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.
Family and friends held a vigil for Jerry and Susan McFalls of West Jordan, who went missing from their second home in Littlefield, Arizona, a month ago. They were last heard from Jan. 11, and their disappearance is still being investigated. “We’re hanging tough,” Meridee McFalls, the couple's daughter-in-law said. The Woods Cross resident said her husband, Jerry, who is named after his father, will return to Arizona this week to continue searching. “We’ve got lots of people out searching,” she said. “The area, unfortunately, where they’re from is so vast that if you’re not standing on top of it, you can’t see it three feet in front of you.” She said the family has seen people supporting and reaching out from “all over the place.” “We appreciate that the most,” she said. Pictured: Maryann Olsen, of Lehi, a family friend of the McFalls, participates in the vigil Feb. 11 at Heartland Elementary School in West Jordan. — Feb. 11, 2018, West Jordan, Utah.
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.
"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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Thursday, Nov. 3, 2016, at SIU Arena. Lloyd scored a team high 13 points in the game. — Nov. 3, 2016, Carbondale, Illinois.
Jasper's Mariah Seifert and Riley Merder hug as they celebrated the Wildcats' 2-0 championship victory against Evansville Memorial on Sept. 23 at the Jasper High School Volleyball Invitational. Seifert said Evansville Memorial is one of the team's biggest rivals. "Beating them it just feels so good for all of us considering it could be our (the seniors) last time playing them," the Wildcat senior said. "Especially since we're in our home gym. Like this is our house so we just came out ready to go." — Sept. 23, 2017, Jasper, Indiana.
Jarod Knust of Schnellville, 16, lets out a yell has he competed with his tug of war team the “Schnellville Tuggers” on July 20 at the Dubois County 4-H Fairgrounds in Bretzville. — July 20, 2017, Bretzville, Indiana.
The Raiders gather around head coach Scott Buening as he led them in prayer following Southridge's 17-16 win against the Miners, the defending state champions, Aug. 18 in Linton. "We had to stay tough. We had to stay together, play like a team and be like a family," Southridge's Colin Smith said about the win. He said the prayer brings the players closer as a team. — Aug. 18, 2017, Linton, 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.
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.
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 Saturday at Jasper High School. — Dec. 16, 2017, Jasper, 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.
Marcus Morey, of Fort Scott, Kansas, takes a break from the rodeo with his eight-month-old Blue Heeler, Dolly, on Sept. 3 during the Du Quoin State Fair rodeo. “I live for [rodeo],” Morey said. He said Dolly usually travels with him when competing in rodeos. — Sept. 3, 2016, Du Quoin, Illinois.
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 players join hands on the sideline as team captains took the field for the coin toss prior to the start of Friday's matchup against Gibson Southern in Lincoln City. Patriot coach Todd Wilkerson said the significance of the gesture was to come together as a team and show them getting into the same mindset before the game starts. "We've been doing that as a team for years," he said. The Patriots fells to the Titans 48-7. — Sept. 22, 2017, Lincoln City, Indiana.