The Kenwood Press
News: 03/01/2018

Glen Ellyn comes to aid of Glen Ellen

Alec Peters

Members of the Glen Ellyn, Illinois, community hold up a big check before they send it off to Glen Ellen, California. (L to R) Carol White, executive director of The Alliance of Downtown Glen Ellyn; Virginia Larsen and Barb Lemme, owners of Sign of the Whale Antiques; Rob Herbold, director of Glen Ellyn Cares.


Glen Ellyn.

No, that’s not a typo. That’s Glen Ellyn, Illinois, a suburb of 27,000 people about 25 miles from Chicago.

It’s slogan: Village of Volunteers. And volunteer they did when citizens and organizations of Glen Ellyn saw the devastating effects of the October fires on the similar sounding village named Glen Ellen.

Rob Herbold of Glen Ellyn Cares, a volunteer group, got involved when he heard a national news story about Glen Ellen volunteer firefighter Kristin Johnson, who had lost her home in the fire.

Herbold said it’s easy to become complacent when those living elsewhere hear about fires in California since they happen so often.

“Seeing the photos and images, this was not just acres of forest burning,” said Herbold, “This was homes and businesses and people’s lives.”

Inspired to help, Herbold, who runs a printing business, worked with village leaders to come up with a plan to raise funds.

They settled on raising money during the holiday by having a “Round Up Your Purchases for Glen Ellen, CA” campaign. Other entities chipped in – at the Glen Ellyn fire station’s Stories with Santa event, a bucket was put out that quickly amassed $350. The local wine store, Cabernet & Company, hosted wine tastings where proceeds went to Glen Ellyn Cares for Glen Ellen, CA.

In addition, other organizations got involved, like the library and school districts.

Alixe Lishette, owner of Cabernet & Company, began contacting people she knew in Sonoma Valley to find out what nonprofit the money they raised should go to.

Eventually Herbold got the name of the Rotary Club of Glen Ellen-Kenwood, and in February sent a check from Glen Ellyn Cares for $2,800 to be spent on fire relief efforts in Glen Ellen.

“Truly, the kindness of strangers,” said John LemMon, chairman of the Fire Relief Committee of the Rotary Club of Glen Ellen-Kenwood, and a Glen Ellen resident.

“The compassion of the people from a small suburb in Illinois fueled by incredible human spirit has created a very special bond of deep appreciation between our two towns. We are blessed to be the recipients of this incredible kindness and hope that it serves to remind all of us that compassion knows no borders.”

The club will soon be sending some fine wine to their new friends in Glen Ellyn. From Glen Ellen wineries, of course.