anniversary of what Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower called the “Great Crusade.”

Dick Rung, 99, of Carol Stream, Jack Kinyon, 101, of Bartlett, and Edward “Bud” Berthold, 104, of Fox River Grove made the trip with other veterans through the Best Defense Foundation. The California-based nonprofit provides opportunities for World War II veterans to return to their battlefields for closure, camaraderie and remembrance.

Born in Chicago, Berthold said he enlisted in the Army Air Corps because he didn’t want to be in the infantry. After training as a B-24 bomber pilot, he shipped out on March 4, 1944. His third mission was on D-Day, when he co-piloted a mission to bomb the town bridge of St. Lo, France.

Kinyon enlisted in the Army Air Forces in 1943 and later was assigned to the North Atlantic Division for flight duty on Douglas C-54 “Skymasters.” In addition to flying over Europe, he served on missions to Africa, the Middle East and India.

Rung, a native of Buffalo, New York, joined the Navy at 18 years old. He was sent overseas to London and assigned to a landing craft tank that was part of the D-Day invasion.

For the full story, click here.

  Takoda keeps an eye from behind a fence on Lords Park Zoo’s new bison Buffy, an orphan the zoo recently acquired from a ranch in Colorado. The two are divided while they get to know each other for a couple of weeks. Rick West/

Buffy the Bison finds a home at Lords Park Zoo

An orphaned bison from Colorado has found a home at Lords Park Zoo in Elgin.

Buffy arrived at the zoo on Monday after being donated by Diamond Tail Ranch near Fort Collins, Colorado.

Rejected at birth by her mother, Buffy had to be bottle-fed by ranchers. She refused to join the herd once she was big enough.

Now a little over a year old, Buffy weighs over 600 pounds. She joins Takoda, an 8-year-old bison who has been alone at the zoo since two older bison, Drew and Becky, died last year.

Elgin Parks Superintendent Greg Hulke said people from the ranch saw the city’s social media posts about losing Drew and Becky and reached out to offer Buffy.

“So far, she seems like she’s happy,” Hulke said. “She plays. She runs around. She’s just a toddler for all intents and purposes and seems to be having a good time.”

For the full story, click here.

The Morton Arboretum has awarded $6.9 million in urban forestry grants to 22 Illinois communities. Courtesy of the Morton Arboretum

Morton Arboretum helps communities plant more than 1,800 trees

The man who would establish the Morton Arboretum grew up in a family of tree lovers.

Joy Morton’s father organized the first Arbor Day. Their family motto? “Plant Trees.”

In keeping with the Morton mantra, the arboretum is distributing $6.9 million in federally funded grants to help nearly two dozen communities throughout Illinois plant and care for trees. The city of Elgin, the Roselle Park District and the village of Streamwood are among the suburban grant recipients.

The arboretum’s Chicago Region Trees Initiative is administering the funding — provided by the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act — on behalf of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. The arboretum program works to support the health, diversity and equitable distribution of trees in the seven-county Chicago metropolitan area.

“These initiatives are not just about planting trees,” said Zach Wirtz, the Chicago Region Trees director. “They’re about creating long-lasting, positive impacts in our communities.”

Collectively, units of government will use the grants to plant and care for more than 1,800 trees, establish a new community fruit orchard, remove nearly 300 high-risk or dead trees, prune more than 500 trees and clear 30 acres of woody invasive species, among other projects.

For the full story, click here.

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