Thornton Township celebrated its 13th Annual Hispanic Heritage Month with native music, food and speakers talking about the importance of fostering and educating people about the Latino culture. Entertainers included the Thornton Township Mexican Folklore Dancers, Magician Ken Mate, and the Holy Cross Immaculate Heart of Mary Marimba Ensemble.
“We have to celebrate the many cultures we have in this country. We have to
appreciate the variety of cultures that make our community great. Thornton
Township strives to give our residents a variety of fun and educational programs
throughout the year,” said Frank M. Zuccarelli, Thornton Township supervisor.
The event took place at the township, 333 E. 162nd St. in South Holland. The honoree was Dr. Richard Rucoba. A World War II veteran in the Marine Corp., he treated the wounded and cared for sick Marines. After the war, Dr. Rucoba studied and graduated from Illinois College of Optometry. But understanding that life is more than just your career, he always believed in volunteering his time. He tutored high school students in math, English and other classes and joined the Lions Club which focuses on helping the visually and hearing impaired. He has been a Lions member for 55 years, where he went on various Eye Glass Missions to Mexico to examine the poor and prescribe glasses without charge. During one of his 15 Eye Glass mission trips, he drove an hour north of Mexico City and examined 6,280 people in one week.
“Richard gives you so much inspiration and good advice about making sure you live a worthwhile and involved life. He is an example to all of us,” said Oscar Canales, who helped coordinate the event.
In addition, because Rucoba believes in staying in shape, he turned his passion of running into the art of dominating the Senior Olympics. He has a wall full of medals and that includes the national games this year where he competed in four events bringing home three gold medals and one silver. He is an incredible man with an incredible story.
“I was amazed at the number of people who wanted to bring about peace and innovation and start to know each other,” said Joyce Washington, Thornton Township trustee.