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Daily Journal
     April 14, 2020      #42-105 KDJ

A labor of love for late veteran 

By Tiffany Blanchette

Eric Peterson, founder of veteran nonprofit Project Headspace and Timing, hung 866 donated hearts on veteran residents’ windows at the Illinois Veterans Home in Manteno (above) over the Easter weekend.

Peterson wrote encouraging messages (at right) on dozens of the hearts. The inspiration came after learning his friend and resident Army veteran Bill Hicks had died after a six-month health battle. Wanting to do something in his memory, Peterson, a veteran himself, set out to show some love to the veteran residents and give Hicks a proper send-off.

Wearing the Army jacket Hicks “forcefully” gifted him, Peterson spent the better part of Saturday and Sunday afternoons carrying out his labor of love, planning to finish hanging hearts in the spot Hicks loved to sit in the sun.

“When our veterans look out of their windows during these times, they deserve to see inspiration and hope,” Peterson wrote in a post to the Project Headspace and Timing Facebook page. “And more importantly, they will see Bill sitting out in the sun.”

Peterson said the last time he saw Bill, whom he’d been visiting almost every weekend for a few years, he told him how excited he was to sit out in the sun with him and listen to the Cubs games again, which made him smile.

“I will miss Bill very much as he became family to me over the years,” Peterson said. “I appreciated every one of our conversations and moments we had, and will cherish them, along with the jacket, for the rest of my days.”

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