Good News Sunday: Women veterans recognized for their service on first all-female honor flight

Good News Sunday: Women veterans recognized for their service on first all-female honor flight

  • Edwina "Eddy" Mroz of Glenview was among 93 female veterans who took part in Illinois' first-all women honor flight. Here, she is pictured at the Vietnam Women's Memorial in Washington, D.C. She served in the Coast Guard Reserve for 30 years.

    Edwina "Eddy" Mroz of Glenview was among 93 female veterans who took part in Illinois' first-all women honor flight. Here, she is pictured at the Vietnam Women's Memorial in Washington, D.C. She served in the Coast Guard Reserve for 30 years. Courtesy of Edwina Mroz

 
 
Posted10/17/2021 7:30 AM

This is Good News Sunday, a compilation of some of the more upbeat and inspiring stories published recently by the Daily Herald:

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 recent trip 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 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.

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"I was totally blown away by the entire day. How much care they took," Haile said. "It was all about us."

For the full story, click here.

How League of Women Voters brings new voters to the table

Patricia Hayes Lackman and the League of Women Voters of Central Kane County hold a rally in Batavia to register voters.
Patricia Hayes Lackman and the League of Women Voters of Central Kane County hold a rally in Batavia to register voters. - Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

Pandemic restrictions have made it more difficult for the League of Women Voters of Central Kane County to set up voter registration tables in area high schools. So on National Voter Registration Day, Sept. 28, the league set up at an outdoor location at Wilson and Shumway streets in Batavia.

"Normally, we emphasize being in a high school or community college on that day, but with COVID, we cannot get in," said league volunteer Patti Lackman of Batavia. "We worked with the civics teachers at Batavia High School, and they sent their kids to us, mostly after school, so we had a pretty good showing."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The league can generally expect to sign up more than 100 high school students when visiting a school, but the key spot in Batavia's downtown was attracting all citizens, not just students.

"We had a lot of traffic and were pleased with the numbers and the questions we had from people," Lackman said. "Mostly, people were asking who we were and what we were doing."

The league doesn't offer advice on whom to vote for -- members want voters registered, and what happens in the ballot box on Election Day is up to those voters. High school-aged students are good targets for voter registration as they near their initial involvement in local, state and federal elections.

"I worry a little bit about apathy because things are so overwhelming for people now," Lackman said. "But I will say that we got a lot of positive comments from people when we were working at Wilson Street in the afternoon."

For the full story, click here.

Libertyville veteran gets highest French medal at age 99

As one of the first soldiers to roll into Germany after Allied Forces drove out the Germans near the end of World War II, Leonard J. Brzostowski, 99, of Libertyville receives the Legion of Honor, France's highest award, from Consul General Yannick Tagand during a ceremony at the Consulate General of France in Chicago.
As one of the first soldiers to roll into Germany after Allied Forces drove out the Germans near the end of World War II, Leonard J. Brzostowski, 99, of Libertyville receives the Legion of Honor, France's highest award, from Consul General Yannick Tagand during a ceremony at the Consulate General of France in Chicago. - Courtesy of Consulate General of France in Chicago

After months of close-range firefights against Nazi soldiers that began when his 38th Cavalry platoon landed on Omaha Beach in the days after D-Day, a conquering 22-year-old Leonard J. Brzostowski rolled through the streets of Paris as one of the first Allied soldiers to arrive after the Germans retreated.

On his 99th birthday, the Libertyville man and former U.S. Army sergeant received the French Legion of Honor, France's highest distinction, from Consul General Yannick Tagand in a ceremony Thursday at the Consulate General of France in Chicago.

As one of the first soldiers to roll into Germany after Allied Forces drove out the Germans near the end of World War II, Leonard J. Brzostowski, 99, of Libertyville receives the Legion of Honor, France's highest award, from Consul General Yannick Tagand during a ceremony at the Consulate General of France in Chicago.
As one of the first soldiers to roll into Germany after Allied Forces drove out the Germans near the end of World War II, Leonard J. Brzostowski, 99, of Libertyville receives the Legion of Honor, France's highest award, from Consul General Yannick Tagand during a ceremony at the Consulate General of France in Chicago. - Courtesy of Consulate General of France in Chicago

The memories of being the first to arrive at the Notre Dame Cathedral to an adoring throng, driving his six-wheeled armored vehicle down the Avenue des Champs-Élysées, and setting up camp near the Arc de Triomphe bring back the emotions of that day.

"People were crying. I actually cried myself," Brzostowski says. "How we got picked for that, I don't know."

From June 1944 until Oct. 25, 1945, Brzostowski participated in five military campaigns throughout Europe, seeing the heaviest combat in the Ardennes region, starting in France and advancing into Germany.

He holds back tears when he talks about meeting the starving occupants liberated from the Buchenwald concentration camp. "We gave them food, cigarettes and candy bars. We gave them everything we could," Brzostowski says. "They were skin and bones."

Brzostowski's daughter, Nancy Garcia, was instrumental in leading the effort to have the French government honor her father.

For the full story, click here.

• Good News Sunday will run each weekend. Please visit dailyherald.com/newsletters to sign up for our Good News Sunday newsletter.

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