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Horror gives way to desire to help out
By Dale Steinke and Anne Schmitt | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 8/4/2009 5:03 PM | Updated: 8/4/2009 9:54 PM

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Originally published Jan. 12, 1993

The initial horror over the murder of seven people at a Palatine restaurant has given way to a determination by local businesses and residents to help the victims' families.

The "Palatine Cares Memorial Fund" has been established at the Suburban National Bank of Palatine to help pay funeral expenses of the victims. Friends and neighbors of the Ehlenfeldt family have established two funds - one in memory of the Arlington Heights couple that owned the Brown's Chicken & Pasta restaurant and another for their three children.

And four Palatine service groups also have joined to help the families of the victims by sponsoring "The Heart of Palatine" dinner, dance and silent auction Feb. 19.

The "Ehlenfeldt Children's Fund," at the NBD Bank in Arlington Heights will help the three adult daughters of the restaurant owners.

And, Glueckert Funeral Home in Arlington Heights is collecting money in lieu of flowers for the "Lynn and Richard Ehlenfeldt Memorial Fund." The money will be donated to the Kingston Methodist Church in Wheeling.

"All of us who knew and loved Lynn and Dick Ehlenfeldt would like to express our deepest love and sympathies for the Ehlenfeldt children, Jenny, Dana and Joy," said Melody Smith, spokeswoman for a group of northern Arlington Heights neighbors who have organized the fund

The "Palatine Cares" fund was started after similar offers of sympathy began pouring into the village, said Village President Rita Mullins.

"We've had many calls from the business community, from families, saying, 'What can we do?'" said Mullins, who met with bank officials and Frank Portillo, owner of Brown's Chicken & Pasta Inc., to set up the fund. "Initially we want to make sure all funeral expenses are covered and after that, we will see what happens."

Mullins suggested that any leftover funds could be used for scholarships or some other type of memorial. "The Heart of Palatine Fund" also is looking to meet longer-range needs of the families The $50 per person event is sponsored by the Palatine Lions, Jaycees, Rotary and Kiwanis

"We are going to keep this going with our clubs and show how Palatine pulls together in a crisis," said Mary Baker Morris, president of the Rotary Club, at a joint meeting held by the four groups Monday night.

Earlier in the day at the Suburban Bank, residents trickled in with donations. Rosemary Monsen, of Palatine, said she thought it was her responsibility to give. "I just felt that as a citizen of this town, to help those that are less fortunate than I," she said

Barbara Heidemann, of Palatine, became misty-eyed when she explained why she dropped off a check for $30, even though she was not a close friend or relative of the victims. "I care about the people who have to live through the murder, the survivors," Heidemann said "I'm just really very upset about it."