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Illinois Community Hall Of Fame


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Alice McGinty, Urbana Illinois, Winning Author: She is a children’s author. She is training for a half-marathon for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society because one of her friends battles lymphoma. She serves as a regional coordinator for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, giving authors encouragement. She also hosts writing events at her house and cabin. By Margot Balinski

Grant Donath, Bloomington, Illinois. Winning Athlete: Once in a generation the best athlete on the team doesn’t show up in the box score. Grant, a standout soccer and basketball player at NCHS enjoys a lot more than excelling in the sports he loves. Football and baseball also call his name but for different reasons. He loves being around his friends. He finds time to kick/punt at all the football games even though he practices with the soccer team. In the spring when baseball would interfere with travel basketball, he’s the team manager. The best athlete is warming up pitchers in the bull pen and picking up water bottles after the game. Once in a generation your best athlete wants to do it all. Grant achieves all his goals with sportsmanship and the desire to be a winner in all he does. By Michael R. Tuttle

Julian Sanchez, Elgin, Illinois, Winning Coach: He attended God’s Gym in Elgin as a teenager and has credited that experience with keeping him from gangs and drugs. He is now back from college and coaches soccer at the gym., as well as directing the entire program which serves hundreds of kids. His teams out number the park district teams and are considered the cream of the local crop. He’s known as a very positive influence in our community. By Jamie Greco

Miliani DeAira, Chicago, Illinois. Winning Animal-Rights Leader: Miliani is not only Chicago’s ultimate dog lover, she’s also a dog expert and owner of ChiDogGo—a dog walking and nanny service.  With over 94,130 animals subject to abuse and mistreatment annually, and more than 24,000 of those animals being dogs, Miliani said enough is enough. She can’t change the world but she can make a difference in her city, Chicago, her pet haven domain, as shown by her notable efforts against animal cruelty and her fostering of loving care, particularly for canines, through ChiDogGo.  To boot, this stunning 5’9 model-esque Trinidad woman is not only a dog expert—she has become quite the Chicago favorite, sharing the spotlight with her two lovable canines, Aspen and Jagger, who can be often be seen walking with Miliani along the lake front and through the streets of Gold Coast and downtown Chicago. By Lesley Hunter

Sarah Morgan, Chicago, Illinois, Winning Daughter: Sarah Morgan, my daughter, was seriously addicted to heroin by age 16. She came close to death several times. In and out of rehab…I forgot how many times. However, she got clean and has remained clean for the last 2 1/2 years. She has secured a full-time job basically running a company for an entrepeneur. She is now active in slam poetry and has read publicly at many different places. She has held workshops at high schools telling kids about her poetry, what inspires her, and how she just loves to write. She found a publishing company that wants to publish her work. She is a big fan of Charles Bukowski. She dug her way out of hell, and I couldn’t be more proud. She is MY hero. By Tracy Cain