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Lansing helps family honor memory of Master Sergeant Nathan Goodman

by Melanie Jongsma

LANSING, Ill. (May 10, 2020) – The family of Nathan Goodman finally got some measure of closure today. While celebrating Mothers Day at the Lansing home of Goodman’s mother, Donna Vis, they were overwhelmed by a parade of more than 100 vehicles that passed in front of their driveway. The parade was led by the Lansing Veterans Memorial Ceremonial Honor Guard and escorted by Lansing police and fire vehicles. Participants included Mayor Patty Eidam, several Village Trustees, and dozens of friends who learned about the event on social media.

Master Sergeant Nathan Goodman was a special forces Green Beret killed in a parachute training accident in January. Today would have been his 37th birthday.

Master Sergeant Nathan Goodman (left) is survived by his wife Kelly and their son and daughter, Lillyana and Ethan. (Photo provided)

Goodman’s family attended his funeral service at Fort Bragg in February, and they were planning a memorial service in Lansing, the town where Goodman graduated from TF South High School in 2002. Those plans, and Goodman’s military honors burial in Arlington Cemetery, were delayed indefinitely by the coronavirus pandemic.

Goodman’s body was given a hero’s tribute by the Honor Guard as it was returned to Fort Bragg from Arizona following the fatal accident. (Photo provided)

Family and friends, recognizing the difficulty that Goodman’s wife and mother would both be enduring today, reached out to Village of Lansing officials to organize a vehicle parade as a quarantine-appropriate way to honor Goodman’s memory and acknowledge the sacrifice that military family members also make. The Village had been hoping to hold some kind of local memorial for Goodman anyway, so they were happy to help coordinate the parade idea.

No one anticipated 100-plus participants. As the TF South parking lot—the parade staging area—gradually filled between 1:30 and 2:00pm this afternoon, police and participants worked together to stay organized.

The TF South parking lot became a staging area for the 100-plus vehicles who formed a parade in honor of Master Sergeant Nathan Goodman on Mothers Day afternoon. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)
Participating vehicles showed their support in a variety of ways. Some extended Mothers Day greetings. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)
Some honored Goodman’s connection to TF South High School. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)
Others chose red, white, and blue to honor Goodman’s military service. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)

At 2:00pm the procession left the parking lot, headed east on 186th, south on Wentworth, and then west on 188th, which allowed the line of cars to extend along the full three blocks approaching the Vis home.

Members of the Lansing Veterans Memorial Ceremonial Honor Guard positioned themselves at the corner of Sherman and 188th, so that they could meet the procession before approaching Donna Vis’s home. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)
Followed by police squads with lights flashing, the Lansing Veterans Memorial Ceremonial Honor Guard presented and posted colors to lead off the parade. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)
Nathan Goodman’s mother, Donna Vis (left), was emotionally overcome by the show of support. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)
“Oh, thank you, thank you,” said Donna Vis as Mayor Patty Eidam’s vehicle approached. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)
“Look at all the cars!” said Vis, glancing down 188th Street. The parade stretched all the way to Wentworth. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)
Parade participants gave flags, signs, and flowers as tokens of honor and sympathy. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)

The parade took half an hour—Donna Vis, overwhelmed to see so many friends and supporters, personally greeted each car as it passed, while Goodman’s widow Kelly observed the procession thoughtfully and quietly from the driveway.

The Lansing Veterans Memorial Ceremonial Honor Guard posted colors throughout the parade, while Donna Vis greeted each vehicle. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)
Kelly Goodman (right) receives a hug from a friend. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)

The day was especially meaningful because May 10—Mothers Day this year—was Nathan Goodman’s birthday. Donna Vis had planned a family balloon release in honor of her son’s first birthday in heaven, and Mayor Eidam and the Honor Guard stayed after the parade to witness that ceremony:

After the parade, Mayor Eidam (left) personally greeted Donna Vis and her husband Larry (yellow shirt) to express condolences. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)


Melanie Jongsma
Melanie Jongsma
Melanie Jongsma grew up in Lansing, Illinois, and believes The Lansing Journal has an important role to play in building community through trustworthy information.


  1. What an amazing tribute to an awesome young man. He was the kind of kid that everyone gravitated to. Nate always had a smile on his face and a joke ready to go. I will forever remember him riding in the back of my van on thr way to BMX racing singing”Man, I feel like a woman”! LOL Shania Twain became our road music and all the boys would sing that song at the top of their lungs. Those BMX days, as a mom, are some of my favorite memories with my kids and their friends. Thank you Nate, for your service, your dedication and love for your country, your family and the military. And mostly for always making us laugh. You will never be forgotten and always be missed.?

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