Good News Sunday: Batavia High’s Jim Nazos enjoying opportunity to coach son Nate

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

Coaching youth sports can be one of the most gratifying things we do as adults.

Improving the skills of young athletes is the most obvious goal, but the best leaders also act as mentors and teach valuable life lessons to create a ripple effect that lasts generations.

Many of us have played that role over the years — whether it be in Little League, AAU basketball, soccer or flag football.

Then there's the truly lucky ones — like Batavia High School's Jim Nazos, whose son Nate is the starting point guard on a team that might win 20 games and believes it can compete for a sectional crown.

“When I was a freshman or a sophomore, I didn't really know what to expect. I just knew I was excited,” Nate said of being coached by his father. “I feel like I've been waiting my whole life to get a chance to play for him. I've enjoyed it very much.”

For the full story, click here.

Trail volunteers keep forest preserves safe

Cook County Trail Watch volunteers and district law enforcement work together to keep the trails safe for forest preserve visitors. Courtesy of Forest Preserves of Cook County

If boosting your fitness, altruism or connection with nature is your 2024 resolution, you’re in luck. Trail volunteers biking in Cook, DuPage, Kane and McHenry counties, can nail all three.

Forest preserve volunteers — hikers, bikers and equestrians — have helped maintain natural areas as part of larger district programs. While savoring their own trail experiences, they report issues like downed branches, graffiti and even poaching.

DuPage County Forest Preserve’s Bike Patrol program, formalized in 2002, includes 100 active volunteers, with 25 regularly bike-monitoring from April-October.

In Cook County’s 70,000-acre Forest Preserves, Volunteer Program Coordinator Joanna Huyck tallies more than 500 Trail Watch volunteers. About 200 logged 7,300 visits across five zones in 2023.

“Just helping the community” is what Palatine volunteer Sheila Roos enjoys most, “like ensuring trails are clear after a storm. You help keep the trails safe, enjoy doing it and it doesn’t cost you anything except logging your time. I love nature and biking, and that the forest preserves are available. I see wildlife all the time at Deer Grove — skunks, raccoons, bunnies and deer, of course.”

For the full story, click here.

Longtime volunteer honored in Wheeling

Wheeling resident Vivian Smith, left, receives the George Hieber Citizenship Award from Village President Pat Horcher at Monday's village board meeting. Courtesy of Wheeling

Local volunteer Vivian Smith is the latest winner of Wheeling’s George Hieber Citizenship Award.

A longtime Wheeling resident who has spent decades working for the community in a variety of capacities, Smith was honored by the village board during its meeting Monday night.

Among Smith’s roles was Wheeling Park District board member, a post she held from 2007 to 2009. Smith also has volunteered with Prospect Heights School District 23’s parent teacher organization, the Bison Wrestling Club, the Wheeling Spur Club, Wheeling Helping Hands, and the Wheeling Historical Society, and she is a Greater Wheeling Area Chamber of Commerce & Industry board member.

Smith’s previous honors include a Distinguished Service Award from Northwest Suburban High School District 214. She’s a member of the Wheeling High School Athletic Hall of Fame as a friend of athletics, too.

“Vivian Smith is constantly willing to help whenever asked, takes much pride in her service and shows a commitment to make Wheeling a better, safer, and kinder place to live,” Village Clerk Kathryn Brady said Monday as she read from a formal resolution describing Smith’s service.

When Brady was done reading, the board and audience gave Smith a standing ovation as she walked to the dais to receive a plaque and a copy of the proclamation from Village President Pat Horcher.

For the full story, click here.

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