On her second stint in Iraq, Vickey McDonald, a grandmother who lives in rural Rankin, was on her way from Tikrit to Mosul when she and her companions drove into a mortar and rocket attack.
They ducked out of their armored sport utility vehicle and into the nearest Iraqi police station for refuge – only to find the station was the focus of the attack.
CHAMPAIGN – For the better part of the 30 years she's lived in Champaign, Lucia Scully has volunteered at her children's school, a local hospital, delivering meals to senior citizens, running a low-cost food distribution program, and as an election judge.
But the native Peruvian seems to have found her real calling working as a volunteer translator for Spanish-speaking clients of the Frances Nelson Health Center in Champaign.
SAVOY – On Sept. 14, a 67-year-old St. Louis man was flying home alone in his Piper Seneca III when the plane went into a nose dive at 2,800 feet per minute.
It took all of Willard Nickisch's strength to pull out of that 15-second descent, which had brought him down to 5,000 feet above central Illinois, just after noon.
URBANA – For 35 years, University of Illinois Dean William Alfeld helped train future communicators, all the while fighting technology in his own life.
The associate dean in the College of Communications was an intellectual who graduated from Columbia University, a gourmet cook known for his divinity, a problem-solver for many a mathematically challenged journalist, the keeper of the history of Carrollton, Ill., and the sustaining water source for flowers everywhere.
CHAMPAIGN – The young people of 50 years ago were integrating the public schools in Little Rock, Ark., and New Orleans. College students risked their lives to register black voters in the South.
They were using their lives to push forward the cause of equal rights for blacks.
URBANA – The longtime associate director of the Urbana Free Library has emerged as the leading candidate to replace retiring Executive Director Fred Schlipf.
The library board held a reception Thursday afternoon for Debra Lissak, 54, the associate director at the Urbana library for the past 23 years. She was scheduled to be interviewed by the library board in executive session Thursday night.
DANVILLE – Schlarman High School senior Adam Muehl can't think of Monsignor Charles "Bourke" Motsett without cracking a smile.
That's because whenever the beloved priest spoke at high school masses and athletic banquets, he always made the students laugh.
LODA –The sun beat down on Ryan Coe as he stepped up to bat in a baseball game last August.
But a wild pitch hit him in the elbow. By the time he reached second base, his elbow was sore. And when another batter drove Ryan home, Ryan was struggling for breath as he rounded third base.
MAHOMET – How many 19-year-olds need to find an accountant and financial planner?
Jimmy Fricke of Mahomet finds himself in such a position after bringing home $800,000 from the Aussie Millions Tex-as Hold 'em tournament onJan. 19.
URBANA – Ricky Baldwin isn't afraid to go where his convictions lead him.
When the local political activist and his wife, Catherine Gray, moved to Champaign-Urbana in December 2001 with 4-month-old twin boys in tow, Baldwin had a choice to make.