Military Families Speak Out on Holidays Without Loved Ones

Washington, D.C.–(ENEWSPF)–As we celebrate the holiday season, many are focusing their thoughts and attention on those who cannot be with family members because of service in Iraq.

Military Families Speak Out (MFSO), a national organization of over 3,100 families opposed to the war in Iraq who have relatives or loved ones in the military, has members across the country who are suffering this holiday season with pain, tears and fear rather than holiday cheer.

"I miss Bob every day but the holidays are an especially sad time," said Debbie Whitfield of Pittsburgh, PA whose son-in-law was killed in Iraq in 2005. "Last year as I decorated my house, so many things reminded me ofBob. I hang a stocking for everyone. I took his out and just held it,wondering what to do with it. I don't want my granddaughter to forget her Daddy, but I have to keep reinforcing that he can't come home. Three Christmases ago Bob spent the holidays with us, two Christmases ago we senthim gifts to Iraq and last Christmas we laid a wreath on his grave. I praythat this is over soon so that families will be spared the grief that we live with."

"We have only one child. This year he is in Iraq," said Tim and Laura Kahlor of Temecula, CA, whose son is currently serving his second extended deployment to Iraq with the Army's 1st Armored Division. "We will not decorate, it's too sad, all the memories of unpacking decorations are associated with our son. When Ryan was in Iraq in 2003, he told us to decorate like he was at home. This year he says it will be just another day in Iraq. We wanted to send him a small tree and a Santa hat, but he said he didn't want anything. When you are surrounded by death and trying to survive why would anyone care about celebrating anything?"

"This is probably going to be one of the hardest holidays. It is the baby's first Christmas and my husband won't be here to share it," said Haeley of the Hudson Valley area, NY whose husband is serving in Iraq with the National Guard, under a stop-loss order. "I sometimes want to throw away the ornament that I have for the tree proclaiming this year as our first Christmas together because it's a lie. I want him home so he doesn't have to miss out on anything more with his son."

From their website: Military Families Speak Out is calling on Congress to end funding for the war in Iraq, save what is needed to bring our troops home quickly and safely. Funding the war is not supporting our troops. The way to support our troops is to bring them home now and take care of them when they get here.

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Bigelow Building Quite a Legacy

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Legacy Square At the December 4, 2006 Village board meeting, Jamie Bigelow, President of Bigelow Homes made a presentation giving an update on Legacy Square, Park Forest's newest development being built in the Downtown area.

Mr. Bigelow began with a summary of the work that went into the construction of the models now open on Main Street, “In our original presentation, we said we would have at least three models and one decorated model.  We delivered 6 models, and we delivered 4 decorated models.  We spent a lot of time and energy decorating these models."  Making reference to the former efforts made on the same area, Bigelow reported, "As everyone knows, we were dealing with an uphill battle.  This was a failed project from another developer.  So, we had to get rid of that stigma that was attached to it.  We had [the models] designed by one of the best interior designers in the Midwest, out of Detroit."

Mr. Bigelow acknowledged that there were some residents who did not feel the plan would succeed, “Some of the challenges we faced, there were a lot of naysayers in the general public who thought the project would not succeed.  So we felt it was important to get off to a good start.  We spent over $100,000 on decorating that overcame the stigma of a failed project.  When people walked in they wanted to see that you had your stuff together, that you were professional, that you were presenting a good model.  We did not anticipate having to do that many models, but we felt it was money well spent for us”

Mr. Bigelow continued his presentation with kind words for Park Forest, “We came here to a great village and we wanted to enhance the Village of Park Forest.”  He referenced the work Bigelow Homes has done marketing the development, “We delivered a very aggressive public relations campaign.  Writers like to write about us because we are innovative and we bring innovative solutions and have a reputation for good, quality work. 

"And people are talking about Park Forest.”

Child's room “There was so much good stuff that had been done years ago by some of the residents and some of the public officials in setting up the Downtown.  But we did have to reverse this stigma.  So we worked very hard with our PR to get this story out.”

With respect to houses sold, “We have 21 sales.  We feel the buyers we have now are very solid people, and they want to close on their home in Park Forest.  In our original presentation, we thought we could sell 20 homes by March 31, 2007.  We sold 21 homes by October 31st of this year, 5 months ahead of the deadline.”  With respect to where the new residents are moving from, he said, "There are some people coming out of Chicago."  He also mentioned that some former Park Foresters may be moving back because of the Legacy Square project.  He said one person told him, “'I’ve moved away from Park Forest, I always liked Park Forest.  And this gives me some good, solid housing to come back to Park Forest.'  Some of them bought."

During a tour of the Legacy Square models Sunday, Mr. Steve Augustus, who is buying The Frontier model with the added guest suite, said his house "will be around $220,000 with the extra unit which I can rent out.  That will help pay my taxes."  Asked what sold him on the home, he responded, "The thing that drew me to these guys was it is a great location for where I work, and it's an energy efficient design, which I like."

P1010065Potential new resident Phyllis Jones (left) is seated in a living room of one of the models with Phylicia Jones, Akissa Freund, baby Aniyah, and Joshua Freund.

More pictures of the models on Main St. follow below.

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Park Forest Health Department News

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Park Forest, IL–(ENEWSPF)– The Park Forest Health Department itself is news to many people. Established in 1952, this community health nursing service provides both clinic and in home services. With one phone call and for no fee, you can receive an answer to your health related question from a professional registered nurse. You will be treated with courtesy and consideration. If the nurses at the Health Department cannot provide the care you need, they will make sure that you receive a referral for care from another agency.

Nurses Plus and the Park Forest Health Department is your headquarters for Flu Shots and Immunizations, Medicare Certified Home Care, Village Nurse Services, Bath Services, Health Consultations, and the 10 Ton Challenge. Located in the lower level of Village Hall, the new facilities are accessible by stairs or elevator.

NURSES PLUS
Nurses Plus Home Healthcare is launching the “I Choose” program for seniors living in Park Forest. Staff members from the Health Department visit members if they are hospitalized to make sure that all post hospital arrangements for recovery are made. The nurses especially work with family members-at-a-distance to reassure them that Mom or Dad are doing as well as can be. This is a benefit to Park Foresters only.

ADULT IMMUNIZATION
Call the Health Department 748-1118 for an appointment for a flu shot or drop in the lower level at Village Hall, 350 Victory Drive—if a nurse is in the office; we can give you your immunization. This is free to Medicare part B recipients, $25 for all others. Protect yourself.

Immunization for shingles is now available. The cost-per-dose is around $150.00 but will be a good investment for people over 60 since nearly half of that group may contract shingles in their lifetime. This immunization will not be covered initially by Medicare. Protect yourself.

The Park Forest Health Department  provides many other low cost vaccines for adults.

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