I currently write a column each Tuesday for the DeKalb
Daily Chronicle. The column will also appear on this website
each week and be added to the archives.
The Articles started December 2007.
If you've missed any please follow the links on the dates
to catch up.
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Helping yields big reward from Oprah
By Barry Schrader.................................December
Last week I wrote about four local women Sarah Vander
Bleek, a cardiac nurse, her childhood friend Sarah Lindell of
Sycamore, Patti Pearson, who works at Jefferson Elementary School
in DeKalb, and her daughter Sarah who all got tickets
to a taping of the Oprah Winfrey Show and were surprised to be
part of Oprahs annual ultimate gifts extravaganza.
Just after that column was published, I received
an e-mail from Jenny Butkus of Sycamore, revealing two more women
who were just as lucky. It seems that the other show taped the
same day featured Everyday Heroes, and Keri Nelson
of Sycamore had been nominated by her friend, Lynn Boughton from
Waterman, for that show.
Lynn wrote about Keris
volunteer work with Habitat for Humanity, when she was group
leader for a team going to
Oprah Show attendees Keri Nelson of Sycamore (right) and Lynn
Boughton of Waterman. (Provided photo)
Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina and she went eight times.
Lynn herself joined Keris group and has made four trips
to help rebuild Habitat houses that were hit by the storm.
So both Keri and Lynn earned tickets to the show
and went to Chicago on Nov. 16 for the taping and found themselves
on Oprahs big gift giving traditional show.
That program aired Nov. 19 and has been repeated this month as
Keri, who works for the American Cancer
Society, as of January will become the statewide volunteer training
coordinator for the Relay for Life effort of the ACS Illinois
Division. Lynn sells agricultural insurance for Archers, Daniels
and Midland. They drove to the Harpo Studios in Chicago early
in the morning for the first shows taping and found themselves
among mostly everyday heroes who had been handpicked
for this particular program. The speculation was running high
that this was the ultimate gifts show and it turned
out to be true. And as a bonus they got to see the Black Eyed
Their gifts were mostly different
from the other show taped that day and included such items as
a 52-inch 3-D television with Blu-ray player, a five-year subscription
to Netflix movie rentals, a diamond watch and earrings, a Nikon
camera, four pairs of Nikes, cashmere sweaters and blanket, and
even a customized closet to be built to fit their homes. The
list goes on and on, and again added up to nearly $30,000 for
each audience member. They were also thrilled to hear that the
studio will pay the gift taxes on all their winnings. Oh, and
I cant forget to mention the top prize a seven-day
I have long been an admirer
of Oprah, who is one of the most generous and giving people in
the world, Keri said. She has been able to accomplish
so much in her life. It is very humbling to be honored by her.
On another subject, I am likewise humbled by the
response to my book Hybrid Corn & Purebred People.
You have honored me by purchasing so many copies; there are less
than 50 remaining for sale at the stores as of the day before
Christmas. Thanks to all and have a Happy New Year.
The columnist can be reached via email at :
or by snailmail at:
PO Box 851
DeKalb, Ill 60115