CRRNH_KimHughes01_020123

She kept her promise

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By Joan Hadac

Your correspondent in Clearing and Garfield Ridge

(708) 496-0265 • joan.hadac@gmail.com

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Never underestimate a woman’s love for her man.

Gary and Kimberly Hughes met in 1996. They fell in love and were wed in 1998.

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Kimberly and Gary Hughes on their wedding day. –Supplied photo

They bought a home near 61st and Natchez and were on their way to raising a family.

The Hughes were blessed with a son and daughter, Justin and Kaylee. They sent them to schools right here in the neighborhood.

Gary was a Chicago Police officer, as well as an Army Major who first volunteered to serve back in 1986.

All these years later, in 2023, Gary and Kimberly should be at the point where they’re thinking ahead to their retirement and perhaps grandchildren.

But it wasn’t to be. Gary died in February 2018 at age 50.

You see, Gary was serving our country in Iraq and Afghanistan; and when he came home, he was diagnosed with Stage IV liver and stomach cancers in October 2016.

As Gary and Kimberly searched for answers, they came to the conclusion that the cancer was caused by exposure to toxic fumes emanating from those notorious military burn pits.

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Gary Hughes served honorably in the U.S. Army. –Supplied photo

The military used pits to burn just about everything: chemicals, paint, medical waste, human feces, metal and aluminum products, electronic waste, munitions (including unexploded ordnance), petroleum products, lubricants, plastics, rubber, wood and food waste, according to an online description. A typical burn pit uses jet fuel as the accelerant. The burning of such material created clouds of black smoke that would deposit black dust everywhere.

But the military bureaucracy pushed back and denied that there was any connection between the burn pits and Gary’s death.

Amazing.

At this point, it would have been easy for Kimberly to wave the white flag and try to get on with her life as a widow.

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Kimberly Hughes brought the fight to Washington, D.C. and won. –Supplied photo

But the military underestimated this Garfield Ridge girl and her love for Gary.

She pushed back, again and again. And she won, as did others in her situation.

Find out how by reading “The Promise: The Stories of Four Burn Pit Survivor Families Who Found Friendship in Their Fight to Win the Largest Veteran Medical Bill in American History.”

It’s a fascinating and true story. The book’s paperback version debuted yesterday. It’s available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, IndieBound and other book sellers.

And in the end, Kimberly whispered this prayer at Gary’s grave: “I kept my promise to you, and I fought this. I miss holding your hand.”CRRNH KImHughesAtGrave 020123

Never underestimate a woman’s love for her man.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mark your calendar

  • The next Super Bingo for Two Holy Martyrs Parish is set for Sunday, Feb. 5 at the St. Rene Goupil campus, 6340 S. New England. Doors open at 12:30 p.m., and games begin at 1:30. Admission is $20 at the door. No charge for coffee, and other refreshments will be available for purchase. For more information, call (773) 767-1523. Thanks to Irene Perconti for sharing this information.
  • The Midway Chamber of Commerce will hold its next monthly meeting at noon Tuesday, Feb. 7 at Ward Hall, 5157 S. McVicker. All local business owners, not just MCC members, are welcome to attend. That includes home-based businesses, and we have plenty of those in Clearing and Garfield Ridge.
  • If you live in the central or western part of Clearing (everything west of Central Avenue) and you want to help prevent crime, you’re welcome to attend the next CAPS Beat 812 meeting, set for 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 8 at the Clearing Branch Library, 6423 W. 63rd Place. Hear the latest about crime in the neighborhood and speak directly with police officers and others dedicated to making the area safer.
  • If you like to have a good laugh, mark your calendar for Friday, Feb. 10. The Midway Chamber is hosting its Valentine’s Comedy Jam at European Chalet, 5445 S. Harlem. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. and is set to run three hours, with some great stand-up comics and a cash bar.

Tickets are $35 in advance, $40 at the door (but this may sell out in ahead of time). VIP tables of 10 are available for $300. For details, visit midwaychamber.org.

  • There are always a number of good reasons to visit the local Chicago Public Library branch, including the art on display. At the Garfield Ridge Branch, you may want to check out a couple of drawings by John Grigalunas that are on the board this month. John is a big fan of professional wrestling, and you’ll see that when you look at his drawing.

Have a great week.

2 Comments

  1. Judy Ollry on January 27, 2023 at 10:53 pm

    Chamber of Commerce comedy show is at European Chalet, not Magoo’s



  2. Denise Dantonio on February 1, 2023 at 5:54 pm

    God bless you young lady



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