2024 Hometown Heroes Magazine

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2024 Hometown HEROES Magazine LINCOLN DAILY NEWS June/July 2024 Page 3 Hometown Heroes Introduction Table of Contents 04 06 Barry & Julie King 12 Vince Long 16 Moms Who Care 22 Armin E. Fricke 26 Jerry Neisler 34 Kim Peterson Quinn 38 Dave Duvall 40 Lincoln Police Officers 41 Val Wright 41 Timmy McDougall

Page 4 2024 Hometown HEROES Magazine LINCOLN DAILY NEWS June/July 2024 Hometown Heroes A tribute to ordinary people doing extraordinary things Lincoln Daily News is happy to bring to our readers the fifth annual edition of Hometown Heroes, a magazine dedicated to those “ordinary people doing extraordinary things.” Each year, as we prepare for this magazine, we have to limit ourselves to a specified number of people which can make it difficult because as we look around our county there are many, many people who fit our definition of a hometown hero. Some of them don’t feel they should be in such a category as “hero,” because they are humble, they don’t see themselves as special, or they are just not sure that they “qualify.” We love and respect that humility and want to assure each one that what they do, what they have done, makes a difference in our lives and we appreciate them for it. In this year’s edition we’re going to be featuring Barry and Julie King, Vince Long, Cindy Aussiker and Marla Williams, the late Armin E. Fricke, and retiring teachers Jerry Neiser and Kim Peterson Quinn. We also asked our readers to share their personal hero stories with us and those are included as well. As you read through this magazine, we believe you will find at least one or two people that you know. Maybe you will think about those people and what they have meant to you personally. If you do, remember to tell them just how special they are. We at LDN are grateful for those people who answer the calls and make our community better. All we can say is thank you and God bless our Hometown Heroes. The Staff and Stringers at Lincoln Daily News

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Page 6 2024 Hometown HEROES Magazine LINCOLN DAILY NEWS June/July 2024 By Angela Reiners Julie and Barry King have a heart for serving others both in the church and the community, blessing people with their dedication and caring. Julie King has played many roles, both in her 29 years at the Christian Village and on stage with the Lincoln Community Theater. At Christian Village, Julie King has had eight different positions over the past 29 years which include Resident Services Director, Director of Independent Living Services, Assistant Administrator, Community Liaison, Director of Admissions/Concierge, Social Services Director, Activity Supervisor and Activity Aide. King has a number of favorite memories from working with residents of the Christian Village. For instance, she loved singing for the residents, especially those who were passing. She also enjoyed organizing a Mother’s Day Tea. A fun memory King has is dressing up like Cupid in Long John’s, boxer shorts and wings plus carrying a bow and arrow. A wedding dress fashion show Julie organized is a special memory for her because she found her wedding dress there. Finally, King loved being able to reach into the mind of someone with Alzheimer’s and share a moment of clarity and presence with them. Barry and Julie King heroes who serve OTHERS above self

2024 Hometown HEROES Magazine LINCOLN DAILY NEWS June/July 2024 Page 7 Working with people with Alzheimer’s helped Julie King be alert to its signs. According to Paul Boatman, “Julie King was the first person ever to “diagnose” Dad’s Alzheimer’s. We suspected it, but back in the mid-90s medical personnel typically avoided diagnosis. The only firm diagnosis was an autopsy, which left caregivers in the position of not having access to appropriately focused assistance, but Julie, who interacted with Dad on the Christian Village Campus, where he had an apartment, merely observed that Russell Boatman acted the way that people in earlystage Alzheimer’s typically acted.” As Boatman said, “Her experienced observation enabled us to do further research and equip ourselves to deal with his progressive dementia. He never was medically diagnosed, but when 16 of 16 “markers” were identified, we knew Julie was right on target.” Additionally, Boatman said, “15 years later, as the science and knowledge of Alzheimer’s progressed and my insight was intensified as my late wife developed the disease, I sought affirmation from Alzheimer’s Association to start a support group for Alzheimer’s caregivers. Julie was the obvious choice for co-facilitating the group. She always served well, and the caregiving community knew her as a trusted partner in difficult times.” On Friday, May 17, the Christian Village held a retirement party in the Congregate building’s dining hall. The full room of people showed just how many lives she touched. In a prayer at Julie’s retirement party, former Christian Nursing Home Chaplain Ryan Edgecombe, who worked with her for many

Page 8 2024 Hometown HEROES Magazine LINCOLN DAILY NEWS June/July 2024 years, spoke of her impact. Edgecombe said residents became like family to Julie in her years of ministry at the Christian Village. He then said Julie put her whole self [into the work] and allowed people to see the love of Jesus. Carolyn Neal, who has known the Kings many years said, “Julie eased the transition of my mother’s move to The Christian Village a long time ago with her genuine hospitality and understanding of delicate dynamics. Julie was a critical component of the care group, but more importantly was the one person who could read troubled faces, feel burdened hearts, and stop in the middle of the hallway to put her arms around you and pray.” In reflecting on Julie’s retirement, Neal said, “I join Julie’s family, clients, and friends in praying for a marvelous, well-deserved ‘retirement.’ I know that Julie relates to the dragonfly with its ability to go in any direction as needed. She is a very beautiful Dragonfly Lady, so her retirement will simply continue her life’s great adventure.” The Neals and the Kings both attend Lincoln Christian Church, and Carolyn Neal has seen Julie’s heart for people there too. Neal spoke of Julie’s character saying, “As a matter of fact, I dearly love to hear Julie pray ~ in the nursing home, at home Bible study sessions, at the end of a meeting, in Sunday School class, over someone in need, quietly in your ear or over the phone. Her sense of empathy is exceptional, matched only by her unbridled yet gentle acts of kindness. It doesn’t seem to even occur to her to hold back at an opportunity to serve. How does she have so much to give? She totally relies on Christ to use her to His glory.”

2024 Hometown HEROES Magazine LINCOLN DAILY NEWS June/July 2024 Page 9 Both Julie and Barry King, her husband of 23 years, have long served on the Ministry Team for the Harvest of Talents for World Hunger. Neal has served with Julie and Barry on the Harvest of Talents for World Hunger Ministry Team for many years and said, “I am a key witness to their amazing creativity.” Neal has seen the King’s creativity “evidenced by the work of their hands and by their endeavors to problem-solve, their energy in giving what it takes to get the job done and ideas as they worked hours on end to help events and projects come to fruition.” As Neal said the Kings “truly believe they are blessed to be a Blessing. Their hearts for the hungry compel them to use their myriads of talents to help raise funds to alleviate hunger in Jesus’ name. Because they work so well as a couple, complementing each other’s strengths, they are such a valued addition to ministry.” It is Julie’s leadership that Neal said helped bring forth the Junior Harvest Team. Neal said, “She and Barry have long provided artistic expertise in helping display hundreds of handcrafted items for the popular Harvest Day live auction and have made lots of unique and delightful repurposed articles that are sought after by Harvest supporters every year. They can make such beautiful items out of discarded, unrelated pieces, often reminiscent of beauty from ashes.” But it’s in the way they encourage, support, and uplift others that Neal particularly admires. As the Kings make “beauty from ashes,” they have turned a broken sideboard into a high back bench and taken an old oscillating fan and made it into a lamp. Coffee pots have been turned into bird feeders or lamps. Barry and Julie once took a headboard and made it into a bench. They have also used old suitcases to

Page 10 2024 Hometown HEROES Magazine LINCOLN DAILY NEWS June/July 2024 make a dresser. An outboard motor was made into a table and a toboggan was made into a wine holder. These are just some of the ways the Kings have used their creativity to help bless people. Tim Searby has known the Kings for many years from the Christian Village and Lincoln Christian Church and has also been in Lincoln Community Theater productions with them. What Searby has noticed about the Kings is their willingness to serve. As Searby said, “Julie and Barry King are true servants of God. They have blessed literally hundreds of people through their generosity and genuine love for others.” In addition, Searby said, “They are also two of the funniest people I know. I thank my God for their friendship and witness.” Julie and Barry King are definitely a Blessing to many! Neal said, “With a cherished and longstanding friendship developed over many years, I am so grateful for them, and I know our community is richer because of their big, big hearts and tireless hours devoted to serving others with rare dedication, compassion, cheerfulness, wit, and resourcefulness. Whether you know one or both of them, you benefit!”

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Page 12 2024 Hometown HEROES Magazine LINCOLN DAILY NEWS June/July 2024 Vince Long a humble hero

2024 Hometown HEROES Magazine LINCOLN DAILY NEWS June/July 2024 Page 13 By Matt Boutcher Vince Long. His name is one that you may be familiar with, but it may be just as likely that you’re not. This can be attributed to all the behind the scenes work that Long has done for the Lincoln community. Long never seeks recognition for his work, which is likely why his name was submitted for Lincoln Daily News’s Hometown Heroes magazine this year. Long is fiercely dedicated to volunteer work both for veterans in the community as well as the community at large. Much of this volunteer work he has provided through several of the veterans’ organizations in Lincoln, such as the American Legion Post 263 and the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW). It is for these reasons, as well as Long’s heart for service, that he is being featured as one of our Hometown Heroes for 2024. Long moved to the Lincoln area with his family when he was in the seventh grade. He continued his schooling at Chester-East Lincoln School. He was raised on a farm, and this is where he gained his interest in antique tractors. Long shared that he got to operate a small tractor when his father worked at a grain elevator when he was a kid. That sparked an interest in him that he still has to this day. Long has several antique tractors in his possession today, including two 20-30 Fergusons and a 1944 Case SC, among others. Long was also raised with an interest in gardening, another interest that has followed him into his adult life. In 2006, he began taking the courses to become a Master Gardener and a Master Naturalist. Long learned a lot in these classes. “I thought I knew a lot about gardening, but I didn’t know anything at all,” he shared. Long used the knowledge he gained from these classes to join the Logan County Master Gardeners (LCMG). It is through this organization that he provides even more volunteer service to the Lincoln community. In 1965, Long joined the Navy and served as a Fire Controlman, meaning that he controlled the radars on gun mounts. He also met politician John McCain in the service and has had the opportunity to meet him several more times in the years following both of their retirements from service. Long served until late July of 1968, and upon leaving the service, he joined the Lincoln VFW in 1969. The VFW is where Long met Jack Barrick, someone who would turn out to be a lifelong friend of his. Barrick also helped Long secure a job at Barrick Transfer, a company that, while they were eventually bought out, Long would spend over three decades working at. By the time Long retired, the company was then known as Consolidated Freightways.

Page 14 2024 Hometown HEROES Magazine LINCOLN DAILY NEWS June/July 2024 After his retirement, Long continued working at a fertilizer plant for an additional thirteen years. Long would spend a lot of time volunteering before his retirement but added a lot more to his volunteering plate after he retired. Long and his wife Janet have both been longtime members of the VFW and have spent a lot of time there. Long served as the State Commander of the VFW in 2008 and 2009, and his wife served as the State President of the Ladies Auxiliary in 1996 and 1997. Long shared that he would spend most of his vacation time going to conventions for the VFW. Another veteran and VFW member Gene Hickey could not overstate Long and Janet’s contributions to the VFW. He stated that, in his opinion, they are the VFW. Long and Janet have been keeping the VFW afloat with all the good work they contribute to it, Hickey shared. The VFW has been able to do a lot of great things for the veterans in our communities. Long and others have lobbied Congress for veterans’ benefits, aided veterans in need with compensation, and have taken care of veteran widows. “Lincoln is very fortunate to have the VFW,” Long stated. When asked what the VFW means to him, Long stated that it is about taking care of our veterans and improving our communities. As stated previously, Long also provides a lot of volunteer work to the Lincoln community through the LCMG. Much of this work, Long shared, is done at Kickapoo Creek Park. The group works on removing invasive plant species from the park, and then replacing them with native species the following spring. Long also appreciates all of the different people he has been able to meet through the LCMG. He says he has met people and friends there that he would never have met otherwise. One of these friends is Jim Struebing who is also a Master Gardener and Master Naturalist. Struebing was the person who convinced Long to take the class to become a Master Naturalist after Long had already become a Master Gardener. Streubing shared that Long kills and removes honeysuckle and autumn olive from Kickapoo Creek Park, “the most invasive plants in Central Illinois.” Struebing said that he, Long, and others have dedicated a lot of time to trying to remove these invasive species. “Over the last 10 years the park has changed greatly in appearance in a positive way as a result of our efforts to fight the invasives and plant native trees and shrubs.” Struebing also shared that Long has volunteered at the annual plant sale at the

2024 Hometown HEROES Magazine LINCOLN DAILY NEWS June/July 2024 Page 15 Logan County Fairgrounds. Many of the plants provided for these sales came from either Long’s garden or Struebing’s greenhouse. Struebing also shared that Long has previously participated in a program called “Plant a Row for the Hungry.” This is a national program that encourages people to donate their extra produce to organizations that will distribute them to the homeless or others who are food insecure. Long also puts his love of tractors to use by driving them and doing tiling and harvesting work for a friend in the spring and fall seasons. Long does all this, and more, but does not himself understand why he was selected to be featured in this Hometown Heroes magazine. When first contacted by Lincoln Daily News for an interview, Long asked, “now why would you all want to write an article about me?” Those who were interviewed for this article answered Long’s question by sharing their favorite things about Long. Struebing spoke into Long’s service as a veteran as well, saying “Vince is a dedicated veteran who is always on call to serve in the Legion’s firing squad at funerals in Central Illinois.” Hickey described Long as dependable, saying he was “always there when you need him,” and that he “will do anything for you.” Pam Moriearty also shared her approval for Long being picked as a Hometown Hero, calling him “a great candidate.” Long still sees others as more deserving than himself, however. At the start of our interview with Long, he thought it important to share that there were plenty of other deserving people. His humbleness and love for serving others became very apparent during the interview, as well as with what others had to say about him. He, however, is just happy to do what he does and “see the smiles it brings to the faces of others.”

Page 16 2024 Hometown HEROES Magazine LINCOLN DAILY NEWS June/July 2024 are Angels among us By Lesleigh Bennett Moms Who Care is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to help students achieve success by meeting their essential needs. The Lincoln organization was formed in 2017 when founder Cindy Aussiker, a retired local educator, saw the need in the community and had heard about a Moms Who Care group in East Peoria. Cindy went to visit the East Peoria group and its founders and quickly realized that Lincoln needed this type of program. She brought back the information and shared it with fellow retired educator Marla Williams and the two decided to start the process of becoming an official organization in Lincoln. Moms Who Care is now in 13 Junior High and High Schools and in Central Illinois. East Peoria High School, Parkview Middle School in Creve Coeur, Central Junior High in East Peoria, Bartonville Limestone High School, Broadmoor Junior High School in

2024 Hometown HEROES Magazine LINCOLN DAILY NEWS June/July 2024 Page 17 Pekin, Beverly Manor Middle School in Washington, Edison Junior High in Pekin, Wilson Intermediate School in Pekin, Lincoln Junior High School, Lincoln Community High School, Chester East Lincoln, and New Holland Middletown all participate in the program. It is completely funded by donations, both inkind and monetary, no salaries are taken. Monetary donations are used to purchase items such as work clothes, tennis shoes, and other items that are not available in other pantries. School Nurses, Teachers, or School Counselors often refer students to the program. Any student who receives free or reduced lunch programs, is homeless, or emancipated is eligible. On average, more than 800 students a month can “shop” for the things they need, like basic hygiene items, snacks, and school supplies. Cindy shared a heartwarming story of receiving their very first donation. The night that Cindy visited the East Peoria Moms Who Care group she was sitting with friends, and they simply started their conversation by asking her what she had done that day. Cindy began to share what she had seen and shared her vision for what a group like that could do in Lincoln. A friend immediately reached into his pocket and handed her $100 and said here is your seed money. To this day, that friend regularly supports the mission. Cindy and Marla both are in awe of the support and generosity of the community. Many area churches, groups, individuals, and businesses have raised funds or collected items for the group. Simply Elegant by Cheri hosted a collection for the group, Logan County Professionals Network held Purses for a Purpose and donated the proceeds as well as taking a collection of items. A golf outing was held to raise funds. Lincoln Women’s Club and the Masonic Lodge also regularly collect for the group.

Page 18 2024 Hometown HEROES Magazine LINCOLN DAILY NEWS June/July 2024 There are currently Moms Who Care pantries at Lincoln Community High School, Lincoln Junior High, Chester East Lincoln, and New Holland Middletown. These pantries are stocked with various hygiene items, school supplies, hats and gloves, some clothing items, and snack items.

2024 Hometown HEROES Magazine LINCOLN DAILY NEWS June/July 2024 Page 19 Some wish list items for the High School includes cologne, perfume, body sprays (Bath and Body Works, Axe, Victorias Secret etc.), lotion, deodorant, shampoo and conditioner, toothbrushes and toothpaste, Chapstick, new packs of socks, and mechanical pencils. Snack items on the wish list include chips, dried fruit, nuts, and pop tarts. The Junior High Students wish list includes body sprays, deodorant, shampoo and conditioner, toothbrushes and toothpaste, new packs of socks, lotions, face wash, hairbrushes, and mechanical pencils. Several students have expressed their gratitude and have even referred to Cindy and Marla as Angels. One student shared that before Moms who Care they would have to try to stretch one bottle of shampoo, one bottle of body wash, and one tube of toothpaste between five children for the month. Now each child is able to bathe and brush their teeth daily and they especially love having lotions and body sprays. Moms Who Care is different from other pantries because they try to tailor the items specifically to teens and pre-teens. Teachers have said “we have noticed such a difference in the kids that visit the Moms Who Care pantry. They smile more and seem to even do better in class. The ladies not only provide them with essential items, but they also show them that there is someone who cares about them and someone who is willing to provide them with support.” Moms Who Care also has a Prom Dress Event where they give away gently used or new with tags dresses, shoes, and accessories that are donated by community members. Dozens of dresses in various styles, sizes, and colors are available for young ladies to try on until they find their perfect one. Monetary donations can be made to Heartland Bank in the Moms Who Care Name. There are drop boxes at several locations including Bryan Clark State Farm, Tremont Bank, UCB Bank, and USA Mortgage. If you would like to learn more about the program you can visit the Moms Who Care Lincoln Facebook Page or go to momswhocare.net.

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Page 22 2024 Hometown HEROES Magazine LINCOLN DAILY NEWS June/July 2024 The Reluctant HERO

2024 Hometown HEROES Magazine LINCOLN DAILY NEWS June/July 2024 Page 23 Chuck Fricke shares the stories his dad never told him Armin Ernst Fricke was the eldest son of John Henry Fricke, an immigrant from Osnebrocht Germany. John Henry, age 17, fled Germany in 1904 landing at Ellis Island, New York, with his two brothers William 15, and Henry age 14. It was at this time that Kaiser Wilhelm II, the last German Emperor and King of Prussia was raising an army for Germany prior to WW I. In 1917 John Henry was drafted into the U.S. Army, but WW I came to an end before he left the farm in Meredosia, Illinois. How ironic! Armin graduated mortuary school in the fall of 1941 and enlisted in the army, as did millions on December 8, 1941. With his medical and mortuary knowledge, speaking and writing knowledge of the German language he was immediately a candidate for becoming an Army medic. His two younger brothers also joined the military in WW II and his fourth brother served in Korea in 1952. A true Band of Brothers! Armin became a member of the 232 Medical Battalion, 125th Regiment, and the 34th (Red Bull) Division. He was sent to Africa, on June 1943 upon the USS Chateau Thierry arriving in Oran French Algeria Africa. It was at this same time that Generals Omar Bradley and George Patton were chasing General and Field Marshall Erwin Rommel (Desert Fox) across Northern Africa thru Tunisia. The Red Bull Division was the first division deployed to Europe and became the most decorated and longest serving division on front line duty serving 517 straight combat days. During his deployment , my father started a journal with three to four sentences per day as well as taking pictures with his Brownie camera. That diary contains an infantryman’s account and experiences through some of the worst days of a 26-year-old farm boy’s life. He took pictures of the losses at the Lion Mt. cemetery south of Oran in Tunisia Africa after Hill 609. Later Armin’s deployment took him in landing crafts into Sicily through Palermo and Messina, under General George Patton and then the landing into Italy itself under General Clark. After the surrender of Italy and the beginning retreat of the German Army under the command of Field Marshall Albert Kesselring, which was later convicted of War crimes, the German army stripped the countryside of

Page 24 2024 Hometown HEROES Magazine LINCOLN DAILY NEWS June/July 2024 Sergeant Fricke center with General Clark food and housing to the Italian population. My father along with his band of brothers and the rations they were allotted helped save many men, women and children by sharing what rations they were allocated. One such individual child named Pamela, a recent orphan when her parents were recently killed in a bombing raid was befriended immediately. Upon returning to the stateside he named his first daughter after her. Because the German army couldn’t afford to take prisoners in their retreat they started shooting prisoners. My father, along with other medics, were issued hand weapons from captured officers. He returned home with a German Lugar and an Italian Beretta side arm. It was during this retreated that the high command of General Eisenhower and Prime Minister Winston Churchill secretly deployed a type of mustard gas on the ship the “John Harvey” anchored at the port of Bari, on the Eastern side of Italy with the anticipation of the Germans gassing the Allies in their retreat. Falsely feeling the skies were secure from any German bombing, the John Harvey was hit and exploded with the gas defusing throughout the near countryside. Armin being in that vicinity attempted to give aid to the injured, but not knowing the exact cause of their ailments could only guess on their treatments. Rubbing his eyes continuously with his sleeves he also succumbed to a temporary blindness which hospitalized him for 30 days. Many others had permanent damage. Armin’s pictures show many men in a pond bathing themselves to lessen the gas. Not until 1967, through the Freedom of Information Act, did the government acknowledge the incident. A series of books by author Rick Atkinson, “AN ARMY AT DAWN” and “THE DAY OF BATTLE” did we, as a family, realize the true cause of our fathers injuries. This was 30 years after his death. Upon returning to active duty the 34th Division was sent to the Abbey at Monte Cassino in January 1944. For three months it became the bloodiest battle in Italy with over 50,000 Allied deaths, and 20,000 Germans. It was here that Armin received his second

2024 Hometown HEROES Magazine LINCOLN DAILY NEWS June/July 2024 Page 25 Purple Heart. Because of his injury Armin was with his unit when it was deployed to Normandy. After “THE ABBEY”, Armin’s services took him through Naples, Foggia -Arno, and the liberation of Rome. Armin received the American Theater Ribbon, European-Africa- Middle Eastern Ribbon with W/2 Bronze battle stars. Upon his return to the states Armin married Vivian Wise of Jacksonville and became a funeral director and ambulance driver for 30 years. He never once volunteered to tell his military history to me, his son. When asked he would merely say he put bandages on wounded soldiers. If he told my other brother or sisters anything different I am not aware of it. Armin died in 1986. Vivian died in 2008. It is at that time our family found his history, story, and military German Lugar and Italian 380 Barrett pistol. During his time as a funeral director Armin made many funeral arrangements for Veterans. Nathan Fricke, Armin’s grandson, years later was making funeral arrangements for a veteran with his three daughters. He asked if they wanted a military service. They answered with a “No” as dad never mentioned his time in the service so he must not feel extremely proud of his time in the service. Upon reading that veterans DD 214, Honorable Discharge, he was at Normandy, The Battle of The Bulge, and three other major battles. I’m embarrassed to say I should have prodded or asked more questions of my father and other veterans Their stories are worth the effort! My father is no more a hero to the world than a million other veterans, but he does stand out amongst our family. Being asked to share his diary and pictures is enough reward to us after 80 years.. Submitted by Charles and Penny Fricke May 28, 2024 Armin Fricke receives his first Purple Heart pinned by Col. Maxwell at camp base Corsica after being blinded trying to assist fellow soldiers who had been gassed

Page 26 2024 Hometown HEROES Magazine LINCOLN DAILY NEWS June/July 2024 Our retiring heroes Jerry Neisler, three decades of teaching and molding young minds at New HollandMiddletown School By JA Hodgdon-Ruppel Jerry Neisler is a staple at New HollandMiddletown school, just like the benches in the gymnasium, the library filled with books, and the chalkboard in the classrooms. For thirty-one of his thirty-six years of teaching Mr. Neisler has instructed children at New Holland-Middletown (NHM) School in the subjects of American History, World History, Civics, Health, Geography, PE, and even taught a writing class while student teaching, which would have shocked, one of his former elementary teachers! When Jerry was a youngster, he was very shy. His dreams as a kid were much like other little boys. He wanted to be an astronaut, then a

2024 Hometown HEROES Magazine LINCOLN DAILY NEWS June/July 2024 Page 27 baseball player, but the only thing that really tugged at his heartstrings was teaching. He ultimately decided that he wanted to make a positive difference by becoming a teacher in a smaller school where he felt he would be able to make more of a connection with children, by instilling a feeling of confidence and trust. Growing up in a small rural area, he graduated from Witt High School, took college courses at Lincoln Land College, and went on to Eastern Illinois University to get his teaching certificate. Jerry tends to favor the subject of American History because of an influential professor from college. What he says he remembers the most about this professor was that he was always well prepared, used a lot of humor (mostly about his mother-in-law, but all in good fun), and was able to meld it all together to make each class interesting and leave the student wanting more. Before NHM, Mr. Neisler worked as a part-time teacher in Ramsey, and then was a substitute teacher for three years in the Mongomery County area. While at NHM, Mr. Neisler also coached track for ten years with a female student winning at State, and a male who finished sixth in the State, and in the late nineties, the girl's track team won at the County track meet. During Mr. Neisler's thirty-one years at NHM, he was the History Fair Sponsor where many students won blue ribbons at the State History Fair at the convention center in Springfield. Mr. Neisler estimated that he taught roughly 540 students over the years. Mr. Neisler will agree that being a teacher is extremely rewarding, but it is not as much of a gravy job as some may think because

Page 28 2024 Hometown HEROES Magazine LINCOLN DAILY NEWS June/July 2024 of having holidays, weekends, and summers off. The task of a teacher is not as idle as one thinks with the re-certifications, classes, and seminars to attend, and writing the curriculum. Mr. Neisler states that many things have changed over the past 36 years, and it is more of a challenge to keep children interested in class work with the social media rise, the pandemic, and the instant access that kids have adapted to because of technology. Mr. Neisler feels it is very hard to compete with the instant gratification kids are receiving in today’s world while trying to keep the students engaged and entertained while teaching simultaneously. One advantage is that the students were a great help in teaching Mr. Neiser a thing to two about the technology that he uses in the classroom such as the smartboard. What he would like to see change going forward in the educational system is not to rely so much on standardized testing and more on hands-on opportunities. He is also passionate about keeping that open line of communication between the school, teacher, students, and parents. He feels having a full commitment from all parties is a critical musthave for the success of the school, teacher and most importantly the student. When asked what he would say to a student(s) who are interested in going into the teaching profession, he said that he would only be honest and start with all the satisfying attributes a teacher gets when that lightbulb goes off in a student's head or when he finds out that a prior student was influenced by his teaching with a success story. But he would also include that teaching is just not having the summers off. It is a continual year-long process that has to include patience, being

2024 Hometown HEROES Magazine LINCOLN DAILY NEWS June/July 2024 Page 29 prepared, always being one step ahead of the kids, and knowing not every day is going to be easy or blessed with a defining moment. His proudest moments are when he is fortunate enough to run into former students by chance or when they come back to visit him, and he can hear all about their lives as adults. Social media has also allowed him to stay connected with former students and watch their progress through life. He has many, many fond memories and said he wished he had kept a log of all the funniest, thoughtful, and not-so-funny memories. He claims it would be on the bestsellers list! One of those fond memories is when he caught a student cheating and as he came up behind the student in class the student dropped his cheat sheets on the floor. The first words out of the student’s mouth were “They’re not mine!” as his classmates chuckled. Another sweet story dear to his heart is about a little girl in a lower grade. As a staff member was reading a story to the class, the story mentions ‘a higher power.’ This little girl was intrigued by this and called out a couple of ideas of who she thought was the ‘higher power.’ Then with a huge look of excitement, she exclaimed “Do you mean that it is Mr. Neisler!?” Many years later when this little girl was a Senior in High School, she came back, and job shadowed in Mr. Neisler’s class. He reminded her of that day and told her she didn’t know it then, but she could have had anything she wanted that day! A recent student, Bhayleigh Osborn, has fond memories of Mr. Neisler and the first words about him were that he was always so nice to her. She had many stories of learning history in his class and the ‘News Game’ and the ‘Slides’ stand out as the most memorable. She said these games showed her how to find and appreciate history and current events happening around her. However, she was not fond of the monthly oral reports. She remembers always trying to get out of it and asking Mr. Neisler if she could do something else. However, she did admit that standing up in front of the class and reading these oral reports taught her to be more confident in herself. Former student Chassidy White, Class of 2006 writes: “When asked if there was anyone I would like to nominate for Hometown Heros I had only one answer. Jerry Neisler. There have been many great teachers throughout my academic career, but one that I can remember clearly is Jerry Neisler. I can vividly picture walking into the patriotic history room. Filled with New Holland Middletown Mustangs and the colors of red, white, and blue. Just like the presidents lining the walls of his room, you can feel the history this singular classroom holds.

Page 30 2024 Hometown HEROES Magazine LINCOLN DAILY NEWS June/July 2024 “I had known Mr. Neisler as a young child as he taught my three older brothers. I have vivid memories as a young girl going and enjoying time in his room while my parents and brothers met with him and shared their projects. Upon entering the 7th grade I was excited to have a seat of my own in that very room. Anxiously waiting to start on the many projects my brothers had participated in before me. “Upon getting to have Jerry Neisler as my teacher for history as well as health and wellness, I came to know that he was a very devoted, loyal, and detailed teacher. He helped me along with my two classmates enter the history fair with a project on Abraham Lincoln’s Home in Springfield. IL. Making it all the way to the regionals is something I will carry with me for life. “Another great impact Mr. Neisler had on me the ability to utilize my right to vote! In order to get us to fully understand the election process he would host an entire mock election. Out of the 7th and 8th grade classes he taught, candidates would be selected, campaigns would be run, and then the entire school would come to the assembly and vote. There would be a voting booth present for after each candidate had their part in the debate. The students would then line up and place their vote privately in the booth. Teachers would then collect the ballots and announce the winner. I go back to this memory every time I have entered a voting booth in my adult life. “With NH-M being such a small school he filled many roles to help keep the school activities up and running. I recall him taking on the role of track coach even though he lives many miles away from the school. He would stay late on weeknights so that we could practice and show up early on Saturday mornings for us students to catch the bus to the meets. “After 31 years of being completely committed to one lucky little community, Mr. Neisler gets to retire with much love and respect from all of his current and former coworkers and students. He has impacted us all along the way, and that is why Jerry Neisler will always be a Hometown Hero in my eyesChassidy White.” The greatest validation that Mr. Neisler was living out his childhood dream in the world of teaching was when unexpectedly someone would remind him that he said this, or taught them that, or he heard of a success story by a former student as an adult. No matter what happened that day or week, that story or remembrance was all he needed to remind him that he was exactly where he needed to be and that he was fulfilling his dream of making a difference in someone’s life. When Mr. Neisler was asked what he wanted people to know about him, he replied “I may not always have been the best teacher, but nobody cared more about the school than I did, or nobody cared more about the people that were there than I did. I am humbled and grateful for all the kindness the school, kids, and parents have given me over the years, they have always been supportive of me, and it is genuinely appreciated.” Mr. Neisler is a huge fan of baseball and hockey and in retirement, he plans on fishing more, playing golf more, smoking meat on the grill, working in the garage and yard, and traveling with his wife. He also wants to explore painting landscape scenes and learning how to play the guitar.

2024 Hometown HEROES Magazine LINCOLN DAILY NEWS June/July 2024 Page 31 Mr. Neisler and some of his former students Mr. Neisler with former teachers at NH-M

Page 32 2024 Hometown HEROES Magazine LINCOLN DAILY NEWS June/July 2024 NHM school had an open house where former students and their families came to express their gratitude towards Mr. Neisler's dedication to teaching and then followed up with a dinner at a restaurant for his family where he received a plaque with his years of service. Approximately 130 friends, family, coworkers, and current and former students also had a ‘roast’ for Mr. Neisler on June 1st where they had pictures, cards, videos, and stories from days past. Jerry Neisler - because you followed your dream for the past thirty-six years, you have changed, motivated, inspired, and showed others how to believe in, live out, and chase their dreams. A great big “Thank You” to Mr. Neisler for following through with his dream of becoming a teacher and showing Logan County what a true hometown hero looks like! Mr. Neisler with the current teachers at NH-M

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Page 34 2024 Hometown HEROES Magazine LINCOLN DAILY NEWS June/July 2024 Our retiring heroes Kim Peterson Quinn closes the book on her legacy as a leader By Angela Reiners After thirty years of teaching music at Lincoln Community High School, Kim Peterson Quinn retired at the end of the 2023-2024 school year. Over those years, she directed many choir presentations, musicals and madrigals and touched the lives of many students. In November 2023, Peterson Quinn directed her 27th and final Madrigal at LCHS and those who had participated in past madrigals were encouraged to attend as special guests. The number of former students in attendance showed the impact she had on her students over the years. Though Peterson Quinn had many students over the years, a group of juniors made up of Presley Coale, Charlie McFadden, Emma Adams, and Kristina Morrow were in musicals Peterson Quinn directed the last few years grew especially close to Peterson Quinn and to one another. These students recently reflected on acting in Little Women, since it was the last one Peterson Quinn directed at LCHS. Having acted together so many times, the group felt like a family. Before playing Beth March in the recent production of Little Women, Presley Coale said, “It is definitely sad to think about the fact that this is PQ’s last production and that we will not have her next year, as she has always been an amazing director to work with.” Besides the fond memories Coale has of being in choir and musicals directed by Peterson Quinn, she felt like the cast could talk to her about almost anything. As Coale said, “I will definitely miss all the chats about random things that the cast often has with her, and overall, I hope that we can make this show worthy of being her last one. I do think it was pretty easy to play the part of a tight-knit family because I have been acting with the other girls for quite a bit and I am friends with them, so a lot of the chemistry was already there.” Charlie McFadden played the role of Jo March and said It is really special being able to act with such an amazing cast that is so close. Many of the people have been in the musical

2024 Hometown HEROES Magazine LINCOLN DAILY NEWS June/July 2024 Page 35 the past couple of years and we have been able to grow and learn together. She said, “This being PQ’s last production is definitely bittersweet. It’s going to be very sad without her, but she has been so amazing and helped give us so many great memories.” Emma Adams, who played Amy March, said, I have played in many productions with this same cast, so acting the part of a tight knit family is more real than it is acting. Adams also said, “It’s second nature to work as a family, especially one as close as this one and it’s been an amazing experience navigating this with these people. Being able to play Amy has been a new and exciting experience for me, she is unique and has a lot of emotions, emotions I have yet to experience so trying to figure her out has been a fun yet engaging experience.” This being PQ’s last production has made this whole experience more moving and drives us to do the best we can. One of my most favorite memories with her is being able to talk to her during our downtime and her providing us with life advice. She’s been a strict teacher but also a great mentor and I will always cherish the moments where she took the time to connect and talk with us. Kristina Morrow said, “wonderful ladies I get to be on stage with as sisters and daughter, I have known since at least freshman year. Even off the stage we act like a family as we plan, laugh, and bicker with one another in class or other activities. So already going into the audition and especially now, we already have that organic chemistry to our group. Then the story we tell becomes a remix of our own as we have all felt the emotions of anger, joy, and sadness that the March family have.”

Page 36 2024 Hometown HEROES Magazine LINCOLN DAILY NEWS June/July 2024 As for PQ, Morrow said, “I will definitely miss her. I have known her for around four years now and in that time, we have grown very close. She has told me several times of how I remind her of herself in high school as well as how we are both practically perfect in every way (an inside joke that relates to a song in Mary Poppins). It will be very hard walking into choir next year and not see her face. Despite this, I know I will see her elsewhere as she will come to support at future events.” LCHS senior Lacy Buss, who was in both choir and acted in many productions, played Marmee March in Little Women and also felt a kinship with the others and Peterson Quinn. Buss said, “It’s sad that this is PQ’s last one, but I know she’ll continue to support us and help us with anything we may need. That’s one of my favorite things about her. I was very shy and rarely said anything my freshman year, but she saw something in me that I couldn’t, and here I am today! I truly wouldn’t be who I am today if she hadn’t put that little bit of pressure on me to audition for my first show.” When asked about a favorite memory of Peterson Quinn, Buss said, “My favorite memory is hard to decide, but a great one is how excited she was to tell me I was singing the national anthem at a state basketball game. She was so genuinely excited and proud of me, and I could really feel it. She makes all of us feel known, appreciated, and special. Whoever takes over for her next year has some really big shoes to fill!” Though Peterson Quinn retired from teaching at the end of May, the impact she had on the hundreds of students she taught over the years is likely to continue for many years.

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Page 38 2024 Hometown HEROES Magazine LINCOLN DAILY NEWS June/July 2024 If you were to ask me who my hero is I would probably be a bit stumped because there are so many people in my life that are so unselfish and generous, kind and supportive, ready to stand beside me at a moment’s notice. I am truly blessed! And for that reason I was not going to single out anyone for this magazine. BUT, something happened to give me pause. I was at a ribbon cut and caught wind of a situation that so demonstrates this person’s heart that I have to give him a shout out. I learned that Dave Duvall had been the person to get the LaForge’s talking to the Charron’s about a possible transfer of ownership. Now while that doesn’t seem like a big deal on the surface; it hit me right between the eyes. Dave owns an automotive business and just helped get competitors together. But, that’s just Dave. I know this man has lots of people he helps without much fanfare. My first knowledge of this began when I saw how he helped in the political arena with fundraisers, raffles, walking in parades, spending money, time and energy to stand with people and causes he believes in. He helps multiple causes and organizations with an attitude that they are family and it’s just what you do. And while I know he helps everyone that comes to his automotive business he goes beyond to help those in need. Several strangers have been stranded on the road he has gone to make sure they are helped and back on the road as soon as possible. He has been helping our American Cancer Dave Duvall Society team raise money for several years. Last year he and his wife Johnna helped us at the race night at Lincoln Speedway. It was a Saturday night and he was running up and down the bleachers with me selling raffle tickets while Johnhna was selling tickets at our booth. They didn’t have to do that. But that is just who they are. I really don’t know all that Dave does, I am convinced I know very little. But, I am sure I have seen his heart for this community because he has touched me. He’s a true hero because of his love for people and his undying pursuit for doing good and what is right. Thanks for being such a great example for all of us! Kudos my friend. Karen Castelein Staff Submission

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Page 40 2024 Hometown HEROES Magazine LINCOLN DAILY NEWS June/July 2024 Lincoln Police Officers Who is my hometown hero? That’s a great question, there’s many heroes out there, the list could go on and on. However, if I could nominate any one person I would nominate the officers of Lincoln Police Department. You may ask why? The Lincoln Police Department has some of the best officers in Illinois. I’ve learned that, over time, from dealing with them, week after week. I could dislike them and say all the horrible things, but all I can ever say is how amazing they truthfully can be. Police officers deal with some of the worst things every shift that we may only deal with once or twice. They get treated like they aren’t humans, but they still have to do their job. They have to respond to every call regardless of it’s snowing, raining, 100 degrees outside, -10 degrees outside, it all. They also have to come to every call regardless of if that person supports them or not. They always have our backs, even if you may not have their back. I’ve personally have dealt with a lot of officers over time, because I was once a young kid who thought I knew everything. They would come and no matter what I said or was doing, they would try to help me get on a good path and straighten my life out. It’s now been almost a year since I last dealt with any officer for any reason. It feels amazing, that I finally took their advice and listened to them when all along they were just trying to help me. They truthfully don’t want to have to be dealing with anybody, but when it comes to keeping you safe and the town safe, they have to do what they have to do. I even see officers every once in a while at the gas station or the store, and they always make sure to say something to me and remind me of how proud they are of me. It’s a good feeling knowing, no matter what, they still will support you. They don’t come and do the job to just arrest people and deal with things that will traumatize them. They do the job because they have the heart and they care. It’s not like that in bigger cities like Chicago or St. Louis. Lincoln is extremely blessed to have some of the finest officers on the force. If I could thank every single one personally I would for how they’ve changed my life for the better. But that’s why I decided to nominate them for the Hometown Hero, because they are Heroes. Shelby Webb Reader Submission