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Kevin Hieronymus

Taking care of its own

You know what the best thing about Bureau County is? It’s the people, without a doubt, and how they take care of their own.

There were three events over the weekend — the Jimmy D Golf Outing, the Nancy Olds-Bohm Memorial 5K Run/Walk and the fourth annual Jay Braida Golf Outing — that ring that statement most true.

Each are simply remarkable events in their own special way, honoring the memory of dearly departed with friends and family giving back to their community.

The Jimmy D has been going 31-years strong, honoring the late Jimmy DeAngelo by contributing to the cancer unit at St. Margaret’s Hospital.

The Olds-Bohm event, now in its fifth year, promises to have a continued success gaining a record 286 competitors this year.

The Jay Braida means a lot to me personally, because I knew its namesake well. Jay was a good friend, a good ballplayer and a fellow Cardinal fan.

This year’s event especially struck a nerve, held for Princeton native Danny Gelsomino, a father of two who was diagnosed with incurable Stage 4 Adenocarcinoma (lung cancer) with bone and brain metastasis on Feb. 6, 2012. Danny was in the first senior class I covered at PHS back in 1987 and I got to know him and his family very well.

I know Danny’s family was overwhelmed by the generosity shown by everyone who contributed to the event. His mother, Jeanie, said it was great to show his friends in the Chicago area as well as his sister’s friends in Peoria, who attended the golf outing, how great of a community their hometown is.

Danny told me it meant the world to him.

“The committee worked countless hours to make the day a success,” he said. “I was overwhelmed by the support from classmates, colleagues, friends and family. It really represented why Princeton is such a great place to live. My only regret was not getting to speak personally to everyone that attended. I look forward to attending and supporting such a great cause next summer.”

This year’s event fell on the birthday of the late Lynn Russelburg, who was the 2011 recipient of the Jay Braida. Her children came back to participate Saturday.

My parents told me years ago to find a good place to call home when I moved to Bureau County. I’ve most definitely found it.

Jerry’s kids: While on feel-good subjects in Bureau County, I want to make a mention to Jerry Fairbanks of the Walnut Park District. He’s run the Western Bureau Valley summer leagues for years and is all about the kids. Be sure to go to the concession stand this week during the WBVL Little League Tournament and tell him thanks.

On the move: Princeton native Chris Waca was hired as a math teacher at Plano High School Monday and will pick up some coaching duties. He resigned after four years as head football coach at Kewanee and had taken a position as an assistant football coach for crosstown rival Wethersfield.

Kevin Hieronymus is the sports editor for the BCR. contact him at khieronymus@bcrnews.com