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Duchnowski: Spreading goodwill on a marquee

Imagine having a Twitter account that more than 20,000 people, on average, see a day.

It doesn’t seem that striking if you’re Justin Bieber, who has more than 21 million followers at @justinbieber, or Kim Kardashian, who has more than 18 million followers at @KimKardashian. (For perspective, @Daily_Chronicle had 2,563 Twitter followers Tuesday afternoon, and Gov. Pat Quinn, @GovernorQuinn, had 9,889 followers.)

The Family Service Agency, 14 Health Services Drive, DeKalb, has something a little more old-school, though.

They have a marquee, which receptionist Jodie Bracken changes twice a week. It takes her about 45 minutes to swap the letters each time, but she’s put up sayings that have caught my eye more than once in the past six months or so.

If you’d like to check it out, look for the sign on the west side of Route 23 south of Bethany Road. The Illinois Department of Transportation estimates about 23,500 vehicles pass that area daily, according to its 2012 average daily traffic count statistics. You also can find the agency online at

On Tuesday, the marquee was encouraging passers-by with: “I am seeking, I am striving, I am in it with all my heart.”

The other side of the marquee thanks Monsanto for the $6,000 check Monsanto Fund representatives gave the agency Monday for its Big Brothers Big Sisters program.

Last week, the marquee thanked sponsors and participants in the Family Service Agency’s kickoff fundraiser, and reminded us: “Disagreements cannot be avoided but destructive ones can.”

The marquee also recently wished agency Executive Director David Miller a happy birthday. Sometimes, Bracken uses the space to promote community events for United Way or other agencies, so long as Miller approves it.

Agency counselors sometimes suggest positive statements, or Bracken searches the Internet for sayings related to the season.

From time to time, there will be a Bears or Packers reference because Miller is a Packers fan. A marquee message meant as lighthearted ribbing after a Packers loss once compelled an irate Packers fan to stomp into the agency’s lobby.

“We’re a good group of people,” said Bracken, who joined the agency almost three years ago. “We like to razz each other.”

• Jillian Duchnowski is the Daily Chronicle’s news editor. Reach her at 815-756-4841, ext. 2221, or email

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