Archive for the ‘The Greatest Generation’ Category


13 1/2″ Iron Horse Head Sculpture

Arlington Park, Part XIV

“Since October 13, 1927, Arlington Park has been the home of “the most beautiful track in America” and thoroughbred racing. Now, the track has closed. As part of the closure, all the equipment, nostalgia, artwork, and more will be offered to the public in a series of auctions over the remainder of 2022. This event is the fourteenth of many and features: bronze and brass horse sculptures, jockey saddle, silk and boots, (2) Arlington Racing full-size video games, framed artwork, Winner’s Circle photos, logo apparel, miscellaneous items, plus lots of signage, games, themed holiday & event decor, and more. Don’t miss this opportunity, as these quality items will be sold to the public. Browse and bid your price now.

The public may preview and inspect the items in this event only from 12p to 5p on November 14 (view the PREVIEW AND REMOVAL MAP), and direct questions to Shawn Smith, call/text (937) 597-3602 or Judd Grafe, call/text (507) 254-1184.”

Click here to view auction items.

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Friday, Nov. 11th, is Veterans Day. It’s an opportunity to thank veterans for their service, and to learn more about and honor those who have served our country.

Local ceremonies include:

November 11th

Barrington Veterans Day ceremony: 11 a.m. Friday, Nov. 11, at Cook Street and Park Avenue, Barrington.

Lake Barrington Veterans Day ceremony: 11 a.m. Friday, Nov. 11, at The Lodge at The Shores of Lake Barrington, 64 Old Barn Rod, Lake Barrington Shores. The veterans of Lake Barrington Shores invite area active-duty military, veterans and their families to the annual Veterans Days ceremony. Air Force Brig. Gen. James G. Silvasy is the keynote speaker. Cake and coffee served. For information, (847) 638-1638.

Hoffman Estates Veterans Day ceremony: 10:45 a.m. Friday, Nov. 11, at the Hoffman Estates Veterans Memorial, Hoffman Estates Police Department, 411 W. Higgins Road, Hoffman Estates. Join to honor all who served. www.hoffmanestates.org.

November 12th

Helping Hearts Toy & Food Drive: 7 p.m. to midnight Saturday, Nov. 12, Tri-City Evergreen VFW Post, 117 S. First St., West Dundee. Hosted by VFW Post 2298, featuring live music by Instigator, 50/50 raffle, and more. Bring a new unwrapped toy or nonperishable food item. Also, ongoing through Nov. 19, VFW Coat Drive. Find West Dundee VFW Post 2298 on Facebook.

November 13th

East Dundee: The fifth annual Dinner for Veterans will be held 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Sunday at Immanuel Lutheran Church, 310 E. Main St. It will be catered by Aliano’s in East Dundee and served by church and community volunteers. Military memorabilia will be on display. Menu includes pasta options, chicken, salad, garlic bread, and dessert. A carryout option is available. The deadline for orders is 3 p.m. Friday by calling Alison Lyon at 630-709-6546 or going to ImmanuelVeteransDinner2022.eventbrite.com.

For more locations and dates, click here.

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Find your way to serve with Signal Hill, NSDAR at the Wreaths Across America Day event on December 17, 2022.

The members of Signal Hill, NSDAR of Barrington, are undertaking their fourth year of sponsorship of Wreaths Across America Day to honor Veterans buried in Evergreen Cemetery on Saturday, December 17, 2022. National Wreaths Across America Day was begun to Remember the fallen, Honor their Service, and Teach children the cost of Freedom.

Signal Hill Chapter, NSDAR has been able to provide the wreaths through solicitation of group and individual sponsors. Unfortunately, several local area Veterans’ groups are no longer able to support this mission due to dwindling memberships.

Sadly, there are never fewer Veterans to honor. More than 750 Veterans’ graves have now been identified at Evergreen, and, while we are well on our way to providing wreaths for each grave that has been identified, we are reaching out to the general community to help reach this goal. You may contribute to this remembrance by visiting www.WreathsAcrossAmerica.org/ILEGCA for donation guidance.

Should you have a family member who is interred at Evergreen, you may make a designated grave contribution, and may personally place your grave-specific wreath prior to the general distribution by citizen volunteers. If you are unable to attend, a Signal Hill chapter member would be honored to place the wreath in your stead.

With your generosity, any donations exceeding this year’s goal will carry over to 2023, so your gift will always benefit this annual remembrance at Evergreen Cemetery.

Donations are not required to participate in the laying of wreaths; if you wish to participate in the event, please register at www.WreathsAcrossAmerica.org/ILEGCA.

A brief memorial service will be held on Saturday, December 17, 2022, at Evergreen Cemetery, 610 South Dundee Avenue in Barrington, beginning at noon. Afterward, attendee volunteers will be guided to place wreaths on those graves identified as Veterans, ranging from the Civil War to present day service. The event will be held rain, snow, or shine, until all Veterans have been honored. State and local COVID19 protocols will be observed on that date, if necessary.

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Protecting open space has always been a quality-of-life issue in the suburbs and the collar counties, a goal under constant pressure from the relentless spread of commercial and residential development.

So, when an opportunity appears to ensure that a large tract is preserved and managed, it is something to be seized and once seized, appreciated. This time, the gratitude goes to the Barrington-based volunteer group Citizens for Conservation.

The group and the Richard Duchossois family announced last week the purchase of the family’s 246.5-acre Hill ‘N Dale Farm South, making it the 14th preserve in Lake, Cook and McHenry counties under Citizens for Conservation’s care.

“We’re going to build a beautiful, complex web of Illinois’ native life here at this preserve,” Jim Vanderpoel, a member of the Citizens for Conservation board, says in a video the group produced on the project.

In reflecting on the family’s goals in selling the site to the conservation group, Kim Duchossois, daughter of the late Arlington Park Chairman Richard Duchossois, discussed how “important this land is to the community,” but it’s worth adding that the preservation’s impact will extend well beyond the Barrington area.

Situated just across Lake-Cook Road from the 4,000-acre Spring Creek Valley Forest Preserve, the addition will expand an important wildlife corridor, providing habitat for native plant and aquatic life, grassland birds and endangered species, such as monarch butterflies and rusty-patched bumblebees.

It will protect the equivalent of three-quarters of a mile along Spring Creek, which feeds into the Fox River, and strengthen initiatives for greenways, watersheds and green infrastructure in three counties. It will be open to public access through programs to be managed by the conservation group. It will have an impact on the environment for all of northern Illinois.

Read the full Daily Herald editorial here.

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[BARRINGTON, IL – August 29, 2022]  – Barrington-based Citizens for Conservation and The Duchossois Group are pleased to announce today that long-term conservation protection has been provided for the 246.5-acre Hill ‘N Dale Farm South property. CFC has acquired the parcel from The Duchossois Group; it is located in unincorporated McHenry County and surrounded by Barrington Hills, bounded on the north by Spring Creek Road, on the east by Ridge Road, on the South by Lake-Cook/County Line Road, and on the west by residents along Meadow Hill Road.

This previously privately owned land in the Spring Creek watershed corridor is considered one of the most desirable conservation-worthy properties not only in the Barrington area, but in the entire Northern Illinois region. The purchase increases CFC’s owned and protected land to 777 acres in Lake, Cook, and McHenry Counties and will be the organization’s 14th and largest preserve.

The 246.5-acre site will be named Hill ‘N Dale Preserve and encompasses 4,060 linear feet of the high-quality Spring Creek, a tributary to the Fox River. The preserve honors the current name of the Duchossois property and reflects the protection of the surrounding upland bluffs (Hill) and the Spring Creek valley (Dale). The land is identified as a priority for protection and restoration in multiple local and regional plans, including the Barrington Greenway Initiative, the Spring Creek Watershed-Based Plan, and McHenry and Lake County Green Infrastructure Plans. It will provide green space connectivity to numerous other protected lands in our area, including the 4,000-acre Spring Lake (Spring Creek) Forest Preserve and the 550-acre state dedicated Spring Lake Nature Preserve.

The purchase will permanently protect the land as open space and improve and protect this sensitive watershed area, which is highly significant to area aquifer recharge. In addition, this acquisition will provide for a critical wildlife corridor connecting to the 4,000-acre Spring Creek Forest Preserve. Restoration of the landscape’s natural ecosystem will provide important habitat for native plant and aquatic communities, grassland birds (such as Bobolink, Bittern, and Henslow’s sparrows), and wildlife that originally occupied this land, including endangered species such as monarch butterflies and rusty-patched bumblebees.

Citizens for Conservation (CFC), a volunteer-based organization with a 50-year history in the Barrington area, stepped forward to save this land as part of their strategic focus on protection and restoration of impactful watershed and greenway areas. CFC has been a leader on these initiatives, which are vital for the ecological health of the region. Nationally, this acquisition also aligns with the federal “America the Beautiful 30 by 30 Plan,” which is the federal government’s goal to conserve at least 30 percent of U.S. lands and freshwater and 30 percent of U.S. ocean areas by 2030. This initiative seeks to reverse the negative impacts of biodiversity decline and climate change by protecting more natural areas, and to increase access to nature for communities that lack it. The Hill ‘N Dale Preserve will locally contribute significantly to this national effort, as well as to the recently announced Land Trust Alliance Gaining Ground initiative. Both these efforts were envisioned when Citizens for Conservation rolled out the Barrington Greenway Initiative.

“This property’s high conservation value, coupled with CFC’s strong history of delivering quality restoration results, will have far-reaching impacts for the entire Barrington-area community, as well as the entire Northern Illinois region,” said Kathleen Leitner, CFC’s Board President. “We could not be more pleased to have partnered with The Duchossois Group and Kim Duchossois to facilitate this acquisition of the south part of their family’s iconic farm near Barrington Hills. We believe that our local communities and regional partners will be ecstatic to hear that CFC has been able to permanently protect this vital open space.”

Kim Duchossois agreed. “My family and I could not be more thrilled to have worked so closely with Citizens for Conservation over the past year to facilitate their purchase of the south part of Hill ‘N Dale Farm. We know how important this land is to the community, and it was absolutely critical for our entire family to make certain that the property would be protected and maintained as open space. The key to our decision to sell to CFC was the organization’s long history in the area and its promise not only to preserve the property, but also to restore it over time and return it to its natural splendor. I’m also very pleased that the Barrington-area members of our family will be contributing a significant portion of their proceeds of the sale back to the CFC campaign to protect this land in perpetuity.”

Initial funding for the purchase came in the form of a $4.9 million grant from the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation, the largest such grant awarded for a single parcel purchase. This substantial award demonstrates the significant conservation value of this important property. CFC is seeking an additional $5 million in funding to supplement the purchase of the land, conduct ecological restoration, and manage the site for public enjoyment in the future.

Initial site evaluation (partially funded by an ICECF Advancing Wetland Conservation grant) is now being conducted to create multi-year ecological management plans for the property. The open space restoration will bring back native communities and species; provide new opportunities for school children and volunteers to engage with nature; provide increased surface water infiltration; enhance the quality of local groundwater; and increase wetlands, all while protecting one of the most pristine streams in Northern Illinois (Spring Creek).

Future public access to the preserve will be provided through CFC-sponsored activities. No horses remain on the property, but the possibility of horse trails will be evaluated during the preserve planning process. CFC has pledged to maintain the iconic white exterior fences that currently exist on the land.

Kathleen Leitner said, “This incredibly important acquisition is fulfilling CFC’s mission of ‘Saving Living Space for Living Things’ through protection, restoration and stewardship of land, conservation of natural resources, and education. Our organization’s history of dedicated supporters, volunteers, and community support has made this acquisition possible, and we intend to steward this land in perpetuity for the future of our entire community. We thank all who have been involved for their efforts.”

Video Highlights of New Preserve

Restoration Concept Map

Q&A Information

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Richard Duchossois, the chairman emeritus of Arlington Park who died in January, was honored recently by state legislators with a resolution that recognized his contributions as a businessman, philanthropist and veteran.

State legislators formally commended Richard Duchossois for his service to the nation, state and sport of horse racing in a resolution that mourns his recent passing.

House Resolution 712, approved last week during the spring session in Springfield, was filed by House Republican Leader Jim Durkin. Chief co-sponsors included state Rep. Martin McLaughlin, a Barrington Hills Republican who represents the area where Duchossois lived, and state Rep. Jonathan Carroll, a Northbrook Democrat whose district includes a portion of Arlington Heights.

The resolution remembers Duchossois, who died Jan. 28 at age 100, for his “leadership, humility, generosity, tenacity, patriotism, philanthropy and kindness to others.”

Recalling the role of “Mr. D” in leadership and management of Arlington Park, the resolution highlights the businessman’s fearlessness in rallying the track to host its signature event, the Arlington Million, just days after a devastating fire that destroyed the grandstand and clubhouse.

The resolution also recognizes Duchossois’ decorated military service, including his command of a Tank Destroyer Company during five European campaigns in World War II, and award of two Bronze Stars and a Purple Heart.

More here.

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Crossing guard and U.S. Air Force veteran Fred Welstead, 89, works in the middle of Lake Cook Road and helps students heading school on March 7, 2022, in Barrington. Since retiring as a commercial photographer, Welstead has helped kids in District 220 cross the street safely. (Stacey Wescott / Chicago Tribune)

For 26 years, school crossing guard Fred Welstead has stood sentry on busy suburban streets, safely shepherding children who are walking and biking to and from school with a watchful eye, a gentle smile and a hand-held stop sign.

“The kids are essentially well-behaved, very courteous, and they always say ‘thank you,’” said Welstead, a Korean War veteran and retired commercial photographer, who recently celebrated his 89th birthday at his crossing guard post on Lake Cook Road in Barrington.

The arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic and shuttering of Illinois schools in March 2020 found Welstead sidelined from his crossing guard gig. He is delighted to now be back to business as usual, which begins at 4:45 a.m., when he awakens at the Mundelein ranch home he once shared with his wife and two sons.

Welstead, whose wife, Phyliss, died in 2010 after nearly 50 years of marriage, lives alone these days since the passing of his 17-year-old poodle, Remy, a dear friend who was never far from his side.

Although Welstead enjoys his church community and dropping by the local senior center, where he picked up a fish dinner on a recent afternoon, he said his school crossing guard job brings meaning and purpose to his weekdays, which are punctuated by two shifts — before school and after school — at his post adjacent to Arnett C. Lines Elementary School and the Barrington Middle School Station Campus.

Welstead typically is at the scene well before students begin arriving, and during cold weather can be seen waiting in either his green SUV or his red Cadillac, before emerging in his parka and neon yellow vest ready to begin his shift.

Read more here.

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Mr. D

Mr D

Richard L. Duchossois, a native of Chicago, a decorated war hero, renowned businessman and horseracing icon, passed away peacefully at his home in Barrington Hills, Illinois on January 28, 2022.

Duchossois was known for his top-down management style, his exacting business principles, his customer service-oriented philosophies and his commitment to quality as evidenced in every workplace with his oft-repeated admonition, “Don’t expect what you didn’t inspect.” His meticulous attention to detail was applied with military precision across all aspects of his life, down to his double-breasted suits and pocket scarves. Sightings of an impeccably dressed “Mr. D,” as he was affectionately called, walking the halls of his businesses were a common occurrence.

Duchossois was the embodiment of perseverance. Of the many organizations in Duchossois’ business portfolio over the period of his professional career, many would come to associate him most with Arlington Park, the thoroughbred racetrack located in Arlington Heights, Ill. After an electrical fire destroyed the entire facility in 1985, the rebuild Duchossois championed set Arlington apart from other racetracks globally, with its striking cantilevered roof, world-class facilities and international stakes races. While a typical response to the complete devastation of the fire would have been to walk away, in a tour-de-force, Duchossois galvanized his employees to hold the famed Arlington Million race just days after the fire. This feat would go down in horseracing legends as the “Miracle Million” and it marked the first time a racetrack was ever awarded racing’s highest honor, the Eclipse Special Award.

Born Oct. 7, 1921, to Ernestine and Alphonse Duchossois in the south Chicago neighborhood of Beverly, Richard Louis Duchossois was destined to lead a life that personified what Americans define as “The Greatest Generation.” In his 100 years of life, Duchossois left an indelible impression on the world as a veteran, entrepreneur, philanthropist, husband, father, uncle, grandfather, great-grandfather and friend.

The second of four siblings, Duchossois attended Morgan Park Military Academy during his formative years.

“I learned (at Morgan Park) discipline of the mind and that you have to try to win,” Duchossois explained in a family business retrospective book, Riding the Rails, published in 2016. “We had a professor of military science and tactics. He always said if we’re going to get ahead, we must be second to none.”

Duchossois credited this philosophy, combined with the leadership, honor and integrity that he learned in his year and a half at Washington and Lee University, as having laid the foundation for his ability to not only survive, but thrive under pressure. These moments would be far from few in his century-long life.

Duchossois was just 20 years old when he was called to service with the U.S. Army following the United States’ entry into World War II. He was assigned to the 610th Tank Destroyer Battalion and served as commander of a Tank Destroyer Company throughout five European campaigns under General George S. Patton.

Although once feared for dead from a gunshot wound, Duchossois survived, recovered and returned to the front, leading his company through famed operations such as The Battle of the Bulge. Duchossois was awarded a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star for his sacrifice and, decades later, continued to garner recognition for his service. He received the Order of St. Maurice medallion, an honor that acknowledges both wartime distinction and ongoing character standards and accomplishments, as well as the distinction of the Legion d’Honneur, France’s highest award, presented to him by the French government in Normandy on the 70th anniversary of D-Day in 2014. As a trustee, Duchossois participated in several oral history projects for the National WWII Museum in New Orleans.

In July of 1943, Duchossois married his sweetheart Beverly (nee Thrall), who gave birth to their first son Craig in 1944 while Duchossois was on the frontline in Europe. The couple went on to have three more children, Dayle, Bruce, and Kimberly. They settled in Flossmoor, a southwest suburb of Chicago.

Upon his return home from the war, Duchossois was invited to join Beverly’s family’s business, Thrall Car Manufacturing Company – a modest railcar parts and repair company with 35 employees, and a rudimentary yard, based in Chicago Heights, Ill. Despite lacking in business experience, it was at Thrall Car that Duchossois honed his intuitive business instincts: He relentlessly strived for growth and improvement.

By 2001, when it was acquired by Trinity Rail Group, Thrall Car Manufacturing Company had a production capacity of 16,000 rail cars per year and 3,000 employees. Duchossois diversified his company over the years with the purchase of Chamberlain Manufacturing Group, broadcast outlets, Arlington Park and a number of other businesses.

Duchossois lost his wife Beverly to cancer in 1980. Her care and treatment received at The University of Chicago served as the catalyst for Duchossois’ first major philanthropic gift to UCMC in 1978. This gift supported world-renowned experts in lymphoma, Dr. John Ultmann as the first director of the cancer research center at the University of Chicago. The establishment of The Duchossois Family Foundation soon followed. Beverly’s death became the vehicle for the family to support cancer research in partnership with the University of Chicago, as well as initiatives such as Patient Navigation Services with the American Cancer Society, among others.

During his tenure in horseracing, Duchossois brought the 2002 Breeders Cup to Arlington Park, owned one of the leading breeding farms in Illinois, and actively worked to influence and shape the racing industry and its legislation. In 2019, Duchossois was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame. In 2000, Arlington Park merged with Churchill Downs Incorporated.

“Dick sets a personal standard to which we should all aspire,” said Washington and Lee President Will Dudley in 2018. “His leadership, humility, generosity and dedication to the service of others are an inspiration to all those who know him. We are indebted to him for his ongoing commitment to W&L.”

Among his survivors is wife Mary Judith (nee McKeage) of Barrington, Ill., who he married in 2000 and who has lovingly stood by his side for all business, philanthropic and family endeavors. He is also survived by his son Craig J. Duchossois (Janet) of Chicago, daughter Dayle Duchossois-Fortino (Ed) of Chicago, daughter Kimberly Duchossois of Barrington, Ill., and step-sons Steve Marchi (Sherrie) of Palatine, Ill., and Paul Marchi (Judy) of Palatine, Ill. Duchossois had seven grandchildren (and spouses), two step-grandchildren, and fourteen great-grandchildren. Duchossois’ first wife, Beverly, and their beloved son, R. Bruce Duchossois, predeceased him in 1980 and 2014, respectively.

Up to his final days, Duchossois could be found at his desk planning his next venture, legal pad and pen in hand. To use the Miracle Million team’s motto – which Duchossois loved and had printed on post-cards – “Quit? Hell No!”
No doubt Duchossois is marching on to his next tour. We salute you, soldier.
As a result of COVID-19, to ensure the health and safety of others, there will be no visitation. The funeral and burial services will be immediate family only. In memory of Dick, and in lieu of flowers, you may want to consider a donation to a favorite organization of your choice, the National WWII Museum, 945 Magazine Street, New Orleans, LA 70130, or Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital, 450 West Highway 22, Barrington, IL 60010.

Published by Chicago Tribune on Feb. 6, 2022

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Richard “Dick” Duchossois, October 7, 1921 – January 28, 2022

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill.  The longtime owner of Arlington Park Race Track, Dick Duchossois has died at the age of 100.

While he was best known for his race track, he was also a World War II veteran, philanthropist and businessman who was born in Chicago’s Beverly neighborhood.

Duchossois was a member of the “greatest generation” – and like so many of his era, it was war that shaped his life.

He was only 20 years old at military school when he got the call.

Duchossois would go on to lead a unit that was told they would be part of the first wave at Normandy.

“We were lined-up for what we thought was D-Day when we found we weren’t in on the initial invasion, our guys were disturbed.  Our guys wanted to be there at first crack,” Duchossois said in a 2019 interview.

Lieutenant Duchossois led his troops onto Utah Beach days after the initial attack. At one point he was shot and feared dead.

He recovered and went back to the front, leading his company through the Battle of Bulge at other assaults.

“I had a job to do. I did the best I could.  My men were well training.  I brought most of them home.  A lot didn’t get killed.  Training, discipline, pride, it saved a lot of people,” Duchossois said.

More here.

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Honor Flight Dames

Ninety-three female veterans took part in Illinois’ first all-women honor flight, thanks to the efforts of Operation HerStory in partnership with Honor Flight Chicago and others.

Veteran Katherine Haile spent three years in active duty for the Army in the mid-1970s, followed by about a decade in the Army Reserve.

And yet, the 73-year-old Arlington Heights woman said, she never really thought her contribution was worthy of being highlighted with an honor flight.

That changed after she and 92 other veterans took part in a trip last week to Washington, D.C., during Illinois’ first all-women honor flight.

“When I think of my military service, I didn’t really see that as something unique,” said Haile, whose active duty role was akin to substance abuse counselor. “After experiencing this, it’s kind of like, ‘Yeah! That was a unique thing that I did.'”

The veterans ranged in age from 63 to 104 and included two World War II veterans, seven Korean War veterans and 84 Vietnam War veterans.

The daylong trip Wednesday was organized by the group Operation HerStory, started by veteran Ginny Narsete of Lisle, which fundraised for the event and partnered with Honor Flight Chicago and others.

The group flew to the nation’s capital on a flight chartered by Southwest Airlines and visited the Military Women’s Memorial, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery, the Lincoln Memorial, the World War II Memorial, the Korean War Veterans Memorial and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

Read more here.

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