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When Barrington Hills Village President Martin McLaughlin volunteered to participate in a dunk tank during the recent “The Hills are Alive Fall Festival,” he did so with a village police officer in mind.

Shortly after he situated himself in the dunk tank on Sept. 30., youngster Susie Bongiorno hit the target and dunked McLaughlin into the water below.

Proceeds this year from the dunk tank, as well as food and beverage sales during the village’s annual fall community festival, went to an ongoing effort to raise funds for Jeremy Hensler, a police officer in Barrington Hills who recently was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

“(Bongiorno) threw a strike. I coached her on our softball team,” McLaughlin said of the dunk tank experience, adding how an estimated crowd of 600 attended the festival. “We think that’s pretty good attendance for a village with 1,100 homes.”

But the featured element of Barrington Hills’ sixth annual fall festival was supporting Hensler, who also is a member of the Northern Illinois Police Alarm System — a group of suburban police departments in the Chicago area, officials said.

“He was one of our highest-trained, well-qualified officers,” McLaughlin said of Hensler.

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McLaughlin said the Dunk Tank ended up generating about $500 in proceeds. Organizers also collected donations through vendors’ food and beverage sales at the event, he said. Timmerman’s Equestrian Drill Team, of Island Lake, also performed for the festivalgoers.

Other activities included a climbing rock wall, an interactive animal show and a make-your-own ice cream area, organizers said.

The entire Barrington Courier-Review article can be seen here.

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BHRR 2

 

Hundreds of cyclists are expected to join military veterans and first responders for the annual Barrington Honor Ride and Run, Sunday August 12.

The self-paced, noncompetitive bike ride on routes with lengths of 14, 33 and 47 miles benefits Project Hero, a nonprofit organization that helps veterans and first responders affected by physical injury, post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury. The event is highlighted by riders using hand cycles, recumbent cycles, custom tandems and traditional road bikes.

Check-in and day-of registration begins at 7 a.m. at the Barrington Hills Park District, 361 Bateman Road, followed by a ceremony at 8 a.m., ride at 8:15 a.m., cross-country trail run and fun walk at 9 a.m., and festival with food, music and family fun at 11 a.m. To register, visit projecthero.org.

To see the full article in the Daily Herald, click here.

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This news comes via the Barrington Hills Police Department:

“Barrington Hills Police Department (BHPD) Officer Jeremy Hensler was recently diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease, which is progressively debilitating and eventually terminal. As we all know, lives, priorities, and future plans can change in an instant and this is sadly the case for Officer Hensler.

Jeremy is a 13-year veteran of BHPD and served five years as a police officer in Richardson, Texas before moving to Illinois with his wife and young daughter. His daughter is now 15 years old, beginning her high school years and is the light of Jeremy’s life.

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BHPD Officer Jeremy Hensler

Jeremy has spent all of his adult life in public service and he has gone above and beyond in his career at BHPD, serving 12 years as a Northern Illinois Police Alarm System (NIPAS) Emergency Services Team (EST) sniper. Jeremy is also a 10-year veteran of the United States Marine Corps in which he served as an infantry rifleman in the 1st Battalion 9th Regiment at Camp Pendleton, California – consequently, he is very proud and was initially reluctant in allowing Department members to organize a request for assistance on his behalf.

Jeremy is currently on an administrative desk assignment and is in the process of obtaining a non-duty-related disability. He will need progressively more care and assistance during the course of this terrible disease. While we all pray for a miracle cure or remission, we also realistically know that the financial strain on Jeremy is something he should not need to worry about.

Any assistance you may provide to assist Jeremy in facing this difficult disease will be greatly appreciated by him, his daughter, and the entire Barrington Hills Police Department staff.”

Interested parties may contribute to Officer Hensler’s Go Fund Me page here.

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Screen Shot 2018-06-18 at 7.28.02 PM Barrington Hills’ Sanfilippo estate is a popular venue for elegant, charitable fundraising parties, but Tuesday it was all about scientific research in the property’s spring-fed creek by Shedd Aquarium experts and a local nonprofit conservation group.

In collaboration with the Sanfilippo family, the Barrington Area Conservation Trust organized the monitoring of Spring Creek to sample fish populations to determine abundance, density and species composition. Conservation trust Executive Director Lisa Woolford said the organization is helping the family legally protect a “big stretch” of its land from development in perpetuity.

“So, part of what we do is we identify as many plant, insect and animal species as we can as part of the project,” Woolford said during a break from slogging through Spring Creek in waders. “And we put it into a nice, big, hefty report so we know exactly what it is we’re preserving.”

To read the full text of the Daily Herald feature, click here.

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The life story of Dr. John Prunskis and his wife Dr. Terri Dallas-Prunskis is the stuff of an epic novel. The only challenge is where to begin. The obvious place would be right at the beginning—John growing up in Chicago in the 1960s, the son of Lithuanian immigrants who attended Lithuanian school on Saturdays, and didn’t hear spoken English until kindergarten. His parents, both refugee physicians, spoke only Lithuanian at home to honor their homeland’s heritage (and in defiance of the Soviets who deported their parents into Siberian slavery).

“Lithuania was an abstract concept to me when I was 5 or 6 years old, but essentially the Soviets turned Lithuania into one big prison,” explains John. In addition to receiving the Knight of the Order of Merit bestowed by the President of Lithuania for his professional and philanthropic contributions to that country, Dt. Prunskis is also an award-winning Barrington Hills physician. He is co-founder and medical director of the Illinois Pain Institute with Terri—a fellow physician who he met 32 years ago during his post residency fellowship at the University of Chicago.

That romance alone is another contender for a compelling opening narrative—two brilliant young physicians working together, pushing each other intellectually, and driving forth on a mission to become healers and innovators. They were colleagues; they were friends. Then they dated for six years, and (as it sometimes happens) they were engulfed in spontaneous combustion. They fell in love for life, marrying in 1991. “I have affection for many things, but the word ‘love’ I reserve for her and my children” he says.

To read the full story in Country Magazine, click here.

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honor_2 Steve Gray, a Coast Guard veteran who fell 30 feet in a 1983 shipboard accident and suffered brain and neck injuries, drove from his home in Kansas City last year to participate in a Barrington event that has been making a difference in the lives of veterans for seven years.

The Barrington Honor Ride & Run (BHRR), a non-competitive cycling event where active service members, injured veterans, first responders, and the public come together to raise crucial, life-changing funds in support of Project Hero’s local programs, will be held this year on Sunday, August 13.

Gray will be there again this year in what he says was a “life changing” event. “If it weren’t for me riding with the veterans, I’d probably be in a wheel chair now,” he explains. “My condition had been getting worse and worse. Now if I didn’t ride I’d be stiff legged and could not even get around. That Honor Ride in Barrington is where it all got started for me.”

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Brothers and sisters Mark Konicek, Colleen Konicek, and Katie Konicek
Karam have organized the Barrington event from its inception.

For a donation, you can ride, run, or walk with them. Walk a mile on your own, or bike for 47. This year’s event will feature three bike distances (10, 30 or 50 miles) through the Barrington’s idyllic scenery, and a trail run and fun walk through Spring Lake Forest Preserve.  If past events provide prologue, the day will be high-spirited civic affirmation of duty and thankfulness, though designed to do far more than engender sentiment.

It’s a day of literal healing…

The 7th annual BHRR will take place August 13 at the Barrington Hills Park District with opening ceremonies—including the Operation “Wild Horse” Mounted Color Guard—at 8 a.m. The bike, run, and walk culminate in a community festival of fun for the whole family as BHRR joins forces with Barrington Hills’ 5th annual heritage festival, “The Hills Are Alive.” Enjoy free food and music, free activities, and games for the whole family. Participants can register online or donate at honorridebarrington.com. Veterans ride for free.

You can read the full feature article in Barrington Country magazine here.

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Joseph Laterza, an eighth-grader at St. Anne Parish School, Barrington, has been notified by the National Geographic Society that he is one of the semifinalists eligible to compete in the 2017 Illinois National Geographic State Bee.

The contest will be Friday, March 31, at Braden Auditorium, Bone Student Center, Illinois State University, Normal. Laterza is the son of Franco and Nancy Laterza of Barrington Hills.

The entire Daily Herald article can be read here.

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