Around The County

By Vicky Albers
Breese Journal Editor Emeritus
Vicky 7640Vicky Albers in the 1990s. This photograph ran in the Breese Journal when Albers was first named editor.   
Everyone has a story to tell. I certainly didn’t know that 30 years ago. But I’ve learned a lot. And I can tell you that I could walk into any home in Breese or Albers or Aviston or any town in this county and spend a half hour or so with the homeowner, and find that there is a wonderful — sometimes unbelievable — story to tell. 

    That’s the beauty of spending the last 29-plus years telling people’s stories.  I am so very lucky to have had that opportunity. To be welcomed into so many people’s lives and to have shared their special moments with our readers. Now, as I leave my longtime career as editor of the Breese Journal, all I can say is thank you so very much for letting me tell your stories!
    Last week, I was honored to be elected as the next Clinton County Clerk and I will take over that position on Dec. 3. I am leaving a job that I have truly enjoyed for nearly three decades, yet I am ready to move on to a new adventure.
    I had no idea when I interviewed for this position in June 1989 that I would have stayed in it for so long. The story is quite interesting. I had just, I mean just, graduated from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville with a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications. As we often did in the 1980s, I spent the weekend boating and camping with friends at Carlyle Lake. Mind you, it was 1989 — pre cellphone days — so on a late Sunday morning when my parents’ blue Oldsmobile came rolling through the campgrounds, I was a bit surprised.

honorflightR. Joseph Richter and his Honor Flight guardian and youngest daughter, Carla Litteken of Breese.    When R. Joseph Richter of Breese stepped off his Honor Flight last month in Marion, Illinois, he didn't know there would be thousands of people thanking him for his service.
    It was much different than his homecoming after serving during the Korean War in the 1950s. 
    "I stepped off the plane and came home and just walked in the house," Richter recalled abut returning home after serving overseas over 60 years ago.
    However, Richter did get his long overdue recognition — during an Honor Flight last month.
    The Honor Flight — the Veterans Honor Flight of Southern Illinois — is dedicated to honoring veterans with a free trip to Washington, D.C. to visit their monuments and memorials. Those memorials were built to honor their service, and Honor Flight believes it is imperative they have the opportunity to see them. Priority is given to WWII veterans, Korean War veterans and Vietnam veterans, with any terminally-ill vet being handled first on the Honor Flight. 
    Richter's three daughters — Diane, Elaine and Carla — all surprised him with news about signing him up for the Honor Flight earlier this year. His youngest daughter, Carla Litteken of Breese, was the lucky one to accompany her dad on the flight.
    "I'm so fortunate that I was able to go with my dad as his guardian," Litteken said.
    At first, Richter was apprehensive about going on the Veterans Honor Flight, believing that only those who served on the battlefield should be on the flight, however, after months of his family coaxing him into going, he relented. 
    "I figured it was for other veterans who had fallen on the battlefields, but it takes all kinds to make a veteran," he said.
    On Tuesday morning, Oct. 16, Richter and Litteken arrived at 4 a.m. at the Veterans Memorial Airport in Marion and were surprised by a crowd gathered to see them off. They boarded the chartered aircraft and flew to Washington, D.C. for the day with 70 other veterans on board.

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