More veterans taking Honor Flight

  • William Dreher, of Elgin, wearing his Combat Infantryman Badge and holding the Bronze Star he earned for bravery in World War II, told of his narrow escape from the Germans in a Daily Herald Veterans Day story in 2001.

      William Dreher, of Elgin, wearing his Combat Infantryman Badge and holding the Bronze Star he earned for bravery in World War II, told of his narrow escape from the Germans in a Daily Herald Veterans Day story in 2001. George LeClaire | Staff Photographer

Published6/25/2008 12:07 AM

Joanne Warkentien of West Dundee has special reason to be looking skyward today.

Her dad, Edward Bednarczyk, 82, of Western Springs, is on board the second Chicago Honor Flight of World War II veterans winging their way to see their memorial in Washington, D.C.


Joanne is justifiably proud of her dad, who enlisted in the Navy at 17 and served from 1944 to 1946. Joanne says she feels "such a deep sense of gratitude and gratefulness for all the veterans who sacrificed their lives so I and my family can live with freedom."

That gratitude was exhibited by the crowds greeting the veterans on the first Chicago Honor Flight on June 11, Elgin World War II veteran William Dreher tells me.

"It was hard to believe," he said of the overwhelming greetings from the crowds at the memorial and upon the veterans' return home. "It was just out of this world," he said, the emotions still high hours after his return home.

"We were treated outstanding. It was great."

The Honor Flights take World War II veterans to the World War II Memorial -- for the day, free of charge.

Coming from a man who put his life on the line for us, the only man in his squad to survive an encounter with the Germans' elite 11th Panzer Division, that's high praise indeed.

by signing up you agree to our terms of service

If you know someone who served and hasn't yet been to see the World War II Memorial, call (773) 227-8387 or go to You can see photos of the first trip. Donations are appreciated. They don't let the veterans pay a nickel.

Let's make sure all who want to go can get there.

Standing pat

Bart Hoppe of Algonquin took the time to drop me a note that not all prices are going through the roof these days. Despite inflation and the "rising cost of everything," he spotted four different lemonade stands in Algonquin selling cupfuls for just a quarter. "The purity of children," Bart said.

And their parents.

Rib alert!

Did you know it's only 15 days until the start of the Lake in the Hills Rockin' Rotary Ribfest? Mark your calendars for July 10 to 13. And start saving room.

Around the bend

Have you been to Arlington Park lately? At the request of my visiting nephew, my crew enjoyed a mellow outing there recently. We had such fun we went back on Father's Day. If you've not been, it's a great spot for families and true bettors alike. You can bring your own picnic (in specific areas) or enjoy their food court or many restaurants. It's a peaceful spot other than that rowdy racing crowd every 20 minutes or so. Check out No, I'm not on the payroll! And, yes, I, queen of the $2 bet, gave more than I received.


Wrong number

Gretchen Matthews, who has lived in the Dundee Township area since 1968, has a great question for the folks at AT&T. She wonders why they keep giving her a McHenry County phone book instead of the northern Kane/Elgin edition she got for years. She's called and asked, been promised the right book, but no luck. It makes it tough to reach out and touch someone. ... AT&T?

To market, to market

Gretchen, by the way, kindly corrected my initial poor directions to the Thursday Elgin Harvest Market (I apologize for trying to send you down a one-way street).

She tells me the Dundee Farmers Market from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. by the Depot on Saturdays is also a wonderful spot to visit. Check it out by taking Route 72 east across the Fox River to River Street. Go north a couple of blocks and you'll see it on your left.

Generous souls

People are just amazing. Within hours of reading Sunday's column about Zizi Balk's need for a computer, an anonymous woman dropped one off at Wine Styles in Lake in the Hills. The wine shop owner, Tom French, and his daughter, Michelle Farfan, recently held a fundraiser to help Zizi, a Palatine mother of two who is fighting a brain tumor with no insurance, no job and little money.

Thank you, anonymous one -- you've truly helped make a difference.

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