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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