... to everyone involved in organizing and volunteering in the adopt-a-grave program, designed to make sure that graves of World War I veterans who died during the war are cleaned and decorated by Nov. 1, in advance of the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day on Nov. 11.
The program was the brainchild of Suzanne Kraus of Chicago, whose uncle John Kraus is the namesake of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 454. He was killed in France at age 18.
She is working with Post 454 and the Lexington Genealogical and Historical Society on the project. The graves of 110 WWI soldiers are located in 35 cemeteries in the region. There are 13 WWI McLean County soldiers buried elsewhere in Illinois and another 32 across the country, including one in Arlington National Cemetery. Twenty others remain in Europe.
About a dozen graves remain available to "adopt," but organizers now are looking for financial help to defray costs of buying flags and wreath material.
If you can help, send a check to Adopt a Grave Post 454, John H. Kraus VFW Post 454, 1006 E. Lincoln St., Bloomington, IL 61701. Checks can be dropped off at the Post between 11 a.m. and 11 p.m.
... to the organizers and volunteers of the Hope Packages at Community Cancer Center in Normal.
The packages — goody bags, really — are given to each new radiation patient to provide a package of needed materials: lozenges, lip balm, lotion, facial tissue and more.
Getting a cancer diagnosis is scary enough; enduring radiation, or chemo or surgery, is the next scary step for many. Knowing that a stranger cared enough to donate items or put together a gift bag provides an emotional lift for people who truly need it.
Whether you help with a gift bag, provide employment to a former felon, teach a handicapped kid how to navigate a sidewalk curb, every little bit makes a difference.
The Hope Package program is all the proof you need. To help, visit www.facebook.com/hopepackages or call 309-846-0415.
... to the volunteers and organizers of last week's Bed Blitz that brought together people and materials to provide beds for less fortunate kids.
It's hard to believe that some families don't have beds at all, don't have clean beds, or don't have enough beds, but it's true. Bed Blitz, a program of the Tool Library, YouthBuild McLean County and Books to Benefit, has been around for three years and this year was able to provide a handmade bed frame, bedding, quilt, hygiene kit and book for 60 kids in need.
If you haven't had to share a bed with a sibling who kicks, or hogs the pillows and blanket, or keeps you up all night reading, think about what a luxury it might be to sleep through the night all by yourself.