Crowd Supports the Troops at Rally in Hoffman Estates
Daday, Eileen O., Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Byline: Eileen O. Daday Daily Herald Correspondent
One mother's desire to show support for her son and the rest of the troops serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom drew an emotional response from the community Sunday.
Maria Charo of Hoffman Estates was described as the "catalyst" behind a troop rally held at the Veterans Memorial in Hoffman Estates. Her son, Jonathan Charo, is a communications specialist with the Army, serving overseas.
"From the bottom of my heart, from a mother who has a son fighting for the freedom we enjoy, thank you," Charo told the crowd. "If he was here today he would be so proud to see everyone coming together in this manner."
The one-hour tribute drew nearly 200 people, including family members of active military and local veterans.
"Even though there's no more open combat, people are still putting their lives on the line," said Bob Lobell, of Schaumburg, a Marine veteran. "It's important we show our support."
Schaumburg native Ilene Harkins took in the ceremony with her 5- month-old twins in a double stroller. Her husband, Naval Petty Officer Third Class Chad Harkins, is serving aboard the USS Stout, performing exercises before they head to the Middle East this summer.
"It really means a lot to see this many people here," said Harkins, who lives in Norfolk, Va. …