As students process through a blessing of backpacks ceremony Aug. 13 at Trinity United Church of Christ's Sunday service, Pastor Jane Hillman says a prayer for Corbin Schnarr of Jasper, 6. Hillman said she hopes to impart upon students that God is with them at school as well as in church. “Kids are comforted by having their backpack blessed,” she said. “One kid got a new backpack during the year and brought it back in because he wanted it blessed. It gives them that symbol that God is with them.” The Flanagan, Illinois, native brought the practice with her when she started at Trinity in 2013. — Aug. 13, 2017, Jasper, Indiana.
For 30 years, Bob Meyer has placed American flags along roadways in his hometown of St. Henry. "What started out as just decorations went much, much deeper. It's the symbol of freedom," Meyer said Sept. 2 after completing a round of flag placement. "And that ties in big time with all these veterans here in this town." He said his mother, Nip Meyer, was on the decorating committee when the community celebrated its 125th anniversary in 1987 and asked him to put up the flags initially. Three decades later, Meyer is still placing the flags out for Labor Day, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Veterans Day, September 11 and the community's annual festival. "When I started I thought, 'Well I'll do them as long as my mom wants me to," he said. "And then bless her heart, she's still here today for this 30th anniversary." — Sept. 2, 2017, St. Henry, Indiana.
Chase McClelland, of Cardwell, Mo., and his cousin Elliot Smith, 4, of Arbyrd, Mo., sit atop a chute during the bull riding portion of the Greene County Fair's rodeo Sept. 6 in Paragould. McClelland said his cousin came to the rodeo to ride a sheep in the mutton busting. The rodeo also featured assorted competitions such as barrel racing and ring of fear. — Sept. 6, 2018, Paragould, Arkansas.
Kaitlyn Davenport and Jacob Grimes, both of Brookland, share a kiss while making the final descent on a carnival ride Sept. 19 at the Northeast Arkansas District Fair in Jonesboro. The pair said they have been dating for six months. In addition to the midway, fairgoers had the chance to visit a petting zoo, view livestock and treat themselves to assorted carnival fare. — Sept. 19, 2018, Jonesboro, Arkansas.
“It’s rough,” Jasmine Parker said about taking care of her father. “I don’t know if it’s going to be weeks or months. I mean I feel like he doesn’t have that much longer to go.” The Lehi resident said this Jan. 27 about her 79-year-old father, Richard "Dick" Fisher, of Cottonwood Heights, who died March 20. Fisher quit smoking more than 20 years ago, but died of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) which Mayo Clinic defines as “a chronic inflammatory lung disease that causes obstructed airflow from the lungs.” Fisher would receive help throughout the week from various professionals and Parker would visit her father every weekend and sometimes throughout the week depending on her schedule. “It’s hard to run two households,” she said speaking also about her own family. “But what do you do? I mean they take care of you when you’re little so I mean it’s the right thing to do.” Pictured: Fisher is embraced by his daughter, Parker, before she departs from her father's home Jan. 27 in Cottonwood Heights. — Jan. 27, 2018, Cottonwood Heights, Utah.
"You come to see your loved ones," Army veteran Nicholas Fotiadis of East Moline said after kneeling at the gravestone of his wife Mary Ann Fotiadis. "I think what [Memorial Day] is supposed to stand for is the important thing. … If you served, I think you deserve this." Fotiadis, whose father and brothers also served in the military, placed a yellow rose and an American holly at his wife’s grave May 30 at Rock Island National Cemetery. — May 30, 2016, Rock Island Arsenal, Illinois.
Tammie Swinney, of Carbondale, takes part in a worship service Oct. 30 at Olivet Free Will Baptist Church in Carbondale. “I do believe that [at] Olivet, we all love each other,” said Olivet deacon Kent Mason. “I mean, I can go talk to any brother, any sister and they say they’ll help me. They’ll do things for me. I mean that’s what you want. You want to be a family. And we are a family.” This year the church celebrates 150 years in the Carbondale community. — Oct. 30, 2016, Carbondale, Illinois.
Forest Park seniors Olivia Brames and Quinn Highhouse hold hands after learning about the Rangers' third-place Class D finish in the state marching band finals Nov. 4 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Highhouse said the two have been in the percussion section together for three years. The Forest Park Marching Rangers placed as the Class D state runner-up last season and earned the title of state champions four times between 2012 to 2015. — Nov. 4, 2017, Indianapolis, Indiana.
Andrea Knepp, of Loogootee, 3, watches as young members of Mt. Nebo Mennonite Church gathered to sing following a Sunday morning service and lunch Oct. 29 at the church in Newberry. Andrea's father, Stanley Knepp, said Mennonite women start wearing the headship covering, seen on women in foreground, around kindergarten age although the age varies in some churches. Mt. Nebo Mennonite Church also practices segregated seating where women and men sit on different sides of the church aisle during the service. — Oct. 29, 2017, Newberry, Indiana.
Learn more about the Knepps and their faith-driven way of life in the “Simply Believers” story under the Projects tab.
Ron Bristol cares for Lucy after the dog was rescued by firefighters from a house fire June 21 on 19th Avenue in Moline. Bristol, a neighbor of the Carr family whose house caught fire, said Lucy was located in the basement of the home. Jim Versluis, a training officer with the Moline Fire Department, said Lucy and Truman, the family’s other dog, were rescued from the home, but the family’s bird died. Jasmine and Daniel Carr and their two sons were not home at the time of the fire. Jan MacFarlane, a neighbor to the family, said the family moved in a few weeks ago. — June 21, 2016, Moline, Illinois.
Jason Desmond, of Lehi, rests his Winchester rifle, given to him by his grandfather, on his shoulder while attending a pro-gun rally on the steps of the Utah State Capitol on April 14 in Salt Lake City. Desmond said he attended the event because he believes people need to come out to support what they believe in. “This is something I believe in,” Desmond said. “I’m not a huge gun nut, but I don’t like that the Second Amendment is under attack and getting all the attention that it is in the media.” At the protest, demonstrators heard from numerous speakers airing their anti-gun control beliefs. — April 14, 2018, Salt Lake City, Utah.
Southern Illinois sophomore guard Sean Lloyd kicks his leg into the air following a play near the conclusion of the Salukis' 72-67 exhibition victory against UMSL on Nov. 3 at SIU Arena. Lloyd scored a team high 13 points in the game. — Nov. 3, 2016, Carbondale, Illinois.
Southern Illinois guard Brittney Patrick attempts to block a layup by Owls guard April Gebke during SIU’s 78-58 exhibition win against William Woods University on Oct. 27 at SIU Arena. “It’s hard when you’re playing against yourself all the time to really know where you’re challenged,” SIU coach Cindy Stein said. “That’s why it’s good to have a game like this.” — Oct. 27, 2016, Carbondale, Illinois.
Rowland Hall's Justin Peng yells after he and teammate, Soren Feola, won their doubles match against Richfield's Jason Haywood and Justus Reitz during the Class 3A state championships on May 12 at George S. Eccles Tennis Center in Salt Lake City. Peng and Feola's victory sealed Rowland Hall's team victory in the Class 3A state championship. — May 12, 2018, Salt Lake City, Utah.
Forest Park senior Taylor Bayer acts out pulling Forest Park eighth-grader Bryce Troesch from the womb of Forest Park senior Nolan Gentry, right, during halftime of the Rangers' 55-34 victory against Jasper in the Dubois County Hoops Classic on Dec. 16 at Jasper High School. — Dec. 16, 2017, Jasper, Indiana.
Ryan Mullis, of Ferdinand, lunges for the ball during the Schnellville Community Club's annual mud volleyball tournament July 9 in Schnellville. "I'm not as young as I used to be," Mullis said. "This is the first time we've been back since 15 years ago." He said he didn't think about the fact he was getting covered in mud at the tournament. "You're just playing volleyball," he said. — July 9, 2017, Schnellville, Indiana.
After a layup in the final seconds of the game from Karlie Valdez, the Fremont Silverwolves celebrate in the locker room after defeating Riverton 48-46 in the Class 6A state quarterfinals Feb. 22 at Salt Lake Community College in Taylorsville. — Feb. 22, 2018, Taylorsville, Utah.
Southern Illinois senior guard Cartaesha Macklin kisses her son, Carson Verhines, 1, after SIU’s 74-56 win against Evansville on Jan. 16 at SIU Arena. During the game, Macklin became the top scorer in Saluki women’s basketball history, beating Amy Rakers' record of 1,540 career points. — Jan. 16, 2016, Carbondale, Illinois.
Heritage Hills’ Spencer Buse and Gibson Southern’s Dylan Stefanich bow their heads with other Patriots and Titans as the teams gather for a post-game prayer following Heritage Hills’ 48-7 loss to Gibson Southern on Sept. 22 in Lincoln City. — Sept. 22, 2017, Lincoln City, Indiana.