Local DAR chapter honors groups for community service

The Gen. John Stark Chapter of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution of Sycamore recently honored two groups from the DeKalb County community with DAR Community Service Awards.

The awards are presented on local, state and national levels to individuals and groups who have contributed to their communities in an outstanding voluntary, heroic, civil or benevolent manner, or who have participated in or organized community activities.

The first group honored, commonly known as “Taking Care of our Caretakers – DeKalb County,” was formed shortly after the COVID-19 stay-at-home order was issued in 2020.

A group of local women – Melissa Butts, Christi Coulter, Sue Christiansen, Katie Geer, Tammy Harper, Brenda Jergens, Patricia Myers and Jennifer Yochem – started raising money in an effort to support local restaurants, caretakers and essential workers.

The idea was that residents of DeKalb County would donate funds or gift cards for the group to use in purchasing food and snacks from local restaurants and businesses. The food and snacks would then be delivered by the group to local caretakers and essential workers at hospitals, clinics, retirement homes and first responders all across the county. The restaurants and businesses, in turn, would benefit from the purchases while closed to sit-in dining or shopping.

The initial goal was to raise $3,000. Within four months more than $30,000 was raised. To date the group has raised more than $50,000. The group documented what was spent, who they had bought food/meals from, and where they delivered each day. As the money in the fund continued to grow, they expanded the deliveries to essential workers in grocery stores, auto care facilities, school custodians and more.

While many individuals volunteered with the group over time, these eight women were the main organizers and administrators. Each deserves praise and recognition for their community service to the residents and businesses of DeKalb County.

The second group recognized with a DAR Community Service Award is the DeKalb County Quilters’ Guild. This already-established group quickly stepped up to sew masks when one of its members alerted them that the memory care facility where she worked was quickly running out of PPE and needed some back-up masks. The quilters’ guild stepped up and from there, with other requests coming to them, they began working with the DeKalb County Health Department to organize requests, quantities, pickups and drop-offs.

Working separately, yet together, they searched for and shared the best patterns for masks, figured out the best ways to work around an elastic shortage, and used up their personal fabric stores. Each week brought more requests. In 10 days, the group made 678 masks, and by April 4, 2020, they had 1,305 masks made. To date, the group has made and distributed more than 5,000 masks in DeKalb and neighboring counties.

Supporting each other and the community, all with good cheer, the DeKalb County Quilters’ Guild deserves to be recognized for its service in helping to keep DeKalb County and its neighbors safe during trying times.

The Gen. John Stark Chapter of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution was formed in Sycamore in 1907. The DAR is nonprofit, nonpolitical volunteer women’s service organization dedicated to promoting patriotism, preserving American history and securing America’s future through better education. For more information, visit DAR.org or email GeneralJohnStarkNSDAR@gmail.com.