Heroes event pays tribute to giving back
By Diane Strand When does a man or woman decide, “It's not all about me.” Is it during childhood? Some never get there. Most of us know individuals who spend most of their lives serving and promoting themselves. There are also many of us who occasionally are giving, but are always anxious to get a pat on the back, a gold star on our homework, our name in the credits. A few people, however, seem unable to “be themselves” without working for others. It's how they express their personalities. It is who they are. Recently, five of those individuals were honored at the DeKalb County Tribute to Heroes. The program, offered in concert with the Three Fires Council Boy Scouts of America, is sponsored by the Daily Chronicle, The MidWeek and the Valley Free Press and was held at Kishwaukee College. About 150 people attended.
Don Bark Joanna Bark spoke of her husband Don, recently deceased, who represented the Fourth Ward in Sandwich for many years and was an active member of the Sandwich Historical Society and the Sandwich Fair Association. He served in the latter role for 28 years and managed vendor space for the still very popular fair. Bark was a retired Sandwich police officer, but Joanna tearfully said he so loved people “that I don't think he ever really gave anyone a ticket. He probably wanted to go where they were going.”
Sally Stevens Sally Stevens gave most of her adult life - 32 years - to secretarial and social event coordinating work in the NIU Office of the President, where she served a half-dozen university presidents. In retirement, she additionally has deeded to the university her financial resources including a massive gift for the new alumni building on Annie Glidden Road. In addition, she has 44 years of community service including: nine years on the YMCA board; 25 years on the Kishwaukee Symphony Orchestra board; past presidency of the DeKalb Drama Club; 10 years with the University Women's Club; and 10 years on the PEO/Chapter DX. In 1998, she received the Altrusa International Women of Distinction Award, in 2004, NIU Philanthropist of the Year, and in 2005, NIU's F. R. Geigle Award for Community/University Service. She now is editor of the Oak Crest Retirement Center resident newsletter.
Cliff Golden The position started as a temporary Scoutmaster spot - and it grew to consume 30 years of Cliff Golden's time and talents. As Scoutmaster of Boy Scout Troop 33 in DeKalb, Golden has worked with hundreds of boys throughout the years, guiding 44 young men to the lofty rank of Eagle Scout. The Hero Award nominating committee offered the following profile of Golden: “Outdoor adventures have taken Cliff and his scouts to 47 states and 14 foreign countries. In the past year, his group focused on Hurricane Katrina relief efforts. In December, April and June they traveled to Mississippi and Louisiana where they worked on relief projects, collected and delivered more than six tons of critically needed supplies, and raised thousands of dollars. Beyond scouting, Cliff is employed at Founders Memorial Library at NIU, has served on the board for Lutheran Campus Ministry and currently is president of the DeKalb Noon Lions Club.”
Chuck and Kathy Siebrasse This couple has constituted a “dynamic duo” in community service for 30 years and the only thing they can't do effectively is retire. One of their continuing contributions has been The MidWeek newspaper which they co-published (and wrote and edited and designed and sold ads for) for 19 years. Chuck is a U.S. Army veteran who served in Vietnam as a medic and received the Purple Heart, the Bronze Star Medal for Heroism and for Meritorious Achievement, and the Army Commendation Medal. After the service, Chuck became a firefighter/ paramedic for DeKalb. Now he is executive director of the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce and Kathy is wrapping up extensive work in publicity and leadership on the core committee for the city's Sesquicentennial celebration. Chuck is now a board member with Suicide Prevention Services, in Batavia, which is one example of how he transforms personal tragedies into assistance for others. Chuck has co-chaired the Corn Fest corn boil since 1985 and he received the Kishwaukee Community Hospital Heritage Award in 2003. Kathy was the 1990 Athena Award recipient, and in 2002, the Heritage Award Winner; she serves on the board of the Joseph Glidden Homestead and Historical Center, where she is president-elect for 2007. She has been president of the DeKalb Education Foundation for four years after being founding board secretary.. She is involved with TAILS and numerous other activities including Suicide Prevention. Currently she serves as District/Legislative Aide for the Sycamore office of State Sen. Brad Burzynski. She was nearly born into public service, n a boy scouting family-her grandfather, father and brother were all Eagle Scouts.