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Opinion

Schrader: Another five who served their country

In November, I wrote a column about the five Ryan brothers from DeKalb who all served in the military and thought at the time I would never find another family with the same record.

Well, not long after the column appeared I received a call from Virginia McMillion of Sycamore, whom I have known for a number of years. She let me know her late husband Lane was one of five brothers from his family who were all on active duty over the years.

The oldest, Emmett “Mac” McMillion, joined the Army in 1942 during World War II and was a supply driver for a mobile hospital. Next was Jim who joined the Navy and did two stints in the service (1948-52 and 1954-56). He was a radar operator in the Mediterranean most of that time.

Next was Dean who served in the Navy in the Korean War (1951-56) on the USS Kearsarge. Dean is the only surviving brother, now living in Franklin Grove. For his 80th birthday five years ago he went skydiving, his sister-in-law Virginia said. Her husband, Lane, was a sergeant in the Marine Corps and served in Korea from 1953-56. More about Lane later.

The youngest of the brothers, Randy, spent his career in the Air Force, working as a helicopter mechanic, serving from 1957 to 1979. He took part in helicopter rescue missions in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. He later served as an adviser to the Saudi Air Force. After retirement, he worked for the McDonnell Douglas aircraft company.

Getting back to Lane, I knew him through our church and went to his home to write about his hobby of building dollhouses. Over the years he built 63 dollhouses, including several log cabins. Many of them he donated for charity fundraisers and was a regular contributor to the Pay-It-Forward House. Not only did he build them, he also furnished each one with miniature furniture he made himself in most cases. His widow Virginia still has the large one he built for her, and a couple of others she cherishes.

So the McMillion family deserves our gratitude for their unselfish service to our nation.

On another subject, a month ago I wrote about the Chicago Tribune overlooking DeKalb County when publishing a series of Bicentennial Bucket lists about things to see and do in Illinois this year. After chiding the newspaper, I received a nice email from their travel editor explaining how they make their choices. Then Sunday in their latest installment, listing the 20 most essential sports experiences in the state was No. 19 – the Sycamore Speedway. They mentioned it was one of the sites where the movie “At Any Price” was filmed starring Dennis Quaid and Zac Efron. They didn’t bother to mention, however, that the late Wilbur Bastian from Hinckley also appeared in the movie. But at least we are back on the Tribune’s radar.

• Barry Schrader can be reached via email at barry815@sbcglobal.net or through P.O. Box 851, DeKalb, IL 60115. His past columns can be found archived on his website www.dekalbcountylife.com.

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