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U.S. Navy veteran Herschel Luckinbill chairman Moving Wall Committee is be honored Monday evening with an Illinois House Representatives Resolution.

U.S. Navy veteran Herschel Luckinbill, chairman of the Moving Wall Committee, is to be honored Monday evening with an Illinois House of Representatives Resolution. | File~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: January 10, 2014 6:26AM

Holiday Food Drive nearing goal

The numbers are in, and they are looking good.

So far, $31,249 has been raised through the Holiday Food Drive’s Matching Pallet program. And the three guardian angels who stepped forward to meet that dollar amount are extending the deadline until Christmas in order to make their promise — to match any amount up to $35,000 — a reality.

The goal is to raise $50,000 in that time, “and I really think we can do it,” said Brian Dolan, who is the driving force behind the Holiday Food Drive, now in its sixth year.

On Wednesday, a group of volunteers that also included church and school groups, gathered at the Aurora Area Interfaith Food Pantry’s new warehouse on Jericho Road, where they sorted, packaged and boxed food for hours.

What makes this year so special is that instead of having to move the food to different locations, they can leave it right at this huge new pantry facility.

While the food drive — which partners with Cermak Fresh Market and Prisco’s Fine Foods — didn’t have Jewel Food Stores as a partner this year because of a corporate change, Dolan said Woodman’s placed a phone call to Aurora Interfaith Food Pantry Director Marilyn Weisner recently and told her that this North Aurora megastore was donating food from its drive this year to the local pantry. And Dolan is confident Jewel will get back on board again next year.

Recognizing special patriot

This evening at the Montgomery Village Board meeting, resident and super patriot Herschel “Lucky” Luckinbill it to be presented with an Illinois House of Representatives Resolution for his efforts in bringing the Moving Wall to Aurora last month.

Up to 200,000 visitors viewed the Wall, and more than 1,800 volunteers signed up to help when it was on display at West Aurora High School Nov. 7-11.

HR 0711 is a “suitable number” for a bill honoring Luckinbill, points out Montgomery Trustee Stan Bond, who also described Luckinbill as “the spark plug” responsible not just for bringing this Vietnam memorial here but also refurbishing the village’s 1890s cannon.

“We are very proud of Herschel,” he said of the man who lost bunkmates on the first ship hit by enemy gunfire during the Vietnam War.

A friend happened to spot the bill online and mentioned it to Luckinbill, so the surprise element is lost, Bond added. But there will be plenty of cheering going on at tonight’s meeting to make up for it. State Rep. Kay Hatcher will present the resolution that honors “Herschel Luckinbill for his service to our country and recognizes his continued work to recognize the service and sacrifices of Illinois veterans.”

No doubt there will be many of those dedicated members of the Moving Wall Committee also on hand to applaud their leader’s efforts. But all of us owe Luckinbill and his committee our heartfelt gratitude for this remarkable event. It brought a community together like I’ve never seen in all my years of working here.

From the tears I saw and the stories I heard, it healed a few longstanding wounds as well.

Holiday laughs at Theatre

Tired of heartwarming holiday entertainment?

If so, I suggest you check out “Second City’s Nut-Cracking Holiday Revue” now playing through Dec. 22 at the normally staid Copley Theatre in downtown Aurora.

There’s no silver bells or chestnuts roasting on an open fire during this improv show, which is not afraid to take on the season’s sacred cows, including Kwanzaa, cultural customs and the Holy Family itself. It may be, as one Paramount Theatre official told me, “decidedly urban, quasi-racy and R-rated.”

But “Nut-Cracking” was darn funny, with a fast-paced tempo and lots of audience participation. And I found myself laughing out loud (which I rarely do, except when watching “Dumb and Dumber” reruns.)

It made for an awfully fun evening on a bitter cold December night.

I suggest you check it out. It will put a little more merry into your Christmas.

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