333rd Military Police Unit Thanks the Community



Contact: Cal Wescott

ritefurn@aol.com or phone 235-4911




The members of the fundraising committee of the 333rd Military Police Family Readiness Group have been impressed by the generous and thoughtful response of Freeport and the surrounding communities in support of a parade/escort for the unit in early to mid-May and a July 10th “Welcome Home” party. Numerous volunteers have devoted their time, private donations have flowed in steadily, and local businesses have agreed to host fundraising events. Northwest Illinois can be justifiably proud of they way they are using their time and donations to honor these brave soldiers.


Still, our fundraising efforts are not yet finished. The welcome home celebration funding is continuing because we have found that there are many other expenses, needs and additional opportunities to assist the soldiers. As the date of their return grows near, any and all donations or volunteer assistance are welcome.


There are several ways you can help:

  • Purchasing commemorative 333rd Military Police Unit retail sale items (including T-shirts, posters, pins, postcards, flags and coffee mugs) which are available at Rite-Way Furniture. They will also be offered at all our fundraising events and other local businesses to be announced.
  • Attend a fundraiser at Diamond Dave’s on April 6th. A percentage of proceeds will go toward the welcome home fund, and from 5-8:30pm, the Family Readiness Group will be working for tips.
  • Attend a fundraiser with a DJ and prizes at The Rafters from 5-8pm on April 15th, which is sponsored by WEKZ. Tips will go to the Welcome Home Fund.
  • Support the Adopt-A-Soldier program. Each $25 donation provides a $50 savings bond as a welcome home gift for a 333rd Military Police Unit soldier. Donations can be sent to:

Nickee Bender

542 N. Hunt

Freeport, IL 61032

  • Donate to the Welcome Home Fund. Donations are tax-deductible, and can be made at:

State Bank of Freeport

1718 Dirck Dr.

Freeport, IL 61032

c/o 333rd MP Unit Welcome Home Fund


Again, your generosity so far has made us proud, and we thank you for your support. For further information or to volunteer your time, please contact parade/escort chair Duane Wenzel at 235-1748 or dwenzel@cfaith.com; homecoming party chair Nickee Bender at 232-7971 or nbender1@juno.com; or contact me at 235-4911/232-5415 (evenings) or ritefurn@aol.com.



Cal Wescott

Fundraising Committee Chair


Extraordinary children?

One of the books that everyone who chooses to home school (or even contemplates doing it) should read is Home Educating with Confidence: How Ordinary Parents Can Produce Extraordinary Children by Rick and Marilyn Boyer. If any couple would be experts on the subject, it would have to be the Boyers, who have 12 children, all home schooled.

In the chapter on curriculum, they include this thought provoking gem. Pay special attention to the last sentence:

The same principles that make one successful in any arena, work in learning: diligence, motivation, planning, resourcefulness and good judgement. I’m not saying that there is no value whatever in any of the concepts represented by professional terminology. I’m just saying that people were learning, happily and productively, before education became the realm of the professional. Has it ever occurred to you that Abraham Lincoln made it from the log cabin to the White House without ever knowing that he had a left and right brain?

Imagine all the things we think are essential that the greatest minds in history didn’t know! At the risk of echoing the Boyers, I’m not saying your kids dont need to learn about the beautiful design of the natural world, I’m just saying that character counts for more than anything, and the most important learning is the kind that helps your kids become good people and helps them to make the world a better place when they grow up. The kids you teach today can have great character and know things Washington, Lincoln, Newton and Curie never dreamed of.

An Olympian discusses home based life

A post from the Home Based Life blog.

Scott’s friend Chantal Cermak was the U.S. women’s speed skating champion in 1993 and competed at the 1994 Olympic Games in Lillehammer, Norway. A few years ago Chantal began showing symptoms consistent with lethal neurological diseases, and credits a home based life with greatly easing the situation for her and her husband David. I interviewed her about it:

You had a very successful run as a speed skater, including national championships and a berth on the Olympic team. What was that time in your life like?

Winning the nationals and realizing I was the best female speed skater in the U.S. was really amazing because I had no idea how well I was skating that year. I was 6th the year before and my coach never let on how well my training was going. It was still surreal to me that I could actually be going to the Olympics the next year. Suddenly CBS Sports was spending a weekend following me around and I now had a sports agent. Life was happening fast. I really didn’t know how to separate the accomplishments, in the sense that it caused me pressure to succeed for others’ expectations. Had I grown up and succeeded slowly like most, I probably would have had a good grasp of this and not let it distract me.

Another thing that made it hard to actually enjoy the experience was that I started to get the fatigue and weakness that I now know to be Metabolic Myopathy. I don’t produce the enzymes required to fuel my muscle cells. I also injured my left knee during training that July before the Olympics which made it even more difficult to make an Olympic team. I did eventually get two knee surgeries after the games. All of this was added pressure in the midst of a dream come true. I was happy, scared and excited. I guess you could say the greatest thing about making an Olympic team is knowing God hears our prayers but it may take years to answer and a different road, as I was originally a figure skater. Also, my best memories involve the road to the Olympics. Think about it, the Olympics are 16 days compared to a lifetime of training and competing.

How would you describe yourself now, in terms of home, career, etc.?

I am a stay-at-home mom. I am starting a speed skating club in Bemidji, Minnesota and coach speed skating throughout the North in different camps and clinics. I would eventually like to be a Regional Coach for the U.S. team. This will take time and my kids need to be a bit older. I like being a stay-at-home mom, but I’m very goal oriented and skating is my passion, so I really don’t think I can be a stay-at-home mom only and have peace. I have to give back to the youth what is in my heart, as well as share my knowledge of the Olympic experience and of skating.

Recently you were in a difficult situation where you believed you might have a fatal neurological disease. What tipped you off that something was wrong, and how did you and your husband handle this?

Multiple sclerosis was suspected as well as ALS (aka Lou Gehrig’s disease) and Myasthenia Gravis. It was a matter of elimination. I became so weak that I had to lean over the counter just to do dishes. My husband became very stressed out and had a hard time focusing well on anything. He was worried because all my symptoms pointed to ALS. My symptoms began in 1993 in training. I had a weak grip and my legs shook after training bouts. I would also have higher than normal lactate levels compared to what the other athletes had for the same workout. Later, after my third child, I was losing my grip weeding the garden and baby bottles were hard to unscrew . I love to mow the lawn and actually used to jog but now I felt like I was walking through mud.

What was life like for you at this point? How did it affect your family?

Before my diagnosis, I literally thought I was dying. I was so weak that it was difficult for me to support my torso and head; My neck and back muscles were too weak. I lost 20 pounds of muscle from November to February. My sister in law took my kids for me for three days so I could rest. Dave was trying to be housekeeper,  be “Mr. Mom” and provide a living for us too. It was a very difficult time that required a lot of prayer and soul searching as to what is important in life.

How long did you go on believing you had MS or ALS? What were your doctors doing to treat your condition?

This went on for three years. I was finally diagnosed in June of 2005. The doctors were doing nothing for me except monitoring my downhill spiral.

It turned out you didn’t have MS or ALS. What was your real condition, and when and how did you find out?

My condition is Metabolic Myopathy. It is a form of Muscular Dystrophy and rare. [Tour de France winner] Greg Lemond has a form of it. I was diagnosed by the Muscular Dystrophy Research hospital in Minneapolis. My doctor in Minneapolis told me to take L-carnitine, Creatine and COQ10. This gives me fuel for my cells. I drink a drink called E3 and I feel like it saved my life! It is genetic, so I need to have my children drink E3 too.

How are you today?

Today I feel like a whole new person. I feel like I can pursue dreams again, raise my family and clean my house! I am running and inline skating again, although I still can’t push too hard as I have my limits now.

Can you describe the benefits of having David work at home? How much did it contribute to your well-being?

If Dave hadn’t been home I don’t know what would have happened. I don’t think I was strong enough to handle everything by myself. With him home I could nap, call on him to help with the kids and cooking and have a ready shoulder to cry on instead of being all alone. My kids love to have Dad home to play with and to get to see Dad work every day. This will be good for their future and is a good education going on right before them. They actually know what Dad does because they run through his office daily when he is on an important call!

Do you have any advice for couples who might go through a similar crisis?

Don’t give up if the Doctor can’t diagnose you. Support one another because you’re both going through the same difficult time but experiencing different emotions. Be aware that working from home is a blessing at a time like this and give yourself the grace to focus on your business. After all, you are home and that is what counts. You can always reschedule calls if needed. Give your loved one a hug and be glad you can because you’re working from home!

National Magazine Becomes a Pretzel City Production


May 22, 2006
Contact: Christopher Clukey
accurate@aeroinc.net or phone (815) 232-2120


With the hiring of a new managing editor, Grain & Feed Marketing is now managed, edited and designed by a coalition of three Freeport entrepreneurs. Floyd K. Roberts of Marketing Communications serves as Owner and Publisher, Ben Luedtke of Luedtke Creative Group is the Designer and Christopher Clukey of Accurate Impressions joins the team as the new Managing Editor.

The management team of Grain & Feed Marketing making plans for the Summer issue. Pictured are (left to right) Christopher Clukey, Floyd K. Roberts and Ben Luedtke.
The management team of Grain & Feed Marketing making plans for the Summer issue. Pictured
are (left to right) Christopher Clukey, Floyd K. Roberts and Ben Luedtke.

Grain & Feed Marketing is a national industry magazine serving over 12,000 managers at 11,882 business locations across the United States. The 30 year old magazine is published quarterly, and is one of a number of successful trade magazines Roberts has published. Roberts has done business in Freeport since 1979.

Luedtke came aboard in 2005 and reworked the look of the publication. “Much effort has gone into creating an informative and attractive, easy to read format that is reader-friendly,” Roberts said. “The readers are busy and need to be able to quickly determine what is of most interest or most helpful to them”

Clukey’s work has appeared in the Freeport Journal-Standard and his commentaries and news articles regularly appear in the Freeport Ink. He also owns a commercial writing business, Accurate Impressions, which provides copywriting services for businesses and nonprofit organizations. A native of Maine, Clukey has been a Freeport resident for 10 years and is a graduate of Highland Community College.

“I’m enthusiastic about Freeport and the chance to manage a fine publication,” Clukey said. “I have great material to work with because a core group of industry experts contribute to the magazine regularly. Our role is stated right on the cover: ‘Helping Managers Manage.’”

Clukey’s tenure begins with the Summer 2006 issue, which will be published in June.


Home Based Life Launch Announcement




September 1st, 2005

Contacts: Scott Mathieu at athome@maximumsucces.com

Christopher Clukey at accurate@aeroinc.net


Successful Businessman and Consultant Launches Home Based Life Journal

Today home-based business expert Scott Mathieu announced the launch of the Home Based Life blog at homebasedlife.squarespace.com.

The online journal will mainly discuss and report on home business and home working, but will occasionally include informative commentary on finance, personal growth, futurism, alternative energy and more. Content already available on the site includes:

·Discussion of Hurricane Katrina’s energy and home business impact

·An interview with Olympian Chantal Cermak about how home based work eased her suffering when she was thought to have a lethal neurological disease

·Reviews of home business and home working sites

·Information on combining work-at-home convenience with the advantages of working for a corporation.

Scott Mathieu is President of US Environmental Solutions Inc., a $1.5 million environmental products and marketing firm located in the Tampa, Florida area. Scott is also a mentor and life coach to entrepreneurs and the author of an upcoming book on home business. Scott and his wife Mandy are raising six unique and wonderful children together as well as home schooling them. 

Scott will be assisted at Home Based Life by a team of contributing editors who will bring their own unique perspectives to our readership. The first to come aboard is Christopher Clukey, a freelance commercial writer and commentator. Christopher is also a home entrepreneur and home schooler. The members of the Home Based Life team will be able to provide fresh content that is useful and stimulating to readers from every walk of life.

Questions? Please email Scott at athome@maximumsuccess.com or Christopher at accurate@aeroinc.net.


A Christmas Gift for Freeport


Christopher Clukey

As we broke through the overcast, I saw the water. It was gray-green, with a foamy chop, and it looked every bit as frigid as you’d expect the Gulf of Maine to be in December.

And the first thought that came to me was, “Home.”

I pointed out the sights to my son: A tanker headed in to Portland, some lighthouses, some boats that seemed too miniscule to be challenging the vast ocean. He was seeing the ocean for the first time, while I was realizing how achingly I had missed it.

You’re probably wondering why I’m telling you about last year’s Christmas vacation in a space normally devoted to current events commentary. Don’t worry; I have a point in here somewhere, and a secret or two to share with you.

The first secret? Whoever said “You can’t go home again” was wrong. I was gone for five years, and when I came home, one of our number was gone (my maternal grandmother died less than 24 hours after I arrived) and another was soon to pass on. Yet in many ways it was just as if I’d never left. We still joked about the same things, my uncle was still horrified that I’m a Packer fan, and so on. Even the streets of Portland had a familiarity that no other town has, the way my wife’s hand on my shoulder logically shouldn’t feel any different than my Mom’s or my cousin’s, but it does anyway. It turns out that you can take the boy out of Down East, but you can’t take the Down East out of the boy.

But here’s the second secret I found: You can take the boy out of Freeport, but you can’t take Freeport out of the boy. No matter how much I love where I came from, I have no thought of leaving where I am.

It’s hard for Freeporters to stay positive. We all validate each other’s negativity to a certain extent. When you read the editorial page and see some angry letter about how bad Freeport is (or how stupid some official is, etc.) you are either depressed because you agree or depressed because you realize that the angry letter speaks for a whole bunch of angry people who think we’re going nowhere fast, folks who in some cases couldn’t be dragged anywhere. And how often is the local economic news good?

Let me tell you what I see. I see a community that is going through some painful changes, but we are going through. A community that has a thousand things going for it and thousands of people willing to work to change what isn’t going for it. A place with enormous potential, and much potential already realized. A place where people care about each other, and care about what’s right. A place where you can stand where Lincoln stood, and still look out into the 21st Century and all the adventurous history to come.

Remember that line in “The Cider House Rules,” where Michael Caine addresses a room full of orphans? “Goodnight, you princes of Maine, you kings of New England.” I’m a Mainer born and bred. Yet here I am, busy raising princes and princesses of the Pecatonica, kings and queens of Tutty Baker’s city of humble greatness. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. Here I’ve found love and friendship every bit as warm and strong as the love and friendship on the shores of Casco Bay.

This is my Christmas gift to you, Freeport, this column, this perspective, this love letter. You deserve to be loved, Pretzel City, and you deserve to be optimistic about your future. In this season where new light dawns on those in the valley of the shadow of death, don’t miss a chance to look at yourself in a new light.

We returned to Freeport, and finally, I made it to the top of the stairway with the last load of luggage, wondering who had broken in and added steps to it while we were gone. I stopped to gaze out a rear window. Far off, the Pecatonica was blindingly bright as the sun hit it at just the right angle. But closer, through trees stripped bare by winter, I could trace the river’s course with my eyes as its waters tumbled toward a far-away sea.

And the first thought that came to me was, “Home.”

Bin Laden’s Weak and Winded Horse


Christopher Clukey

This week, Osama bin Laden again found his way out of his cave to a microphone, in order to make new pronouncements for his twisted god.

You’d expect that a guy cutting himself down to about one message per year would make sure he packed a lot of good stuff into it. Alas, for the most part it was the usual delusional rhetoric. And when I say delusional rhetoric, I’m not talking about the “kill the infidel” boilerplate, I’m talking about things like his assertion that the American media is painting a rosy picture of the war in Iraq, that our troops are all on suicide watch (and that they are raping and kidnapping Iraqi women), and that public opinion polls prove that the Americans want an immediate pullout.

This brings us to two conclusions. First, for a supposed diversion from the War on Terror, Iraq sure occupies a lot of space in Osama’s thoughts. Second, we know he isn’t getting CNN on his satellite dish.

But he did include a real gem: He offered us a truce.

Strangely, he did this after beginning his rant with boasts about his superior tactical position. “Only metal breaks metal, and our situation, thank God, is only getting better and better, while your situation is the opposite of that.” Really, Osama assures us, he is just looking for a partner for peace. “We don’t mind offering you a long-term truce on fair conditions that we adhere to. We are a nation that God has forbidden to lie and cheat. So both sides can enjoy security and stability under this truce so we can build Iraq and Afghanistan, which have been destroyed in this war.”

Forgive us, Caliph bin Laden, if we don’t run to the negotiation table, especially when you say, near the close of your rant, “Failing to carry out jihad, which is called for in our religion, is a sin.”

A number of analysts have noted that Islamic warriors have a tradition of warning the enemy and offering a truce before they bring the hammer down. They conclude the offer is just a piece of rhetoric and not a sign Al Qaeda is on the ropes. That’s an opinion based in fact and good insight, but fortunately it is wrong.

Prior to the 9/11 attacks, Osama was focused on killing infidels to drive us out of the Middle East. In 2002 he wrote a letter to the American people in which he offered a simple way to end terrorism: Everybody converts to Islam (his version, not that “religion of peace” stuff) and we’ll all be happy together. Now he’s gone from pounding his shoe and yelling “We will bury you” to singing “Why Can’t We Be Friends?” Why?

Quite simply, Osama is losing the battle for hearts and minds. For example, a poll of 2,069 Afghani adults conducted late last year showed that 90% of them had an unfavorable view of Osama, with 75% choosing “very unfavorable.” American troops have a favorability rating of 83%, and 82% of Afghanis think overthrowing the Taliban was a good thing for Afghanis. Osama can talk about fictional U.S. polls all he wants, but among people who have lived under his idea of government he has a soaring 5% approval rating.

Things aren’t going any better in Iraq. Al Qaeda murderers have spilled blood, but they have not stopped the Iraqi Army from training, the Iraqi police from recruiting or Iraqi elections from occurring. Their few attempts to openly hold ground near the Syrian border have ended with them being reduced to sandwich bag-sized pieces by our Air Force. Meanwhile, the land area they’ve been able to render dangerous for the citizens of Iraq gets smaller every day, and the land watched over by Iraq’s army keeps growing larger.

Finally, he can’t even kill very well. In over four years, the number of Americans Al Qaeda has killed is still about a third the number Britain lost on the first day of the Battle of the Somme in 1916. The number of soldiers they have killed in Iraq is still less than the number who died in one day at Antietam during the Civil War.

Don’t get me wrong. Al Qaeda is still the greatest threat we’ve ever faced. We could lose a city tomorrow if they get a nuclear weapon. But barring such a holocaust, Osama’s pretension that he is in the driver’s seat is only bluster. He once famously said that Al Qaeda would win because when people see a strong horse and a weak horse, they will naturally back the strong horse. The truce offer is strong evidence that Osama’s horse is weak and winded, and it is only a matter of time until it’s a dead horse.