by Ernst Lamothe Jr.
SOUTH HOLLAND, Ill. (September 23, 2017) – Thornton Township celebrated its 13th Hispanic Heritage Month with native music, food, and speeches about the importance of Latino culture. Entertainment 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,” said Frank M. Zuccarelli, Thornton Township Supervisor. “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.”
Thornton Township officials explain that National Hispanic Heritage Month is September 15–October 15 each year. This timeframe includes anniversaries of independence for five Hispanic countries—Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico’s Independence Day is September 16, Chile’s Independence Day is September 18, and October 12 is El Dia de la Raza or “The Day of the Race,” a day celebrating the many nationalities present in the history of Mexico, Central America, and South America.
Thornton Township’s Human Relations Commission is intentional about bringing diverse programs and activities to residents.
The Hispanic Heritage celebration, held at the Thornton Township Center in South Holland, included a special recognition ceremony for Lansing resident Dr. Richard Rucoba. A World War II Marine Corps veteran, Rucoba treated the wounded and cared for sick Marines.
After the war, Rucoba graduated from Illinois College of Optometry, and he opened an optometry practice in Munster, Indiana. He retired in 1996. Thornton Township recognized him for his lifetime of career and volunteer service. Rucoba tutored high school students, and he has been a member of the Lansing Lions Club for more than 50 years.
“Richard gives you so much inspiration and good advice about making sure you live a worthwhile and involved life,” said event coordinator Oscar Canales. “He is an example to all of us.”
“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, about the event.
The celebration took place at the Thornton Township Center, 333 E. 162nd St. in South Holland.