Good News Sunday: How a woman in Switzerland got a Civil War veteran from Arlington Heights his long overdue honor

Good News Sunday: How a woman in Switzerland got a Civil War veteran from Arlington Heights his long overdue honor

This is Good News Sunday, a compilation of some of the more upbeat and inspiring stories published recently by the Daily Herald:

Years ago, Nadine Lussman now admits, she looked upon her family tree as little more than a collection of names, dates and places.

But she eventually became fascinated by the stories behind those names - who they were, what their lives were like, what challenges they faced - and one name in particular always stood out: "unknown Sieburg."

All she knew of unknown Sieburg from written family histories and whispers of family lore was that her ancestor was a Union Army dispatch rider who was killed in the Civil War.

"I needed to know more," said Sieburg, who lives in Switzerland. So she began digging online for information.

Shortly after the outbreak of the Civil War, she learned her ancestor John Sieburg, who lived on a farm near the town of Dunton - what would later become Arlington Heights - enlisted in the 8th Illinois Cavalry Regiment.

He was likely 18 or 19 years old, though he claimed to be 20. Two years into the war - and just months after the 8th famously fired the first shot at the Battle of Gettysburg - Sieburg was carrying a dispatch between commanding officers when he was shot through the hip and knocked from his horse. He died of his wounds the next day.

His name wasn't on the Veterans Memorial Committee of Arlington Heights' list of fallen heroes that dates to the Civil War, until Lussman made contact with committee Chair Greg Padovani in recent months. Sieburg - only the third Civil War veteran on the list of 59 servicemen memorialized in Arlington Heights - was finally honored during the village's annual Memorial Day ceremony and parade, with Lussman in attendance.

For the full story, click here.

Edwina Watkins of Streamwood, a first-generation college student, was thrilled to be the recipient of ECC's Early Childhood Access Consortium for Equity Scholarship. Courtesy of Elgin Community College

Education scholarship changes future for first-generation student

"I still have chills because I didn't think I would actually get it," said Elgin Community College early childhood education student Edwina Watkins, recipient of the Early Childhood Access Consortium for Equity Scholarship. The ECACE Scholarship helps educators pursue credentials to build a robust and well-prepared workforce.

"I didn't know if I belonged in college," she said, "but when they came into my classroom and called my name, I broke down in front of everyone."

As a 44-year-old first-generation college student, the Streamwood resident is one of six siblings, but the only one to attempt higher education.

She enrolled at ECC shortly after completing her high school equivalency diploma in July 2022. "After I finished my high school diploma, while I still had that fire in me, I decided to keep going," Watkins said. "I decided it does not matter the time of year or how old I am. So I did it. And here I am."

Watkins is a mother and a grandmother, another driving force behind her desire to finish her degree and inspire them along the way. A veteran of early childhood education as an in-home child care provider, her love for children and passion for the field encouraged her to take it further and pursue a degree at ECC. Watkins plans to open a child care center outside her home to serve her community better.

For the full story, click here.

Runners take part in last year's Run for the Mind, a fundraiser for mental health nonprofits in DuPage County. This year's event takes place Saturday, June 10, at the DuPage County Fairgrounds in Wheaton. Courtesy of NAMI DuPage

Run for The Mind and Color Run help local groups educate about mental health, addiction

Three DuPage County organizations are banding together to fight the stigma of mental health.

The DuPage County Prevention Leadership Team (PLT), NAMI DuPage, and Serenity House in Addison will be hosting the new teen-led Color Run on Saturday, June 10, starting at 10 a.m. at the DuPage County Fairgrounds.

NAMI DuPage is also hosting a Run for the Mind 5K and a Diaper Dash in conjunction with the Color Run.

Funds will support NAMI DuPage,, and PLT initiatives to increase mental health awareness, promote access to 988 and Crisis Text Line resources and reduce substance use and addiction among DuPage County youth.

PLT's primary focus is on advocacy and policy-level change to impact substance use prevention and mental wellness. Examples of this work include tobacco 21 laws, social host ordinances and prevention policies related to recreational marijuana. In 2022, the PLT reached more than 50,000 adults and teens.

For the full story, click here.

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