From Lviv to Lansing — Captain DJ White returns home

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Legion Riders, Lansing Police and Fire provide first ‘hero’s welcome’ since COVID

LANSING, Ill. (May 12, 2021) – Captain DJ White was at a loss for words. After serving 10 months in Lviv, Ukraine, with the 33rd infantry of the Illinois National Guard, he was expecting to meet his family at the airport and head straight home. Instead, the family van — driven by parents Jeff and Laura White — turned into the parking lot at Sunrise Health Foods (17650 Torrence). A small crowd of fellow veterans, police officers, fire fighters, Cub Scouts, and random members of the Lansing community had gathered to welcome Captain White home from his deployment.

White began his military career in 2010 and was commissioned in the National Guard in 2013. His most recent deployment involved establishing a training center in Lviv, Ukraine. When the Illinois Guard turned things over to the Washington National Guard, White was scheduled to return home along with the rest of his unit in late April. But when he tested positive for COVID, he was forced to quarantine in Fort Bliss, Texas, for two weeks. White never developed COVID symptoms, but the positive test forced him to miss out on the ceremony in Washington, DC, that welcomed his fellow Guardsmen home.

Once White’s new homecoming date was confirmed, his father Jeff reached out to American Legion member Mike Sanow and former Village Trustee Maureen Grady-Perovich, both of whom have experience arranging welcomes for Lansing veterans. Grady-Perovich reached out to her contacts at the Legion and the Village, and also made an announcement at the Chamber Luncheon on the afternoon of White’s return. As a result, approximately 30 people were in the parking lot to greet White, shake hands, take photos, and thank him for his service. Around 6:30pm, the Legion Riders escorted the White family to American Legion Post 697 in Lansing (18255 Grant Street), led by four police cars and three fire trucks with lights and sirens announcing the return of a Lansing veteran. The family enjoyed drinks and some fellowship before delivering Captain White home for a meal of Chicago pizza.

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Approximately 30 people gathered in the parking lot of Sunrise Health Foods to welcome home Captain DJ White (fifth from left). Cub Scout Pack 526 is sponsored by the American Legion, and they were able to participate in the welcome before their regular Wednesday evening meeting. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)
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Captain DJ White was happy to be reunited with his fiancée Lydia. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)
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Legion Riders from Post 697 escorted Captain DJ White to the American Legion at 18255 Grant Street in Lansing. The Riders typically escort veterans home from their Honor Flight Chicago experience, but COVID has cancelled Honor Flights for last year and this year. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)
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In the recently remodeled basement of the American Legion, the White family poses for a photo. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)

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1 COMMENT

  1. What a great article! Thank You to the Lansing Journal! with short notice they were still there to cover news that is important to the Readers of the Lansing Journal. MOST of ALL “Thank You to Captain DJ White for his service to this great country! Welcome Home!!

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