The Village of Forest Park has lost one its finest citizens with the death of Laureen Thornton. The strong-willed woman with a kind heart maintained an undying passion for Forest Park throughout her 50 years as a resident.

As commissioner, school board president and committed volunteer, in addition to the many other hats she wore, Thornton dedicated her life to improving Forest Park and certainly served the village well. Everyone who knew her said she spoke with a refreshing sense of candor, never hesitant to voice her opinion, no matter who she was talking to. All the while she remained a caring, compassionate individual who took the time to truly listen to what others had to say.

We hope that Thornton will serve as an inspiration for the slew of candidates currently gearing up for next spring’s local election campaign. Those new to politics – and those running for re-election – would do well to look to Thornton as a model. Though she can never be replaced, the commitment and resilience she showed while serving our village is something others should strive to replicate.

Our love, prayers and condolences go out to all her friends and family members. She will indeed be greatly missed.

Holiday Walk worth the expense

Friday night’s Holiday Walk showed Forest Park at its best. With enchanting live window scenes and characters parading down Madison Street, it was exactly the kind of quirky, endearing experience that highlights our “small-town charm.”

The Forest Park Chamber of Commerce and Development, however, didn’t make any money from the festivities. In fact, with fewer sponsors this year compared to the past, the organization actually lost money.

Even so, the group’s efforts are worthwhile. Any newcomer who wandered into town that evening was sure to be taken by the spirit of Forest Park – a unique and whimsical quality they would be hard-pressed to find in other cities.

The overall benefits from hosting this kind of party cannot exactly be calculated by the event’s price tag. Many attendees may have noticed some of the shops and restaurants and plan future visits. Though it’s not guaranteed, it’s a risk that’s worth taking.

A big thanks to all those who participated and were involved in making sure this odd and lovable tradition continues, no matter how depressed the economy might be.