April 21, 2017 Fair, 40°F

Arteberry: Putting the gruesome heat in perspective

Created: Friday, August 5, 2011 9:42 a.m. CDT

Talk about the weather has saturated Facebook, emails and telephone conversations in my social network.

Mostly folks have been complaining and expressing frustration. Profanity about the gruesome heat has been more intense and even more creative than words selected for the perennial targets, such as the government and the Cubs.
Then, on the same day, comes the kind of sunshine we had been missing. 
Lois Stillions had been a classmate of mine since our first days together at Evan Shelby through our high school graduation 55 years ago. Then she found Love (her husband's surname) and moved to Mattoon, where they have raised a fine family.

Lois spreads the good news for the chamber of commerce there and to her Facebook friends. Without scolding, but completely on target, she asked us to consider an alternative to the hot weather here – military service in the Middle East.

Seriously hot weather, hostile and savage enemies? The physical and emotional discomforts abound there. Thanks, Lois. Needed that.
Then, a call from Susan Schwertfeger, who is retired from North High School and is a fellow St. Charles Youth commissioner, begins with the question, "What do you know about the DAR?"
Having just been re-sensitized to the old high school days, I responded, "Are you taking back my Good Citizen Award?" My thinking was that the award was for values and good behavior during high school and not forever. We quickly dissected her intentions and I heard her true mission, which was to tell me about her service group's project to assist military people in the Middle East with cooling neck scarves. Bingo!
So, here's her story.

Susan is the regent – or leader – of the local Elias Kent Kane chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, which is a nonprofit, nonpolitical, volunteer women's service organization dedicated to preserving American history and securing America's future through better education. (Learn more at
Susan begins by citing the work of Sarah Giachino, who – along with co-founders Kathy Busch, Ken Carr and Chuck Timm – started Fox Valley Troop Support. Since 2006, they have been sending letters and care packages to deployed military persons in Iraq and Afghanistan. They are the link to sending the cooling scarves abroad.
Now the DAR ladies are hard at work on their handmade neck coolers. Visualize natural muslin fabric with a sewn-in tube into which crystals that absorb moisture are placed in measured amounts. The user then soaks the scarf in water to saturate the crystals or gel inserts and takes the cooling benefit of the evaporating water. (Visit for more information.)
Regent Schwertfeger reports that fellow members Cincy Loce, Vevia Martin, and Heather Simpson have taken leadership as their Elias Kent Kane chapter has already sent 140 neck coolers and are gearing up for more. Jane Cates can be reached at 630 513-1620 for DAR membership information (applicants need to be a direct descendant of a Revolutionary War participant) or the Gator neck cooler project.

Heather Simpson concludes, "We are honored to be able to provide a little relief to our active members of the armed forces. We look forward to assisting Fox Valley Troop Support in future projects."
On another front, my Army veteran spouse, once stationed in Alaska, wishes to thank the guys at Action Auto on East Main Street in St. Charles. They effectively prepared his aging zebra truck for the passing of the emissions test! Spouse, readying himself for his own emissions test (you know what I mean), will have no such help!
Note to Lois – aren't you proud of the hometown patriots? By the way, perhaps you can persuade Jerry Anderson to attend the reunion?

• Joan Arteberry is a longtime resident of St. Charles. Her columns are featured in the Kane County Chronicle’s Neighbors section every other Friday. Write to her at




« Back to home page