Local Editorials | Daily Chronicle

The many things we can be thankful for

US Navy veteran Richard Korleski, (left) 93, and Ken Cooper, 96, a US Army veteran, smile as talk to members of the Kunkel family after they put on a small bike parade on Veterans Day,  Friday, Nov. 11, 2022, at the Grand Victorian assisted living facility in Sycamore. Sycamore resident Joann Kunkel read a story in the current Midweek that contained a quote from one of the veterans at the facility that lamented the lack of a parade. So she and her grandkids decided to have one for them.

Last Thanksgiving, we were happy for just a few small things we could celebrate. We were two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, and were finally able to gather somewhat safely with extended family and friends and enjoy a feast.

As a country, we continue to struggle with many things, from our health and the environment to the economy and high gas prices. There are a lot of obstacles for us to overcome.

Today, it’s been good to see the virus looking somewhat under control. For instance, McHenry County hasn’t reported a COVID-19-related death since June 25 and for months it has had “low” community transmission, as determined by thresholds set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Yes, we are in a considerably better place. So, let’s take some time to remind ourselves of some of the good things happening in northern Illinois.

We are thankful for the group of Sycamore veterans at the Grand Victorian independent senior living facility. The veterans reflected on their experiences and shared their thoughts expected for Veterans Day. In a story by Shaw Local News Network reporter Camden Lazenby, Jim Tull, 91, a Korean War combat veteran, lamented what he called a lack of local festivities to mark the day.

When the Kunkel family, also of Sycamore, read that story, they were inspired to show the veterans just how much their service meant to them. So, Joann Kunkel and her two grandchildren held their own patriotic bike parade for the veterans outside the home on Veterans Day. It’s moments like that that remind us local journalism means telling a story and inspiring action.

On the business front, Cardinal Health’s plans to close its Crystal Lake plant had us worried that as many as 236 people could be laid off starting Dec. 31. We’re grateful to see another company – Springboard Manufacturing – is set to take over the facility and has plans to retain the workers and perhaps even grow the business. Springboard Manufacturing Chairman and CEO Douglas Constable told the Northwest Herald “our intent is to keep (every worker) on,” which is around 275 total workers when factoring in both full-time and temporary jobs, and acknowledge benefits tied to longevity at Cardinal.

We’re thankful for the additional business growth in DeKalb, where Facebook’s parent company Meta is making a more than $1 billion investment into its DeKalb Data Center, and online retailer giant Amazon is set to build a new facility. Those jobs promise significant benefits to the area.

DeKalb also has experienced growth in businesses owned by local people who have set up in downtown centers. La Calle, a new music and bar venue opened in DeKalb in August, is owned by DeKalb resident Yesenia Galindo and her family, with support from the city’s TIF funds. Fargo Skateboarding, a downtown staple owned by DeKalb resident Ariel Ries, was given city TIF money to help renovate her business.

In 2020, United Way of Will County said it saw an unprecedented need for assistance — and need that really hadn’t decreased by 2021. It’s now 2022 and the need for basic necessities just isn’t going away, according to Kamala Martinez, president and CEO of United Way of Will County. Many of those in need are hardworking people who can’t pay their bills, she said. That’s the reason for The Herald-News’ annual Herald-Angels campaign. Since its inception in 1997, Herald-Angels has raised thousands of dollars to help hundreds of Will County residents.

We’re thankful for the United Way in cooperation with New Life Community Church in Bolingbrook who are providing diaper depots to provide //help fulfill parents’// needs for their children. United Way is making plans to add diaper depots in Braidwood and the Crete/Monee/University Park area, along with a second diaper depot in Bolingbrook.

We’re also thankful for some of the diversions from our day-to-day lives.

We’re thankful for members of our communities such as Dave and Aubrey Appel of Plainfield, who attracted national attention with their fun and innovative “Stranger Things” Halloween yard display this year.

And we’re thankful for the Chicago Bears’ young quarterback Justin Fields. Whether he proves to be the organization’s elusive franchise quarterback of the future, his record-setting performances have breathed life into what otherwise would have been just another wasted football season at Halas Hall.

As we head into the holiday season and a fresh 2023, let’s continue to pledge to be better toward each other.

Today, on Thanksgiving, let’s consider our lives as a whole. What have we to be thankful for? Who makes our lives better? How should we be showing them our appreciation? How can we show our neighbors our respect and genuine empathy? And once we have positive answers to those questions, let’s keep those kind thoughts going throughout the months ahead.

Happy Thanksgiving.