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.
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.
"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.
Tanya Soni of Dale, 10, performs a traditional Mexican dance Sept. 2 at the fifth annual Latino Cultural Festival in Huntingburg. Festival goers had the opportunity to experience Latino food, music and dance at the event. — Sept. 2, 2017, Huntingburg, Indiana.
"He's so sweet and kind and loving," said 12-year-old Cheyenne Scherle of Ireland about Bubby shortly after she gave him a kiss July 19 at the Dubois County 4-H Fairgrounds in Bretzville. Scherle, who shows sheep, goats, pigs and cattle at the fair, said she likes 4-H because she gets to meet new people and have fun with her animals. — July 19, 2017, Bretzville, Indiana.
Toney Hardison of Newburgh, Tony Sandage of Boonville, Kenny Cook of Paoli and Tom Tweedy of Boonville wait for the start of Aug. 23's shooting match at the Celestine Community Club. The match featured 30 rounds of marksmen competing for various prizes of beef and pork. — Aug. 23, 2017, Celestine, Indiana.
Monsignor Ken Schaefer receives a bouquet of flowers from Sophie El Kajawaii-Louban, a Pre-K student at OLMC, as the pastor exits the church at the conclusion of the Easter Sunday masses April 16 at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church in Herrin. Schaefer said he enjoys being a priest because of the effect he sees in the lives of people. "In ministry, when you see people growing in their faith, it's sort of like a parent watching their child start walking and talking," he said. — April 16, 2017, Herrin, Illinois.
Birdseye Fire Chief Dave Smith surveyed the remains of the Koerner Block Building on Oct. 12 after the structure caught fire in Birdseye. Smith said the cause of the fire was “suspicious in nature.” He said Birdseye, Schnellville and English fire departments responded to the fire. — Oct. 12, 2017, Birdseye, Indiana.
Jacquiese Robinson, a Southern Illinois University student of Chicago, pauses while listening to other demonstrators at a stop during a march across the SIU campus Jan. 20 as part of a student walkout event. “I actually came out to pretty much give people love and just be there for one another,” Robinson said. “Not to bash people or target anybody, but to show people that we are hurt, we’re emotional, and right now what we need is each other. Basically, to be there for my people.” — Jan. 20, 2017, Carbondale, Illinois.
Three-year-old Bailey Myers receives a drink from her grandmother Mary Wrye, both of Joppa, after making a trip down the slide during the Joppa Fall Festival on Oct. 8 at the village park. "She's my life," Wrye said of her grandchild. "She's everything to me. We spend a lot of time together and she keeps me busy." She said her granddaughter's smile is one of her favorite parts of spending time with her. "Just watching her growing up has just been amazing," Wrye said. The lifelong resident of the village of 400 described her granddaughter as priceless. — Oct. 8, 2016, Joppa. Illinois.
Linda Gibbs of Carbondale participates in a worship service Nov. 13 at Olivet Free Will Baptist Church in Carbondale. “Just being part of a church family,” Gibbs said. “It keeps you coming. … Olivet is special because they’re really friendly people. They go out of their way. They really do. And it’s genuine.” The 62-year-old said she was baptized at Olivet when she was 8 years old. This year the church is celebrating 150 years in the Carbondale community. — Nov. 13, 2016, Carbondale, Illinois.