This Illinois WWII vet has been helping roadside flowers bloom for over 35 years

Illinois

MASCOUTAH, Ill. – Every spring the daffodils bloom along a half-mile stretch of Illinois Route 4 near Mascoutah. The half-mile-long flower patch is no accident. They were planted by 95-year-old Joseph Cunningham over the last 35-years. The Illinois Department of Transportation says that he shows no signs of slowing down.

Cunningham wrote a letter to the department to ask when the area would be mowed. He wants to meet the workers and help them with his battery-powered edge trimmer. He is excited to showcase his flower patch this spring.

Region 5 Engineer Keith Roberts met Cunningham before they started to mow this year.

“He’s just an unbelievable man,” said Roberts. “After reading his letter, I just knew I had to meet him. I have not actually seen his plantings while in bloom, but I will definitely be out there next spring to enjoy the fruits of all his labor. I plan to invite him to join me, so we can continue our conversation. He is a very interesting individual. I greatly respect him for all he has done.”

Cunningham is a retired school teacher and a World War II Navy veteran. He has been transplanting the daffodil bulbs from Carmi. Many people have moved out of the town and he has been transplanting the abandoned flowers ever since.

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