Honorary street names approved for two longtime Elginites

  • Don Sleeman of Elgin bows his head during the invocation during the Elgin Veterans Day ceremony in 2019. The Elgin City Council approved renaming a portion of Chester Avenue in his honor.

      Don Sleeman of Elgin bows his head during the invocation during the Elgin Veterans Day ceremony in 2019. The Elgin City Council approved renaming a portion of Chester Avenue in his honor. Rick West | Staff Photographer/November, 2019

  • COURTESY OF CHRIS HOLLINGSPastor Willie L. Tate of Progressive Baptist Church will see a portion of Ann Street, between Dundee Avenue and Center Street near the church, designated as Pastor Willie L. Tate Street.

    COURTESY OF CHRIS HOLLINGSPastor Willie L. Tate of Progressive Baptist Church will see a portion of Ann Street, between Dundee Avenue and Center Street near the church, designated as Pastor Willie L. Tate Street.

  • Don Sleeman of Elgin American Legion Post 57 plays taps on the bugle during Elgin's September 11th remembrance event in 2017. The Elgin City Council approved renaming a portion of Chester Avenue in his honor.

      Don Sleeman of Elgin American Legion Post 57 plays taps on the bugle during Elgin's September 11th remembrance event in 2017. The Elgin City Council approved renaming a portion of Chester Avenue in his honor. Rick West | Staff Photographer/September 2017

 
 
Updated 1/15/2021 2:30 PM

Two longtime Elginites will be honored with streets in their names after unanimous approval from the city council.

Pastor Willie L. Tate of Progressive Baptist Church will see a portion of Ann Street, between Dundee Avenue and Center Street near the church, designated as Pastor Willie L. Tate Street.

 

The council also designated that a portion of Chester Avenue, between Dundee Avenue and Liberty Street near American Legion Post 57, will be known as Donald J. Sleeman Avenue, in honor of the Korean War veteran who is sometimes called "Mr. Elgin Post 57."

Tate has been pastor at Progressive Baptist Church since 1986. He also served as chaplain at the Elgin Mental Health Center for 33 years, and served for nine years on the board of directors for the Boys & Girls Club of Elgin, in addition to other volunteer efforts. Tate retired in 1997 as a parking meter supervisor after 31 years with the city of Elgin.

"He has been a servant in this community for almost 40 years," Councilwoman Tish Powell said Wednesday. "Always lending his time, service and his wisdom to this community."

"I'm just really excited about having the opportunity to honor his legacy in this manner while he is still alive to enjoy it."

Sgt. First Class Donald J. Sleeman was a supply sergeant stationed in Japan during the Korean War from February 1952 to June 1953. He has been a member of the American Legion Elgin Post 57 for 66 years, serving three terms as commander.

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Sleeman, a lifelong Elginite, also served as the president of the Elgin Patriotic Memorial Association for more than 10 years and has been a member for more than 60 years, during which time he coordinated Memorial Day events and instituted the Avenue of Flags at the Bluff City Ceremony.

Sleeman has also worked closely with other civic and veteran organizations and city employees in coordinating Veterans Day, Flag Day, and New Citizens Recognition programs by providing rifle and honor guards.

"As you read through the bio of Mr. Sleeman, you just get impressed upon his service to our country, the humility that he's shown to our community over time and the care that he's had for veterans," Councilman Toby Shaw said.

"We need more Don's in this world," Shaw said. "He's the kind of guy that makes a foundation of a community."

A ceremony to unveil Sleeman's sign is tentatively scheduled for Feb. 1 at 2 p.m. Tate's dedication is yet to be scheduled.

"I'm very fortunate to know both of these gentlemen," Mayor David Kaptain said, before calling the city council roll for approval. "All I can say is that the highest honor I can give them is that they're both good men."

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