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Five honored at 2006 Tribute to Heroes

MALTA - Joanna Bark recalled the years her husband, Donald Bark, served as a Sandwich police officer, a job he truly loved. &#8220I don't think he ever gave anybody a ticket,” she said about her husband, who is now deceased. &#8220If people were going fast, he'd stop them to see where they were going because maybe he would want to go there too.” The crowd of 150 at the annual Tribute to Heroes awards dinner at Kishwaukee College broke into laughter as Joanna Bark told the story. It was one of many times during the evening that there was laughter. And several times there were tears. Four awards were given at the event. Proceeds went to the Three Fires Council of the Boy Scouts of America. State Sen. Brad Burzynski, R-Clare, led the crowd in singing the national anthem, and the night's theme was set with a slide show by Daily Chronicle Webmaster Lindsay Barron that paid tribute to community and military heroes together. -- Donald Bark, a 4th Ward Sandwich alderman, died in April, ending a career that has included his experience as a DeKalb County sheriff's deputy, a 28-year volunteer with the Sandwich Fair, a founding member of Sandwich's Emergency Ambulance Service and an employee of the DeKalb County Highway Department. &#8220When Don passed, the mayor lost a right-hand man,” 3rd Ward Alderman Harold Dannewitz said. &#8220When Tommy (Mayor Tom Thomas) needed something checked on, Don was there to do it.” In accepting the award, Joanna Bark laughed about the good times she shared with her husband, a fifth-generation Sandwich resident. Sunday mornings, she recalled, he would take a trip around his 4th Ward, checking to make sure that public utilities were all in order. &#8220He would come home with a list he would give the city crews on Monday morning,” she said. But she choked up as she thanked the Scouts. &#8220My husband was an ordinary man who lived an extraordinary life,” she said. &#8220Thank you for this honor.” -- Thirty years ago, Cliff Golden temporarily took over as Scoutmaster for Troop 33 in DeKalb. The old Scoutmaster had died, and Golden didn't want to see the troop disbanded, so he agreed to run things for a while. He's still at it. &#8220He has touched hundreds, thousands of lives,” said DaRin Ryan, who was a Scout under Golden 23 years ago. &#8220Many of his Scouts have become doctors, lawyers, and executives of companies,” Ryan said. &#8220Cliff has been an inspiration in my life and in many other lives,” he said. Larry Aska said Golden's troop has raised money by running the concession stand at soccer games and holding pancake breakfasts. The money has paid for trips to areas devastated by Hurricane Katrina, where the Scouts helped in relief efforts. Golden said he has learned from his boys. &#8220They keep me going,” he said. -- Sally Stevens served as secretary to six presidents at Northern Illinois University. She retired four years before John Peters became president in 2000. Thursday night, Peters said he wished she had stayed on. Stevens has donated money to help build the Barsema Alumni and Visitors Center and for scholarships. During her time at Northern, she was much more than the president's secretary, Peters said. She was the person who made sure that every visitor was greeted with politeness and courtesy. She personified the university and the DeKalb community. &#8220If you took a family portrait of NIU, she would be front and center,” he said. &#8220If you took a family picture of DeKalb, she would be in the same spot. &#8220She was not a person of wealth,” he said. &#8220She gave all of her wealth to NIU and to DeKalb.” When she retired in 1996, he said, more than 1,000 people attended her retirement reception. NIU Athletic Director Jim Phillips praised her for her loyalty and her support of Huskie athletic teams. Stevens thanked the group for the award, though she said she never sought recognition for what she did. She said she still feels like a part of the Northern community. Many classes invite her to their reunions, she said. -- Kathy Siebrasse works as an aide to state Sen. Brad Burzynski, R-Clare. But Burzynski said, in fact, he works for Siebrasse. He introduced Chuck and Kathy Siebrasse as honorees at the Tribute to Heroes. The couple ran The MidWeek for 19 years and have been involved in a dozen community organizations. Chuck Siebrasse is now executive director of the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce. Kathy is the chamber's marketing director. &#8220There have been many great teams over the years,” Burzynski said. &#8220Burns and Allen, Fibber McGee and Molly, Batman and Robin, Roy Rogers and Dale Evans ...” &#8220But usually it was the pretty face who was out front,” he said. &#8220No so with Chuck and Kathy.” Kathy has often done the behind-the-scenes work, Burzynski said. Kathy recalled growing up in a family of Eagle Scouts. &#8220I was always prepared,” she said. &#8220Scouting prepared me for my life,” she said.

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