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updated: 10/20/2012 10:01 PM

A tale of generosity from United Methodist Church

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  • Baymone Rasavong chats with Shirley Anderson of Geneva at the B & V Asian Market in South Elgin.

    Baymone Rasavong chats with Shirley Anderson of Geneva at the B & V Asian Market in South Elgin.
    Courtesy of Jamie Daniel

  • The staff at the Filling Station in St. Charles is ready for the pink breast cancer fundraiser Friday to benefit the Living Well Cancer Resource Center in Geneva.

    The staff at the Filling Station in St. Charles is ready for the pink breast cancer fundraiser Friday to benefit the Living Well Cancer Resource Center in Geneva.
    Submitted photo


It was a treasure hunt of sorts started by Shirley Anderson of Geneva, but it was also a reminder of a wonderful service churches in Geneva provided in 1980 for a refugee family from Laos.

When recently going through six decades of files as part of a Geneva United Methodist Church history project, Anderson came across a newspaper clipping about the church finding a Geneva apartment for Vanh and Baymone Phorasavang and their 3-month-old son. They had spent a year in a refugee camp in Thailand before the church, part of a group of Geneva churches that formed the Geneva Refugee Committee, was able to bring the family to Geneva to make a new life.

So the yellowed newspaper clipping sparked a key question: What happened to the family?

Anderson asked Jamie Daniel, who had created the church files, but Daniel realized she had no idea. So the hunt began. The ladies learned through an obituary from an Elgin funeral home that Baymone's last name was now Rasavong. Luckily, it was not Baymone's obit, and the search for the Rasavong family led to a home on Sheffield Lane in Geneva.

Through other public records, they also discovered the Rasavongs operated B & V Asian Market in South Elgin.

In early September, news about a house fire in Geneva shocked Daniel, because it turned out to be the Rasavong home.

On Sept. 17, Anderson and Daniel made the trip to the Asian market to finally visit with Baymone and learn how the family was coping with the house fire.

"As we entered, an attractive woman smiled as I said, 'Are you Baymone? I haven't seen you in 32 years so I don't recognize you,'" Daniel said. "She said yes and gave me a big hug; so I do believe she remembered me."

The Geneva "searchers" spent time catching up with Baymone about her grown children and husband, who was in Chicago that day. Baymone's two sons both served with the Marines.

As for the fire, Baymone said the family's insurance company put the family in another house while repairs and cleaning continue.

It may not have been the best of circumstances for rediscovering the family, but it provided living proof of how a community's generosity and support can change lives.

Filling a need: For the third straight year, the Filling Station on Main Street in St. Charles will host a "pink" breast cancer fundraiser Friday, Oct. 26, for the benefit of the Living Well Cancer Resource Center in Geneva.

Bar manager Amanda Lutz said the popular restaurant/bar started supporting the cause in 2010 by raising $2,922 and followed it up last year with $1,667.

"We did not have as big of a turnout last year as we would have liked," Lutz said.

She is hoping if word can spread this year, the Filling Station can exceed its past donations.

Filling Station staff members will be wearing pink Friday and intend to donate 50 percent of their tips, of which the Filling Station will match, Lutz said.

Bar patrons will have 50/50 and prize raffles to enter, and 50 percent of the proceeds from certain drinks will also be donated.

Getting in those miles: One never knows when the winter will set in and put an end to the current season for thousands of biking enthusiasts throughout the region.

Until then, it is not unusual to see the avid bikers pile up their miles when the weather cooperates.

Joe and Lisa Bobka of the Thornwood subdivision in South Elgin know all about that.

"We try to get in one good ride every weekend at least, and we'll keep doing it until the first snow flies," Lisa Bobka said.

One of those "good rides" for the Bobkas occurred a few weeks ago at the Apple Cider Century Ride, a 100-mile trek in and around Three Oaks, Mich., that attracted 600 riders.

Michigan represents a good challenge for bicyclists because of the rolling hills, Lisa said.

"We ride a lot around here, and it is pretty flat, but at this event, there were a lot of hills," she said. "And when you finished one, another one, even steeper, was waiting for you."

The couple, who have been riding bikes together for nearly 25 years, met that challenge. After all, they ride bikes 300 miles or more a week during the summer, often with a group from the Spin Doctors Cycle Works in Bartlett, Lisa Bobka added.

And it isn't like they are in for a total surprise when steep hills pop up.

"My husband goes on the cycling websites and monitors the elevation of routes we are going to take," she said.

Now that's some serious biking.

Their dancing orders: The six couples preparing to compete in the annual "Dancing with the Geneva Stars" fundraiser on Feb. 9, found out last weekend which dances they'll perform.

So let the rehearsals begin!

Justin and Katlyn Eggar will perform a swing; Dorothy Flanagan and Sam Hill will get ready to rumba; while Adil and Kathy Jaffer take on the salsa. Rounding out the teams, Kevin and Mary Keyzer will cha-cha; Eric and Elizabeth Ott take on the tango; and Steve and Lynn Saunders will glide to the waltz.

For the veterans: Contributions from the St. Charles Youth Commission will once again give local veterans a salute they deserve.

The commission's donations have helped St. Charles North High School prepare for its sixth annual free Veterans Day Concert at 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 11, at the high school auditorium.

Veterans are encouraged to register for tickets at before Tuesday, Oct. 30, while the general public can register after Thursday, Nov. 1.

Space is limited for this popular concert, but priority seating will go to those who have served our country. Information is available at (331) 228-6416.

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