It was a phone call Barry Schrader wasn't expecting.
"It was a total surprise when Ging Smith called me," Schrader said with a laugh. "I thought only old-timers who lived here all their lives were considered for this."
Schrader, a longtime DeKalb resident, is one of five local people who are being honored at the 11th annual DeKalb County Tribute to Heroes sponsored by the Boy Scouts of America Three Fires Council. The celebration will begin at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 3 at Kishwaukee College.
Other honorees are Evelina Cichy, Denise Curran, Michael Flora and Dave Lindgren.
According to Three Fires Council District Executive Zack Knoch, a 14-person committee selects the honorees from a list of nominated candidates who "have given unselfishly of themselves to the community."
Each honoree will be presented with a plaque and an American flag that has been driven to the four corners of the county.
For 36 years, Cichy served Kishwaukee College as an administrator in a variety of initiatives, including two successful referendum campaigns. She retired June 30.
Cichy was instrumental in developing many Asian-American programs at the college. She has served on the boards of the DeKalb County Community Foundation, Community Coordinated Child Care, the Economic Development Commission for the City of DeKalb, Hope Haven and Main Street DeKalb.
Cichy currently serves on state Rep. Robert Pritchard's education advisory committee and is a member of Altrusa International of DeKalb/Sycamore.
Curran taught English at Hinckley High School for 18 years. She was a consultant for the Illinois State Board of Education for a year, and a guidance counselor at Clinton Rosette Middle School for 15 years.
In addition to her many community activities, such as pie chairman for the Sandwich Fair Board, Curran volunteers with her church and has volunteered for several years with Suicide Prevention Services. She was also on the Sandwich Library Referendum Committee.
Curran is a lector and Eucharistic minister at St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church, sits on the board of directors for KishHealth Hospice, serves as homeless liaison and truancy officer for the county, and is a student credit recovery instructor, helping struggling students to fulfill graduation requirements.
The president and CEO of the Ben Gordon Center, Flora has 25 years of experience in clinical practice and behavioral health care administration. He also founded the DeKalb Leadership Academy, which instills confidence and leadership skills in people throughout the community.
He was also a founding board member of the Midwest Museum of Natural History and served as chairman of the Behavioral Health Committee for Huskies for Hope. He has also served on the Illinois Department of Human Services Advisory Committee, DeKalb Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, the DeKalb Barb Boosters, and the Sycamore Rotary Club.
Flora serves on state committees in human services, on the editorial board for Eli's Joint Commission Compliance Advisor on Behavioral Healthcare and is a member of the Joint Commission's Behavioral Healthcare Standards Committee.
Lindgren has served as the farm foreman at the University of Illinois Northern Illinois Agronomy Research Center for 30 years. Since 1991, he has served in numerous positions in local scouting, including as a committee chairman and scoutmaster for the Cub Scout pack and troop in Waterman. He is currently the district chairman, overseeing all scouting in DeKalb County.
Lindgren has been awarded the District Award of Merit, the Distinguished Commissioners Award and the Silver Beaver Award. He is also involved with the FFA.
Schrader spent more than 50 years in the newspaper industry, as a reporter, columnist, editor, publisher and owner.
Schrader is also a former Boy Scout who earned the Order of the Arrow in scouting. He has supported scouting activities both in DeKalb County and in San Francisco, where he lived for a number of years.
He is active in DeKalb County Citizens for Better Mental Health Care and has organized a Wally Thurow Fan Club, raising more than $6,000 to publish a book on the life of Sycamore's Mr. Pumpkin and the Sycamore Pumpkin Festival.
Recently, Schrader organized a group to revive the formerly defunct Ney Grange in Genoa.