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home : news : north central illinois   February 26, 2015

8/30/2013 4:05:00 PM
'John the Barber' fundraiser honors Cherry philanthropist


NewsTribune Photo/Katlyn Rumbold John the Barber Foundation organizer Jack Rooney (from left), chairman Alice Ring, and volunteer Jennifer Ring show off some of the baked goods that were available for purchase during the John the Barber Foundation benefit Thursday.
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NewsTribune Photo/Katlyn Rumbold
John the Barber Foundation organizer Jack Rooney (from left), chairman Alice Ring, and volunteer Jennifer Ring show off some of the baked goods that were available for purchase during the John the Barber Foundation benefit Thursday.
Katlyn Rumbold
Princeton Bureau Chief



CHERRY — It’s called the magic of a small town: Forgiving the unforgivable, going out on a limb to help someone in need; and last, but not least, offering friendship to those who need a listening ear.

“John the Barber” did just that, and by doing so, left a lasting impression on the village of Cherry that won’t quickly be forgotten.

“John the Barber,” also known as John Stenstrom, was the town’s only barber and the minister of the Congregational church. He also outfitted a gymnasium in the basement of the church so children could have a place to go when not in school.

“Stenstrom was an unusual character. He was entrepreneurial, very open minded, and highly involved in the church. He bought the entire block where the churches are at right now on the south end of town, and the first thing he did was donate some of the lots to the Congregational church,” said Jack Rooney, organizer of John the Barber Foundation.

Rooney explained that at the time of the mine disaster Stenstrom fed and took care of all the orphans. From then on he became known as “John the Barber,” the man with the most generous heart.

To keep his giving spirit alive, Rooney with the help of Alice Ring, chairman of John the Barber Foundation organized Thursday’s benefit at Brunos Bar & Grill to help raise funds to give back to the townspeople.

“This is our first big money-maker we’ve done for John the Barber Foundation. This summer we did a bocce ball tournament and we’ll probably do something for Halloween. We also do a pie/coffee social once a month for the seniors. All the funds raised will go towards these events,” Ring said.

She also said that the funds will go towards a story hour at the library to get more kids excited to learn new things. Ring said this event will take place monthly and attendees will be able to make a craft and have a snack in addition to the story hour.

Both Ring and Rooney are excited to see how a little bit of kindness, inspired by “John the Barber” years ago will do for their small, mining town.










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