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Barry Schrader


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.


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Who would be your hero?

By Barry Schrader.................................September 15, 2009

Ask people who their hero is and the answer usually depends on their age bracket. In the “old days” children used to say Roy Rogers, Dale Evans or maybe even “my dad.” Now they may answer with the name of a fictitious action hero from the movies, or sometimes an older brother who is serving in Iraq or Afghanistan..
I wonder how many kids today would answer “those killed on 9/11,” a soldier they know who is serving overseas, a major league sports figure, American Airlines Capt. “Sully” Sullenberger, or even President Obama.
It was seven years ago when Ken Dubler and members of the Three Fires Council of Scouting decided to initiate a recognition event for local “heroes” in DeKalb County. Among the seven honorees that first year were two posthumous awards, for 1st Lt. Brian Slavenas from Genoa, a chopper pilot who was killed fighting in Iraq, and state Rep. David Wirsing, who happens to be my wife’s brother. So I heard early on about this program and have been fortunate to attend the ceremony each year since we moved back to DeKalb County from California.
Scouting has always held a warm spot in my heart, ever since the days when my buddy Dave Guse and I joined Boy Scouts under troop leaders Earl “Timmie” Frank, Sam Paterson and Phil Johnson in Genoa.We reminisce about the good times up at Camp Rotary MacQueen near Kirkland where we camped each summer, working in the mess hall for the camp’s cook “Ma” Anderson.

My photo shown here of dusty jugs found in the Alameda County Fair Early Americana building took a blue ribbon at the Sandwich Fair in the Still Life category.

The photo of the fallen corn dog found on the steps of the grandstands at the Alameda County Fair did not place in the Novelty category.

Dave went a lot farther than me up the ranks, all the way to Life Scout, but after moving to California as an adult I had a chance to become a District Chairman in the San Francisco Bay Area Council and was even inducted into the Order of the Arrow, a real honor, and I still possess my OA sash.
So I commend the local council for coming up with this unique way of recognizing adults who have spent their lives doing good deeds for others and often with no recognition or fanfare – until they are singled out in this Tribute to Heroes. Three Fires Council senior district executive Mary Beth Wilfong pointed out to me recently that the Boy Scout movement turns 100 next year so we can expect a surge in cubbing, scouting and venturing around the country.
This seventh annual countywide awards event coming up Oct. 1 at Kishwaukee College will highlight the lives and good deeds of four (actually five, as one honoree is a couple) local folks who have given a sizable part of their lives helping others.
A couple of teasers – one woman taught at the Love one-room school at Barber Greene and Sycamore roads; another was a Girl Scout and Campfire Girl before becoming a nurse. One man at age 11 showed his first steer at the Sandwich Fair and won the Grand Champion title. The couple have raised some 37 foster children over the years and the husband carries a badge and gun to work. Maybe you can already match them using the teasers above. Their last names are Larsen, Johnson, Scott and Stahl.
Each honoree will receive a special U.S. flag that has been flown at the four corners of DeKalb County and also over the courthouse. And I shouldn’t forget to mention that the appetizers and desserts will be catered by Nat’s on Maple.
Whether they be role models or real heroes, we can be thankful that the next generation will have someone to emulate.
By the way: Last column I mentioned entering some things in the Sandwich Fair. Well by golly, one photo captured a ribbon in the Still Life category so I will post it on my Web page for all who care to see. It will also be a part of the photography exhibition at Oak Fest Oct. 10.

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Barry Schrader
PO Box 851
DeKalb, Ill 60115