The third year for our Socks for Stephenson County drive blew away last year’s previous record total of 1,544 pairs of new socks, as the 2017 campaign yielded 1,867 pairs of comfy warm socks to benefit needy families in the area.
The program was once again coordinated by our Conservation & Agricultural Partners Foundation Education Coordinator Brittani DeVries, and this year’s initiative had great support from the Freeport Health Network and several area schools who facilitated collections at their locations.
I had the privilege of delivering most of the socks to the Salvation Army on Tuesday, where they will be included in Christmas packages for needy families in Stephenson County. We thank everyone for your generous donations to this worthwhile project, as you cannot imagine the appreciation shown by Captain Jim Brickson and the staff at the Salvation Army upon receiving this donation.
I was sad to learn on Tuesday that my dear friend and racquetball partner Pastor Mark Luepke has accepted a new call at Zion Lutheran Church in Clinton , Iowa ,effective at the end of January.
Andrea and I met Mark on our first visit to Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in December 2003, when he sought us out in the pew to greet and welcome us as visitors. I had just been hired as manager of the Farm Bureau here and we were still living in Chadwick, and we immediately felt at home at Prince of Peace and joined shortly afterward.
We’ve come to know Mark and Nancy and their family well in the subsequent 14 years, during which I spent six years on the congregation council, coordinated the church’s 50th anniversary celebration in 2010, and sang with Mark in a mixed quartet for awhile.
For the past four years, we’ve done battle on a weekly basis on the YMCA racquetball courts, where we’ve enjoyed spirited competition and great fellowship. While he’s held the upper hand most of the time, I’ve scratched out…