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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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:
- Nathan Goodman obituary (Chicago Sun-Times)
- Village Board, American Legion honor Nathan Goodman (January 2020 article)