Good News Sunday: Suburban astronomy teacher completes ‘mind-blowing’ eclipse skydive

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

Marvelous, mind-blowing and absolutely amazing. That’s how Tyler Michie described his experience jumping out of a plane and sailing through the air during Monday’s total solar eclipse.

“I was just stunned,” said Michie, who is an astronomy and earth sciences teacher at Hoffman Estates High School. “It’s very hard to put into words what I felt.”

The original plan called for Michie — who traveled to Texas for an event organized by Skydive Spaceland Dallas — to jump three minutes before totality, followed by three minutes in the air during totality and three minutes after. Ultimately, when he exited the plane, the eclipse’s totality phase was already occurring. Despite the hiccups, Michie said he is very grateful for the experience.

“I was in the air for probably something like nine minutes, but unfortunately only the first minute and a half was in totality,” Michie said. “But it was still just absolutely mind-blowing, and I hope I get the chance to do it again someday.”

The eclipse was awe-inspiring for those on the ground, including students at Hoffman Estates High School who watched from the school’s football field.

For the full story, click here.

U.S. Army veteran Robin Waltrip watches as workers from Feldco replace the roof on her home in Island Lake on Monday as part of the Owens Corning Roof Deployment Project. The Owens Corning Foundation is donating roofing materials and Feldco is donating the labor. Gregory Shaver/Shaw Local News Network

Island Lake Army vet gets solution to a leaking roof

After snow last week delayed the first attempt, an experienced crew arrived early Monday to beat the solar eclipse and install new roofs on Robin Waltrip's house and garage.

The roof replacement itself was straightforward and simple. But to the Island Lake Army veteran who lives on a fixed income, the effort by Owens Corning and Feldco was as big as it gets.

Smiling and thankful, the former drill sergeant watched as old shingles were quickly shed en route to a leak-free home for the first time in three years.

“I was focused on my husband and we couldn't afford it,” Waltrip said. “He couldn't work anymore and we were living on our savings.”

Her husband, Clifton, died two years ago.

“Everyone needs to know about this. He would have loved it,” she said Monday morning as the project progressed quickly.

Waltrip was selected through a partnership with Habitat for Humanity of McHenry County after Crystal Lake-based nonprofit Veterans Path to Hope alerted other groups about her needs.

For the full story, click here.

DuPage County officials are breaking new ground to make mental health care services more accessible to residents with a new DuPage Crisis Recovery Center in Wheaton. Courtesy of the DuPage County Health Department

Making mental health care more accessible

DuPage County officials are breaking new ground to make mental health care services more accessible to residents.

County leaders on Monday celebrated the start of a $25.8 million project to build the DuPage Crisis Recovery Center. The new 24/7 center will be on the grounds of the DuPage County Health Department and will act as a behavioral health triage center where patients experiencing a mental health or substance abuse crisis can be assessed and provided a plan of action within 24 hours.

Though the center will not provide long-term care, patients, once assessed, will receive referrals to other resources and service providers, including outpatient care or inpatient treatment at a county or private facility.

“I have long believed that we could provide a new gold standard of diagnosis, treatment and help for all our residents,” DuPage County Board Chairwoman Deborah Conroy said, noting that the center will provide care to those with or without insurance and to children. “This crisis recovery center will be the missing piece in our system, keeping people out of emergency rooms and jail. We know it will change lives.”

The center, expected to open in the summer of 2025, has been described as a “transformational project” that will answer the question of “where to go” for those in mental health crisis.

For the full story, click here.

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