HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. — Residents of Highland Park are starting to venture back out and back to each other.
Marissa Rosenburg and her husband, a doctor who treated parade victims, brought their daughters to Uptown Highland Park for ice cream, strolling past reminders of what the community holds dear.
“I am so glad we’re out on this beautiful day taking the first step back into town,” Rosenburg said.
More than one week after the mass shooting, residents continue the lift one another up as loved ones laid families to rest.
Dina Lissner, of real estate agency Baird & Warner Highland Park, posted signs on her window. Her neighbors did the rest, taking a marker to paper to express what they adore about Highland Park.
“Seeing people pause all day and take a moment to write something has been terrific,” Lissner said.
Then there’s Norton, the city’s very own ‘Cheers.’
“I love the people of Highland Park,” said owner Richie Holleb, who was gotten to know more than just their names in 23 years – he befriends his regulars. Among the familiar patrons was Stephen Straus, who was shot and killed at the parade.
“He came here alone every Wednesday night, sat at the bar,” Holleb said. “He was a smart, kind, and easy-to-talk-to gentleman, I suppose, would be the best way to sum him up.”
Holleb said amidst the shooting, he thought about community.
“The minute this happened, one of my first thoughts was that everybody in this town is connected,” Holleb said.
Yet, so many share a connection to Norton’s. The bar owner says the sister of 8-year-old Cooper Roberts, paralyzed in the shooting, works as a server. To help support the Robert’s family, a previously planned concert on Saturday will now raise money for the Highland Park Community Foundation’s July 4th response fund. The Beatles cover band composed of doctors – Dr. Mark and the Sutures – will perform for a hometown crowd.
“We’re not going to be able to erase the pain. Maybe we can soften it a bit and get people together,” Dr. Mark Hill said. “Highland Park is our family.”