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State funeral for ‘Woody’ Williams, last WWII Medal of Honor recipient

WoodyWilliams

"Woody" Herschel Williams (left) is with Illinois State Chairman John M. Galer at a Gold Star Family Memorial dedication last May in Texas (Journal-News photo)

 

By JOHN M. GALER
The Journal-News, Hillsboro

During World War II, 473 men received the Congressional Medal of Honor for their service. The last of these men, Herschel "Woody" Williams, 98, of West Virginia, died on June 29, 2022.

As the last surviving Medal of Honor recipient, Williams will be awarded another great honor by lying in state at the United States Capitol on Thursday, July 14, as a final salute to the 16 million men and women who served in the Armed Forces from 1941 to 1945.

John M. Galer of Hillsboro, state chairman for Illinois for State Funeral for World War II Veterans explained that the group began its efforts on Labor Day of 2017.

"Then there were only four living Medal of Honor heroes from the second World War," he said. "The death of the final hero, U.S. Marine Corps Corporal Herschel 'Woody' Williams, is the perfect opportunity for a grateful nation to provide a final salute to those whom journalist Tom Brokaw called 'the Greatest Generation.'"

No enlisted service person has ever been offered a state funeral.

"This was the cornerstone of our effort for World War II veterans," Galer said.

General Douglas MacArthur received the Medal of Honor for his heroic defense of the Bataan Peninsula at the start of WWII. The supreme allied commander in the Pacific received a state funeral in Washington in 1964.

"We always believed that an enlisted man, who actually fought on the front lines and who was awarded a Medal of Honor, should receive the same," Galer said.

Today 35 million American families claim a parent, grandparent or close family member among those who defeated Nazism, Imperialism and Fascism to give us the world we enjoy today. There were 22 men who received the Medal of Honor from Illinois during the second World War.

The day the Marines raised the flag over Mount Suribachi on Iwo Jima, Woody Williams was busy destroying seven Japanese pillboxes using only his flamethrower on that island. Two of his four fellow Leathernecks providing him with cover fire were killed during the four-hour battle.

Williams wasn't just a hero in uniform, he and his family foundation conceived, created and placed 104 Gold Star Monuments in all 50 states to honor the families who lost a loved one in combat or military service.

"Today, in Illinois, and in every state, these beautiful black granite monuments are a lasting reminder that freedom is not free and has to be earned by each generation," Galer said.

The idea for a state funeral for the last Medal of Honor hero from World War II came from a junior high student, Rabel McNutt. Her godfather, Walter “Walt” Ehlers, was a holder of the Medal of Honor for his actions in Normandy in June 1944.

To prepare for attending his funeral, she and her dad, Lee William (Bill) McNutt, watched state funerals on YouTube.

"Daddy, let's get them to do a big funeral in Washington DC for Uncle (Walter) Ehlers' friends," she said.

As fate would have it, Walt Ehlers and Woody Williams were best friends and attended more than 100 Medal of Honor events together. Bill McNutt now serves as national chairman of the organization.

Helping make Rabel McNutt’s idea a reality, Galer said, were the success of state chairmen in securing support for a state funeral from the 16 state legislatures that passed resolutions; state governors' proclamations; the American Legion, which unanimously supported this at its 100th convention; the National World War II Museum; the National Medal of Honor Museum; the Military Order of the Purple Heart; the Marine Corps League; and many other patriotic groups.

"Here in Illinois, the Senate and House passed SJR029, a joint resolution in support of a state funeral for the last Medal of Honor recipient this spring," Galer said.

Illinois Governor JB Pritzker on May 19 wrote in a letter urging the state funeral which stated, "By honoring Mr. Williams with a state funeral, you would in turn allow for the nation to reflect on and commemorate the resolve of those who fought alongside him in Europe and the Pacific, and who offered immeasurable support back home in the United States. More than ever, it's crucial for us to stand together in recognition of the sacrifice, courage and patriotism that shaped the nation we call home today."

Both were sent to President Biden and congressional leaders.

"I'm very grateful for their support," Galer said.

Only about 300,000 of the 16 million men and women who wore our nation's uniform during WWII are still with us.

"Soon there will be no one living to tell us what it was like to have fought on Omaha
Beach, the sands of Iwo Jima, or survived the Bataan Death March. Our nation will be poorer for it," Galer said.

"As Woody Williams' coffin is carried on a horse-drawn caisson from our nation's Capitol to the World War II Memorial Thursday, let's pause as one America to honor him, and also honor the Greatest Generation," Galer said.

Illinois State Chairman John M. Galer makes his home in Hillsboro. He is the owner of The Journal-News in Hillsboro and nine other newspapers in central Illinois. He has had a long career working in community newspapers and is the vice chairman of the National Newspaper Association. He can be reached at 217-710-7319 or email at jmgaler@yahoo.com.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact:
Christopher Weishaar
Digital Public Relations Specialist
(515) 273-7140
cweishaar@studentloan.org
 

Ten $1,000 scholarships now open to Midwest high school seniors 

High school seniors from Illinois and five other Midwest states have a chance to earn the scholarships


WEST DES MOINES, IOWA — High school seniors from Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wisconsin now have a chance to receive one of 10 college scholarships worth $1,000. Registration is open now through April 28, 2023. Parents are also now able to register their student.

High school seniors or their parents may register for the ISL Midwest Senior Scholarship at www.IowaStudentLoan.org/Midwest. ISL Education Lending will award $1,000 scholarships to 10 students whose names are randomly drawn after the registration period. There are no financial need, grade point average or class rank requirements. The ISL Midwest Senior Scholarship can be used at any eligible institution in the United States.

Registered participants also receive emails highlighting financial literacy tips, such as the importance of early career and college planning and ways to reduce student loan indebtedness.

“Student loan debt is a huge concern for new college students,” said Steve McCullough, president and CEO of ISL Education Lending. “As a nonprofit, we provide tools and resources to help high school seniors plan so they can reduce the amount of debt they need to take on while achieving their education goals. Students sign up for a chance at a $1,000 scholarship, and we take that opportunity to share information with them about our free resources.”

The ISL Midwest Senior Scholarship is open to legal U.S. citizens who are seniors at a high school in one of the qualifying states during the 2022–2023 school year and who intend to attend college, either virtually or physically, in fall 2023. It is a no-purchase-required program, and full rules and details are available at www.IowaStudentLoan.org/Midwest.

Additional Resources Available

In addition to offering student loans, ISL Education Lending has other resources for families planning for college and for students who intend to pursue advanced degrees. The Parent Handbook consists of valuable tips to help families of students in sixth through 12th grades prepare for success in college and other postsecondary options. Parents of students in eighth through 12th grades can also sign up to receive twice-monthly emailed tips on academic, college and career planning through the Student Planning Pointers for Parents program. The College Funding Forecaster helps families understand the total cost of four years of college based on a freshman-year financial aid offer. Information about these resources is available at www.IowaStudentLoan.org/SmartBorrowing.


# # #


About ISL Education Lending

Established in 1979 as Iowa Student Loan Liquidity Corporation, a private, nonprofit organization, ISL Education Lending helps students and families obtain the resources necessary to succeed in postsecondary education. ISL has helped nearly 400,000 students pay for college, offering student loans and other products under the name ISL Education Lending. The organization, based in West Des Moines, Iowa, also provides an array of borrower benefits, financial literacy tools and community reinvestment programs, including support for free college planning services for students and their families. For more information, visit www.IowaStudentLoan.org.


 

 

 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact:  Stephanie Benson, program chair, at irc@illinoisreadingcouncil.org
Illinois Reading Council

http://illinoisreads.org and www.illinoisreadingcouncil.org
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/IllinoisReads
Twitter: https://twitter.com/IllinoisReads  #Illinoisreads

 

Illinois Reading Council's 
2023 Illinois Reads Book Selection 
featured at the
IRC Conference on March 9-10, 2023 

 

The Illinois Reading Council (IRC) has just released the list of ILLINOIS READS books for 2023. ILLINOIS READS is a statewide program that promotes reading for all Illinois citizens. The program promotes six books in six different age categories by authors and illustrators who have ties to Illinois. The books range from read-to books for infants to books for adult readers. Bookmarks and posters highlighting the ILLINOIS READS books will be available in early 2023. Order early as supplies are limited!

The 2023 ILLINOIS READS Program will also be featured at the annual IRC Conference in Springfield on March 9-10, 2023. Conference registration is now open for educators, librarians, and others interested in promoting literacy. More information is available at the Illinois Reading Council website.

The ILLINOIS READS book selections for 2023 are:
Ages Birth – 4 Years
Would You Come Too? by Liz Garton Scanlon and illustrated by Diana Sudyka
This is Music: Drums by Rekha S. Rajan
Chicago, Baby! by Feather Flores, illustrated by Kelly Leigh Miller
ABC Animals! by Stephen F. Majsak
I’ll Be Your Polar Bear by Justin Roberts
Molly on the Moon by Mary Robinette Kowal

Grades 3-5
Exquisite: The Poetry and Life of Gwendolyn Brooks by Suzanne Slade and illustrated by Cozbi A. Cabrera
Buzzing with Questions: The Inquisitive Mind of Charles Henry Turner by Janice N. Harrington
Pighearted by Alex Perry
A Rover’s Story by Jasmine Warga
Apple Crush by Lucy Knisley
Three Strike Summer by Skyler Schrempp

Grades 9-12
A Man Called Horse: John Horse and the Black Seminole Underground Railroad by Glennette Tilley Turner
Murder Among Friends: How Leopold and Loeb Tried to Commit the Perfect Crime by Candace Fleming
As Fast As Her: Dream Big, Break Barriers, Achieve Success by Kendall Coyne
Strike the Zither by Joan He
The Wolves Are Watching by Natalie Lund
Darling by K. Ancrum

Grades K-2
The Most Haunted House in America by Jarrett Dapier
Stella Keeps the Sun Up by Clothilde Ewing
Elephant’s Big Solo by Sarah Kurpiel
The Meaning of Pride by Rosiee Thor and illustrated by Sam Kirk
Tortoise and Hare: A Fairy Tale to Help You Find Balance by Susan Verde and illustrated by Jay Fleck
Yetis are the Worst! by Alex Willan

Grades 6-8
Courage by Barbara Binns
The Civil War of Amos Abernathy by Michael Leali 
Pilar Ramirez and the Escape from Zafa by Julian Randall Tumble by Celia C. Pérez
ReThink the Internet: How to Make the Digital World a Lot Less Sucky by Trisha Prabhu
Underground Fire: Hope, Sacrifice, and Courage in the Cherry Mine Disaster by Sally M. Walker

Adult
The Upstairs House: A Novel by Julia Fine 
Grace: President Obama and Ten Days in the Battle for America by Cody Keenan
Eat, Drink, and Be Murray: A Feast of Family Fun and Favorites by Andy Murray
Remarkably Bright Creatures: A Novel by Shelby Van Pelt
The Two Lives of Sara by Catherine Adel West
Last Summer on State Street: A Novel by Toya Wolfe

ILLINOIS READS is sponsored by the Illinois Reading Council, a nonprofit organization with close to 2,000 members across the State of Illinois. The mission of the Illinois Reading Council is to provide support and leadership to all who promote and teach lifelong literacy. Book lists from 2013 to 2022 may be found on the ILLINOIS READS website. More information is also available at www.IllinoisReads.org and www.IllinoisReadingCouncil.org.

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Nic Skovgaard  
Certifiable Marketing Maniac 
(618) 967-0474

Nic@AlterYourMarketing.com


TED talk brings entrepreneur full circle
 

HERRIN, Illinois — Nic Skovgaard, owner of AlterEgo Marketing in Herrin, has been named one of eight presenters at the upcoming TEDxSIUC conference, March 4 at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Skovgaard will share his first-ever TED talk, “The Future is Vertical: Why Vertical Video Will Flip Your Screen Forever.”

The trip to the TEDx stage will be special for Skovgaard, who said it was other TED presentations which laid the foundation for his company, a recognized leader in brand development, digital presence and traditional marketing.

“I built my company (AlterEgo Marketing in Herrin) because of two TED talks,” he explained. “Everything about who I am as a person and everything I’ve done of the last decade can be traced back to those two TED talks.”

Skovgaard said a 2009 presentation by Simon Sinek called “Start with Why” and Drew Dudley’s 2010 talk “Everyday Leadership” greatly impacted him. Sinek’s speech explored how leaders can inspire cooperation, trust and change.

“I will tell you that everything I’ve done with my company, in working with the Jackson CEO program, any volunteering I have done and any mentoring work, all can be traced back to those TED talks. Drew Dudley’s talk completely changed my life as he talked about ‘lollipop’ moments and leadership and how you could be a leader at any place and at any time” he said.

Skovgaard said since first seeing the two presentations, he has tried to follow the speakers’ advice.

“I have been on this quest to have that same kind of impact that those two individuals have had on me,” he said. “If I could make just a bit of that impact on another person’s life, it would mean the world to me."

As one of those speakers who influenced Skovgaard, Dudley said he feels as though the Herrin native already is changing others’ lives and he is honored to have Skovgaard relate his impact.

Dudley said, "’Lucky’ is a more appropriate term, because knowing Nic feels like that can impact me every day. I believe leadership exists in individual moments of interpersonal impact and it's the role of a leader to create those moments every day. On the days I feel too tired, too angry, or too filled with self-doubt to try to live like that, words like Nic's can be a reminder how much recognizing someone else's impact on your life can matter to that person.”

TED talks are presentations, often recorded, at conferences on a variety of topics to educate or inspire. Called “ideas worth sharing,” speakers are selected for TED-sponsored or individual local gatherings called TEDx events. Skovgaard was among those chosen from a pool of 50 potential presenters.

In his talk, Skovgaard will be sharing what he sees as a shift in how videos are presented online, exploring a shift to a vertical (or portrait) orientation rather than the once-encouraged horizontal format. He said the change, driven in part by the TikTok social media platform, is based on how individuals consume video content.

“There is no such thing as horizontal video anymore. If I were to give one piece of advice for online video, it would be to never turn your camera sideways again,” he said, emphatically. “TikTok has completely changed that game and everyone else is copying it. I would tell you there is no reason from this day forward to shoot any video landscape unless you are doing it for television.”

Skovgaard said it is a dream come true to be scheduled for the TEDxSIUC event. Dudley said he knows Skovgaard is looking to help others through his presentation.

“While delivering a TED Talk might be a personal goal for Nic, the work he's been putting in to make it happen has focused on creating content that helps others at every step of the way. I think Nic sees the TED stage not as a platform to make him look good but rather as a platform to do good; to share ideas that he thinks will make the lives of other people better,” Dudley said.

The 2023 TEDxSIUC event is set for Saturday, March 4 in the SIU Student Center. Tickets will be available in January.

 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Deborah A. Newman 
Deborah Newman Marketing/Communications
(630) 846-4759

dnmcinc@ntsource.com

 

Turning Pointe to fund critical support services for families of students with autism; lucky raffle winner to take home $80,000 luxury hybrid SUV 

NAPERVILLE, IL — Supporting Turning Pointe Autism Foundation will prove lucky for one family who will win an MSRP $80,000 2023 Toyota Sequoia Capstone Twin Turbo V6 Hybrid SUV for the cost of a $100 raffle ticket. But for scores of autistic students and their families who attend Turning Pointe, the proceeds of the raffle will provide critical funds to aid the Family Support and Respite activities at Turning Pointe.

Thanks to Toyota of Naperville, a member of the Dan Wolf Automotive Group, Turning Pointe is selling just 2,000 tickets at $100 each for the luxury family SUV. The winning ticket will be drawn at Toyota of Naperville, 1488 West Ogden Ave. in Naperville on Dec. 15. The winner need not be present to win.

Giving Families Skills and Resources

“Our son Alex needs to be under constant supervision,” says dad Arnold. ”Even though he’s 19, it’s kind of like raising a toddler. If I step away for a moment, I’m still worrying that he’ll need something and not be able to find me to get help. Everything about our family life revolves around him. My wife and I are always on guard. But since we’ve been at Turning Pointe, instead of living in a bubble, we have been empowered with Family Support seminars on legal, financial and health issues. As Alex’s behavior has become more manageable, his relationship with his sister has improved, and we’ve learned so much that now we can take him on outings and even travel.”

Expanding Resources Needed Most

“The raffle is an important and exciting fundraiser for Turning Pointe,” says Carrie Provenzale, executive director. “The funding it generates will give us an opportunity to support the growing number of families living with children impacted by autism. We know best-practice interventions can vastly improve students’ future independence. The past few years, as more families have learned of an autism diagnosis, supports have been stretched and classrooms at other providers have closed as a result of the pandemic. The raffle funds will allow Turning Pointe to continue expanding support for families.”

Engaging Compassionate High School Volunteers

Arnold says the Saturday Respite program allows Alex to be among friends and staff who understand him and keep him safe. “My wife and I can actually do things together, like enjoy a meal in a ‘non-Alex-friendly’ restaurant and just let our guard down for a bit. It’s a program that Alex enjoys, and he can spend time with neuro-typical high school student volunteers from the Benet Academy Benet Buddies program, who help him socialize. Before Turning Pointe, our life was pretty chaotic. But Turning Pointe has become our family and now we see hope.”

Ensuring Specialized Quality Education and Employment Training

Turning Pointe Autism Foundation was founded 15 years ago by Kim and Randy Wolf, who together with other parents of autistic children, teamed with professionals to build on programming which has proven effective for children diagnosed with Autism. Turning Pointe strives to raise the quality of educational support for children and young adults through a Day School for students from ages 5 to 22 and Adult Services offering support for independent living and employment. As a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, the organization relies on the partnership of volunteers, donors, school districts, and employment partners to build a thriving center for students learning with autism.

For more information on Turning Pointe Autism Foundation visit https://turningpointeautismfoundation.org. To buy tickets to the 2022 Toyota Sequoia Capstone Raffle by Dec. 15, 2022, visit https://turningpointeautismfoundation.org/2022-toyota-raffle/.

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